Cheeky Panda New Product Awards

Cheeky Panda picked up a Grocer New Product Award in the personal care category this week, with founders Julie Chen and Chris Forbes (in the panda hats) picking up the prize

Cheeky Panda is set to launch a new funding round to continue rapid growth and grab a larger share of the personal care market.

A new £750k crowdfunding campaign will go public on Monday (21 November), with the business expecting to significantly overfund.

It’s the fifth time Cheeky Panda has turned to the crowd, with about 5,000 backers investing almost £10m in the eco challenger brand.

The latest round will value the business at £85.5m and comes after the business puts its IPO plans on hold amid market volatility.

Money raised is earmarked for marketing to boost brand awareness, expanding retail distribution and growing DTC sales, as well as supporting the balance sheet.

CEO Julie Chen, who launched Cheeky Panda with partner Chris Forbes in 2016, said: “A lot of businesses like us benefited from a Covid-related growth spurt but failed to maintain those rates when omnichannel opened back up.

“Not only are we selling more than our Covid peak, but month on month we continue to attract new customers and exceptional growth.”

This week, Cheeky Panda took home a Grocer New Products Award in the personal care category for its bamboo cleansing facial wipes, with judges praising the brand for eliminating plastic use and ‘ticking every box’ for mindful consumers.

The business, which makes toilet paper, kitchen roll, tissues and beauty and baby wipes from bamboo, sees plenty of headroom for expansion in the category as consumer demand for sustainable products grows.

It is aiming to grow revenues to more than £50m in the next three years.

“The Cheeky Panda has had success with the likes of Waitrose and Boots but there is still a huge opportunity to grow with the other major retailers,” Chen said.

“Every grocer has a sustainability plan in place. In different categories other ethical brands have demonstrated they can successfully scale in grocery. It is just a matter of time before tissue categories follow a similar pattern.

“Cheeky Panda is looking forward to leading the charge and continue to challenge the traditional legacy thinking in the category.”

The business has sold in excess of 50 million products in more than 25 markets across Europe, the US, China and the Middle East.

Sales rose 60% in 2022 to £12m and CFO Tom Mitchell said the business had “a really great pipeline”, with new products being developed and manufacturing in the UK set to start in the first quarter of 2023.

“We have a major launch with our beauty wipes in Q1 next year,” he added. “We can see our turnover growing to £20m next year and £50m over the next three years.”