Screen With Envy, an Aylesbury-based online retailer of decorative garden and indoor screens, fences and gates, has revealed further international expansion plans following its refinancing with Santander UK.
Santander UK has provided Screen With Envy a £3.75m funding package, including a Growth Capital loan. The funding gives enables the business to refinance existing debt, frees up its cashflow and supports it with importing materials from overseas used in the production of its products.
Screen With Envy was founded in 2017 by Sophie Birkert, who began designing decorative garden screens when she identified a gap in the market for products that were stylish, decorative and durable. At the time she founded the company, she was pregnant with her third child and decided she would turn her hand to running her own business rather than return to her demanding job in the City of London. Five years on, Screen With Envy has a multi-million pound annual revenue, which has grown by more than 800 per cent over the past two years, and employs a staff of 73.
The business sells its products exclusively through its website and, in addition to growing its business in the UK, it is working to increase sales internationally, with a focus on the US and Europe. Having established a subsidiary in the Netherlands and a warehouse in Venlo in 2020, it is well placed to bolster sales on the Continent, particularly in Germany and France. Offering an extended range of complementary products and ramping up digital marketing and social media advertising to increase brand awareness are central to its growth plans.
Screen With Envy offers a range of some 200 products including garden screens, fences and gates, and indoor accessories and furniture such as radiator covers, tables and pet gates. Sophie Birkert designs all of Screen With Envy’s products and they are crafted with an advanced wood composite material, which has the look and feel of wood but is lighter and has enhanced durability, giving the products a life of up to 20 years. The company has been a pioneering adopter of the wood composite material, which is made from wood offcuts and recycled plastic, in decorative screening due to its lighter environmental impact and benefits to customers.
Sophie Birkert, Founder of Screen With Envy, said: “With Santander UK, we have found the support and growth aspiration we would look for from an equity partner but without the dilution – it’s the kind of partner all growing businesses need. We look forward to growing our business, with the support of Santander UK, into the UK’s biggest and most successful retailer of own-design screening, fencing and partitioning.”
David Muse, Growth Capital Director at Santander UK, said: “We are delighted to become Screen With Envy’s’ banking partner, supporting the next phase of its growth strategy. Our flexible funding package, combining Growth Capital and trade finance facilities, as well as our international support solutions, will help this fast-growing British company to expand worldwide through investment in stock, new hires, and overseas trade infrastructure.”