Future looks good for natural beauty business 

Palmerston North City councillor Adram Broad and broadcaster Mark Sainsbury congratulate Stephanie Buckeridge on her Innovate prizes.

Massey business graduate Stephanie Buckeridge might not have won this year’s Innovate competition, but she cleaned up in her own way. The young entrepreneur’s home-based, all-natural body scrub business, Scrub Collab, impressed the judges so much they awarded her a two-year business development scholarship with Collective Intelligence and a $1000 cash prize. 

Since her success at Innovate, which is described as “Dragon’s Den on steroids”, Stephanie has focused on scaling up the business and is looking to achieve some big things in 2018.

“Innovate gave me the reassurance that others believe this is a really cool business. I needed that to boost my confidence,” she says. “The scholarship has given me a team of brains to help pull ideas from and throw ideas at. 

“The next phase is to trademark, then look to produce our new packaging, and then hit the ground running! Hopefully very soon my range will be in a store near you.”

Stephanie Buckeridge gives her successful pitch for her body scrub business Scrub Collab at Innovate.

Study and mentoring crucial to start-up success

Stephanie says her Diploma of Business Studies, majoring in entrepreneurship and small business, gave her the foundation she needed to launch Scrub Collab. The broad range of skills, particularly accounting and start-up know-how, gave her the confidence to turn a hobby into a money-making enterprise.

Scrub Collab began as a weekend project making body scrubs, bath slabs and bath salts for friends and family, but Stephanie knew she was onto something special when people started asking her for specific products.

“People started messaging and asking if I made this, or this, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I sure can.’ That’s how I grew my range – making what people asked for.”

She says the mentoring process that came with being an Innovate finalist was invaluable to her business.

“Innovate really threw me into the deep end I was not at all expecting to make the top five. I was driving home after the top 20 pitching event thinking how happy I was, but thought that was as far as this idea would go. After making the top five I realised it had value and every single day the Innovate competition taught me something new about my business.” 

As Stephanie continues to develop her product range, she says it is important to her the ingredients continue to be sourced within New Zealand and the packaging is eco-friendly and biodegradable. In a few years’ time she hopes Scrub Collab will be her full-time job and a nationwide brand everyone knows about. “We will be New Zealand’s very own bath and body product store,” she says.

And for all the would-be entrepreneurs out there, Stephanie’s advice is just do it.

“The worst thing that can happen is failure but, to succeed, at first you must fail. Otherwise you’re not trying something hard enough and chances are, if it’s that easy, someone else is already doing it.”

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