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Sports nutrition is an interesting space. Athletes push themselves and look to get nutrition into their bodies quickly but don’t always consider the content of the food they’re consuming.

Roam is the brainchild of Raeana Connell and Andrius Ramonas. They create wholefood nut butters to support athletes and active people.

“We both enjoy our exercise, and we’ve found that most supplements or energy foods are overrun with sugar. We’ve formulated our recipes around the guiding lights of real, natural, and clean food.” says Rae.

I asked Rae and Andrius how Roam got started.

“During high school, I went on exchange…

The dietary supplements and nutrition industry has exploded in the last decade. By some estimates, the market was valued at US$167.8 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach US$306.8 billion by 2026.

And one Kiwi company is well positioned to make the most of this growing market.

Two Islands is a premium New Zealand health and wellness brand, producing truly bioeffective nutrition products in the form of marine collagen, plant protein and dietary powders dietary supplements.

Says founder and CEO Julia Matthews, “We’re committed to optimise health and beauty, we’re committed to giving people the confidence of truly effective…

New Zealand has been well known for a long time for the quality of our food products, but there’s a number of New Zealand food startups now moving us into what will be the future of New Zealand’s food production.

Amino Mantra is New Zealand’s first sustainable, ‘top 11 allergens’ friendly food startup.

“Our goal is to make eating plant based easy through providing healthy wholefood options for educated consumers,” says co-founder Pritesh Kajaria.

“We differ from our competitors by having a fully sustainable model focused on allergen-friendly products — free from gluten, dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, pea protein…

We’ve seen a number of categories explode with premium products in recent years: coffee, beer, and even peanut butter. But recently chocolate has been on the rise. In fact, specialty chocolate is the fastest growing segment for chocolate.

Wellington Chocolate Factory is New Zealand’s original craft bean-to-bar chocolate company, and has been the market leader ever since.

“We boast the only certified organic chocolate bar in New Zealand. We’re very much driven by quality in product and the ethics of how we source our cacao beans, and being a force for good,” says founder Gabe Davidson.

“Most people don’t realise…

We all know the saturation of craft beer, and how hard it can be to stand out from the crowd. But strong community engagement can also help drive sales — on a recent trip to the Hawke’s Bay, it seemed most venues only had one beer on tap.

Brave Brewing is an award-winning brewery run by husband and wife team Matt and Gemma Smith, based in the sunny Hawke’s Bay.

“We are a friendly neighbourhood brewery, and we’ve been serving Hawke’s Bay with really good beer for over 6 years now,” says Gemma.

I asked Gemma how Brave Brewing got…

Frances Shoemack has a simple goal — make the world’s best natural perfume.

Her vehicle for that is Abel Odor, the natural perfume company she founded 8 years ago after a failed search for natural perfume.

“There was this burgeoning niche perfume industry but there was no one who was thinking about where the ingredients came from,” says Frances.

“So I decided to make a natural perfume that would stand up to the world’s best, while giving thought to where ingredients come from, how good they were for you, without compromising on ethics, design or aesthetics.

“My background is in…

We’re all well aware of the challenges of sustainability around the fashion industry. Whether it’s fast fashion, the manufacturing of materials or where our clothes end up when we’re done with them, as an industry it leaves a lot to be desired.

One Auckland company is looking to change that impact. Goodlids is a headwear brand looking to revolutionise the use of hemp as a material by being ‘nice for your head and good for the planet’.

“Hemp is an awesome material — from a performance perspective it wears really well, and is very breathable,” says founder Dane Watson.


At the start of 2020, most of us wouldn’t have owned a facemask. Few had a regular use for them, and the idea of mandatory usage on public transport or seeing most people wearing them on the street was a foreign concept. But now they’re fairly commonplace.

Dan Bowden is CEO and co-founder of Aō Air. Along with his co-founders, Ilya and Jerry, Aō Air have developed the Atmos — their flagship air filtration mask.

“2020 has been an assault on the respiratory system — starting with wildfires and now COVID,” says Dan.

“Our masks have been independently validated to…

How do you create a career niche for yourself? It’s a question that has fascinated me as I’ve learnt from various roles and tracked the careers of others.

Kristy Grant is Chief Executive of the newly formed Lane Street Studios. But across her career she has carved herself a niche in unique spaces and education pipelines within the creative sector, starting with the Roxy5 film competition, through to Miramar Creative Centre and Courtney Creative.

I asked Kristy how she got started in the creative sector and the rundown on her various projects.

“My background was in trade and logistics and…

Men’s skincare and grooming has undergone a renaissance in the last decade. The industry has exploded as fellas have rediscovered routine and process and the value of products, inspired more by their grandfathers than their fathers.

Triumph & Disaster is a men’s natural skincare and grooming company who were at the cutting edge of that renaissance. Led by CEO and founder Dion Nash, they’re now in their tenth year as one of New Zealand’s leading men’s brands and attracting global recognition.

I asked Dion how Triumph & Disaster got started and what triggered his insight that men’s skincare was a…

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Business stories from New Zealand. Exploring niches from our corner of the world.

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