From NZ to the world: Kiwi brand taps into interest in native botanicals to grow international awareness
Te Wai, Māori for The Water, is a beauty brand that was launched in the first quarter of this year by the firm, New Zealand Fresh Water Limited.
The brand currently offers one product, the Hydrating Fine-Mist Facial Spray which inspired by CEO Carrick Graham’s extensive travels around South East Asia.
“When you get off the plane in Thailand, for instance, you get hit by this wave of heat. However, when you get off a plane in New Zealand, you get this crisp, fresh coolness – that’s what we’ve tried to capture in a bottle.”
Despite being launched just as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hit New Zealand, the brand has managed to secure orders in several markets in APAC such as Australia, Singapore and China.
“It’s early days for the Te Wai brand, but market feedback indicates strong growth potential in the markets we are targeting,” said Graham.
Additionally, with the support of the New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) is exploring the UAE and MENA markets where the firm believes the product will have wide appeal.
“You can imagine in a city like Dubai, with 40-degree weather, having a refreshing and cool facial mist is like having a bottle of gold,” said Graham.
NZ in a bottle
The brand’s Hydrating Fine-Mist Facial Spray is made with pure New Zealand water that is infused with five native extracts: Kawakawa, Manuka, Kowhai, Mamaku, and Pohutukawa.
“We recognise that there are many unique ingredients from New Zealand that have yet to be shared with the rest of the world. These botanicals have been used over a thousand years by the Māori and have great cultural significance. We realised there was a great story to be told,” said Graham.
He believes there is a growing interest in New Zealand botanicals, which is being spurred by the demand for natural and clean ingredients.
Kawakawa, considered one of the most important herbs in traditional Māori medicine, is said to have antimicrobial and analgesic properties that can reduces inflammation.
Manuka, like the honey derived from it, is known to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
Kowhai is known to have natural antimicrobial properties halt the growth of micro-organisms like bacteria or fungi, making it the perfect cleaning and moisturising agent.
Mamaku was used topically in traditional Māori medicine as a dressing for sores because of its soothing and moisturising properties.
Lastly, the bioactive extract from the Pohutukawa flowers are said to be conditioning, deeply moisturising, antiseptic, and packed with antioxidants. It also promotes cell regeneration and soft, youthful skin.
“This facial spray gives you this fresh and invigorating feeling that has this unique ‘New Zealandness’. We believe it has wide consumer appeal and benefits that will resonate with many consumers.”
In the coming year, the firm aims to explore new market opportunities and evolve Te Wai into an ‘international brand’.
“When we created Te Wai, we wanted visitors to New Zealand to be able to take a little bit of New Zealand home with them, however with international travel greatly curtailed, we’ve instead focused on delivering Te Wai to fans of New Zealand around the world,” said Graham.
The firm believes this is this the right time to increase the awareness of the brand internationally.
“One thing is New Zealand’s position in the world. During this pandemic, the country has been recognised for how well it has managed COVID-19. This has given the country more visibility in the world and reinforced the awareness of its pure and clean environment,” said Graham.
However, he added that the company will take a measured approach to expansion in light of the pandemic.
“It’s early days for the brand and we must be careful in how we approach the market, particularly in this environment.”
Graham remained coy about the brand’s product development plans but confirmed that it was working on a number of product iterations.
“We want to broaden the awareness of New Zealand products. It’s not just about wine, lamb or kiwi fruit. New Zealand is known for these few things and facial pray is not one of them, but it will be soon.”