- South West Brands has raised £150K from SEED Innovations, adding to £250K raised in February
- Earlier this year SWB launched FEWE, a self-care brand drawing on the natural benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) to support consumers through their whole period cycle
- Raise suggests CBD and women’s health sectors are becoming increasingly intertwined, driving innovation everywhere from the beauty shelves to the bedroom
- “FEWE is the first brand globally to provide a whole menstrual cycle care product in a consumer category that has been historically underserved,” SWB’s Fran Pearce told Welltodo
LONDON, United Kingdom — The parent company of CBD-based menstrual care brand FEWE has secured a further £150K in funding this week, underlying the converging trends of the cannabidiol and women’s health markets in the UK.
South West Brands, a female-led London-based startup looking to establish itself as a multi-brand consumer goods group developed specifically for the CBD industry, raised an initial £250K in February from SEED Innovations, with a further £150K confirmed this week.
The firm, which CEO Rebekah Hall believes can become “The Hut Group of cannabis”, recently launched FEWE, a self-care brand offering a range of CBD-infused products that allow consumers to understand and manage their whole menstrual cycle from start to finish.
Ed McDermott, CEO of SEED Innovations, commented: “South West Brands has made considerable progress since our last investment with the successful launches of two consumer brands which, from what I have seen, have received a very positive reception from users to date.
“These first brand launches are testament to the hard work Rebekah Hall and her team have put in, and I am pleased SEED is able to support SWB in its growth and I look forward to further advances by the team in its quest to grow a credible, sustainable and scalable consumer CBD business.”
CBD X Women’s Health
The CBD revolution has been gathering pace in Europe ever since the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled CBD as a non-narcotic in November 2020.
That decision set the stage for rapid innovation in CBD products across the continent, predicted to reach 0.15% of the total health and wellness market by 2028.
The global CBD market, valued at $9.3BN in 2020, is forecast to reach $23.6bn in revenue in just five years, with Europe expected to surpass North America as the leading market for geographic demand.
At first CBD products were predominantly used as a natural remedy for anxiety. However, since 2019, when health tech company Daye raised €5m to fund its range of CBD-infused tampons for pain relief, the compound has been gaining traction with women’s health brands around the globe.
In the 12 months running up to August 2020, femtech brand Ohne enjoyed a 1,200% growth in sales of CBD add-ons to its women’s care subscription service.
Another women’s health brand Blume has embraced CBD as a hero ingredient, along with supplements and adaptogens, within their self-care kits to help customers better manage symptoms throughout their menstrual cycle.
“Supplements, adaptogens and hero ingredients like CBD are now an integral part of the cycle market,” wrote Rhiannon Jones, Co-Founder of femtech trend forecasting agency Ultra Violet Futures in a recent report titled The Future of Cycle Care 2022.
At the same time, women – and female baby boomers in particular – have been consistently driving the CBD market forward as the fastest growing demographic for years.
Beauty Shelves To The Bedroom
These converging trends suggest pioneering women’s health brands that draw on the broader benefits of CBD will only become more commonplace, giving rise to new players everywhere from the beauty shelves to the bedroom.
SWB’s Brand and Marketing Director Fran Pearce believes this union could become a watershed moment for CBD generally, leading to a gradual phasing out of “CBD brands” and a move toward companies that fill a particular consumer need.
“For example, Daye, the sanitary care brand, has a very focused offering of CBD impregnated tampons that fill a specific consumer need,” Pearce told Welltodo. “Likewise FEWE is the first brand globally to provide a whole menstrual cycle care product, in a consumer category that has been historically underserved.”
Pearce added she believes the industry will continue to shift towards developing products for whole markets and categories, such as skin care and self-care, rather than solely to treat symptoms, such as anxiety and stress, as has traditionally been the case.
“We are seeing very innovative products in the skincare market utilising CBD,” Pearce elaborated. “Big name brands such as Milk and Chantecaille have incorporated CBD into a product offering. Similarly, both our brands, FEWE and Love, MeMeMe use CBD alongside well-known skincare active ingredients to create high quality, but affordable skincare solutions.”
Conversely, Pearce said she expects ingestible product offerings, such as drinks and other edibles, might struggle to see huge growth and innovation over the coming years due to legislative restrictions around novel food licences.
“That being said, it is worth closely watching brands that were in the market prior to February 2020 – the Novel Food cut off date – and that have completed the Novel Food application process, such as Botanic Lab, as they are in prime position to dominate the ingestible market,” she added.
CBD X Women’s Health Brands To Watch
MOi + ME
New British brand MOi + ME recently launched a pure CBD product range, along with tools and tips, to support those dealing with acute menstrual pain, from endometriosis and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, as well as more widely recognised symptoms. Co-Founder Laura Walton has personally suffered with severe endometriosis that has resulted in over 15 surgeries.
SWB’s self-care brand pairs holistic ingredients with CBD for whole-cycle solutions to alleviate cramps, de-stress and improve sleep. This combination, Pearce said, “takes CBD out of its current hype ingredient status and makes it an everyday staple that demonstrates the versatility of the plant”.
This pioneering UK brand launched the world’s first CBD-infused tampon for pain relief, paving the way for the cannabidiol-women’s health vertical to take hold. Daye also makes a CBD-infused balm and “ProViotics” for vaginal health.
Foria is a sexual wellness brand breaking ground in the US. The company offers CBD topicals like your basic salves, bath salts and tinctures, as well as a whole line of intimacy products. The Intimacy Collection features suppositories, Arousal Oil, CBD tonics and even CBD intimacy vape pens.