A NZ woman who “fell in love” with an idea has just signed a mega deal that sees her products stocked in Coles one year after launching.
A New Zealand woman has just landed a major deal to stock her sustainable beauty products in Coles – just one year after launching.
Mum-of-two Sophie Cooper created Anihana in 2021, a natural soap company that sells shampoo and conditioner bars as well as bath bombs and shower products.
The 35-year-old says she “fell in love” with natural soaps when she collaborated with a local bath bomb manufacturing company in her former work as a florist.
The opportunity to buy the manufacturing business came up in 2016, and despite being eight months pregnant at the time, Sophie decided it was “too good” to turn down.
Fast forward six years, and Sophie and her family are no longer supplying other beauty brand’s with products, instead running their own beauty brand with a sustainable focus.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is Anihana being available at your local supermarket,” Sophie told news.com.au’s The Beauty Diary.
“Knowing how time-poor busy families can be, being able to make solid haircare bars accessible during your weekly shop is so important.
“It’s so easy now to just pop one into your trolley and give it a go if you have been curious about making the switch.”
But while Sophie, who lives with her husband Aden in Auckland, is at the helm of a sustainable brand whose products are house in fully compostable packaging, she’s the first to admit she knows how tough it can be to lower your waste.
“My passion for sustainability grew once I had kids. I soon realized that I wanted to teach them to make better choices, and a lot of that came from using soap bars as a kid,” she said.
“Don’t get me wrong though, we are not zero waste.
“Our bathroom is pretty close, and I’m proud that we are doing our part as a family, but it’s definitely hard when you you’re a busy mum. I knew the bathroom was one of the best places to start to make the change, so we started there.”
Coles currently stocks all seven Anihana hair care bars – which include three shampoo bars, three conditioner bars and one combined bar – all priced at $14 each.
The hair care bars are sustainably and ethically manufactured, soap free, and “affordable and accessible” for everyone without “compromising on personality or fragrance” Sophie says.
“Being sustainable and using great ingredients should be the standard these days, so we don’t see this as our point of difference,” she explained.
“But we are fun. We want everyone to smile and have fun using our products, and to enjoy the guilt-free ‘me time’ we all deserve.”
After Anihana products hit Coles shelves, many flooded social media to express happiness over the move into physical retail stores.
“I was happy I could finally get a shampoo bar during my normal shop,” one user raved.
“These are so great, my hair felt so clean after,” another added.
In total, the brand has launched into nine retailers in its first year including Chemist Warehouse and Priceline, and regularly receives glowing reviews online – but Sophie is modest about the brand’s success.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I still pinch myself sometimes when I see our beautiful products on shelf at some of the biggest retailers in New Zealand and Australia,” she explained.
“And it makes my day every time someone takes the time to send me a message telling me how much they love the products.
“I didn’t expect the business to grow so fast… It’s been a crazy year for sure.”
Anihana is now working towards its B Corp certification to be a “business for good” and is gearing up to add more of its products – soap, bath bombs and shower steamers – into Coles in July.
Currently, Anihana’s best selling product is its Raspberry Marshmallow Bath Bomb, which Sophie describes as her “favourite”.
Customers also love the Manuka Honey Shampoo and Conditioner for regular hair as well as the Grapefruit and Chamomile Shampoo bar for dry/coloured hair.
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