Hollywood’s Margot Robbie, Kourtney Kardashian use Kiwi skincare brand

An Auckland-based skincare brand has been catapulted on to the global stage after a feature in Forbes and becoming a staple in the bathrooms of some of the world’s famous faces.

Emma Lewisham, created by the namesake owner, was founded just over a year ago when Lewisham came across some “ugly truths” within the beauty industry. Since then it has grown its export arm and garnered the interest of American venture capitalists.

Lewisham was struggling with hyper-pigmentation when she discovered that the products she was using for this had an ingredient called hydroquinone, which is highly toxic and banned in many countries.

“When I went to replace these products with all-natural alternatives that still had validation behind their results, I couldn’t find any, and I thought that women deserved better and that there was an opportunity to prove that you don’t have to compromise your health and beauty,” Lewisham told the Herald.

“I also saw that the beauty industry was unsustainable and needed disrupting and I wanted to make a difference there.”

The natural skincare brand was under development for two years before it launched, and in the last six months, it has grown its revenue by more than 700 per cent.

A team of seven work from its Ponsonby HQ and its products are also made and bottled in Auckland. The United States is the brand’s third-largest market, behind New Zealand and Australia – which are on par. Singapore follows after the US.

But Lewisham says she isn’t enticed by the bright lights of Hollywood despite sales in the market catapulting following a mention in Forbes magazine last year.

Hollywood celebrities and models such as Margot Robbie, Phoebe Tonkin, Georgia Fowler and Kourtney Kardashian are known to use the brand’s products regularly.

“I am a big believer in putting focus in your home markets, so in the next 12 months, we will be focused on New Zealand and Australia and supporting our customers here.

“We don’t want to jump to the bright lights of other markets before we’ve done a really good job here, but it is in our sights to expand globally.”

Lewisham said she had not anticipated the demand the business had received, and it was doing what it thought it would be doing in its fifth year of operations.

Long term, she hopes the brand will encourage other players within the industry to switch to sustainable practices and to bring about change within the beauty industry.

Lewisham said she is set on working towards changing beauty regulations in New Zealand as a first port of call. “We’re still very much purpose-led and have ambitions to do much more than wanting to sell as part of the company.

“Particularly in five years, our hope is that we’ve made a big difference to the beauty industry as a whole.”

As a luxury brand, Lewisham does not believe that the brand needs to be available everywhere and believes in exclusivity among its 40 retailers.

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