With a love for nature and the outdoors, Michelle Brittain set out to produce botanically-inspired skin products that are 100% natural and organic. Koa Organics products are specially formulated to naturally enhance your health and wellbeing, while nourishing your skin. Here Michelle talks about the passion behind her business and how she balances work and family life.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
A native leaf and a lovely walk through the forest! When I was walking in the Whakarewarewa Forest at New Year 2018 with my family, I came across some Kawakawa literally blocking my path and I decided to take it home to make a balm. When I tested the balm on my niece and her dermatitis cleared up in three days straight I knew I was onto something. I decided the balm needed a label and so I needed a company name. My middle name is Joy and the forest where I ride my bike brings me my greatest joy. So I looked up the Maori translation which was Koa and that seemed only fitting, and so Koa Organics was born. I try to eat organic food wherever possible so using organic ingredients was a natural move. I believe our bodies deserve the absolute best and I use nature as my divine guider when developing products. All of my products are botanically inspired in some way, because nature knows best.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I designed my logo and packaging labels and decided to take the first few products to my local playgroup in Lake Tarawera. The mums there were all very kind and bought my products, saying that they were great but I thought they were just being kind to me. So I decided to set the products to a true test and took them to the local Rotorua Farmers Market. To my surprise and delight they sold well and people kept coming back for more! The ball rolled from there and at times it has been rolling faster than I can keep up with. I now show my products at the big General Collective Lifestyle and Design markets in Auckland. I have over 15 loyal retailers around the country and an online store as well.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
After having my second baby late at 45, and all those lovely baby hormones suddenly departing, I started researching natural ways to manage the swinging hormonal symptoms I was having. I kept reading how women over 40 in particular are deficient in magnesium and it’s not present in our food like is used to be either. So the Magnesium Body Butter, which is my own formulation, was born. Realising that my magnesium products actually work effectively for hormone regulation, period pain, migraines, cramps, hot flushes and so much more – and that I can help women live their lives with less pain and more enjoyment – brings me so much joy. It spurs me on every day. I’m continually getting amazing reviews from women who benefit from my products every day, and often their partners too!