Meet the founder behind natural and sustainable beauty brand Anihana

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6 September 2021

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Sophie Cooper’s love of soaps and bath bombs inspired her to start Anihana.

You may have spotted Anihana’s bright, punchy packaging on the supermarket shelves during your recent shop, or even treated yourself to an at-home pamper session with one of the beautifully-scented natural hair and body products.

We chatted to Sophie Cooper, Kiwi mum-of-two and founder of Anihana, about what inspired her to create the range of sustainable, safe, fun and affordable beauty treats.

What inspired you to start Anihana?

I’ve always been creative and loved creating beautiful things. I fell in love with soaps and bath bombs when I worked for my previous boss so jumped at the chance to buy the soap manufacturing company when she wanted to sell. Then as it grew I and we had children I really started thinking about packaging and waste and the impact we’re having on the earth for our children and grandchildren, so I decided to expand our range focusing on waste reduction and we developed the shampoo and conditioner bars, bubble baths and moisturiser bars with lots of other exciting new things to come!

What has been your highlight to date with Anihana?

So many! The top ones are being the first shampoo bar on the supermarket shelves in New Zealand. Recently we also found out that we were being ranged in all 56 Farmers stores this month which is super exciting, and being able to sponsor a charity that is close to my heart is also right up there! I’m so inspired by the work that Abbey and The Mums Clique do and it’s an honour to be able to aid her with it.

Why do you think Anihana has become so popular with Kiwis?

I’m not sure! I think it’s because we provide a fun little treat that can still be an everyday luxury without breaking the bank. A little bit of ‘me time’ with no guilt attached to it – I think that’s what makes us special.

Which is your favourite product?

My favourite product changes all the time but I always go back to the Raspberry Marshmallow Bath Bomb. It’s one of our first products we made and it’s my go to when I need to relax and unwind in the bath at the end of a busy day. It smells delicious and leaves your skin super moisturised because of the coconut oil we use in the bath bomb.

What is your favourite ingredient to use?

Coconut oil – we use it in pretty much every product. It’s so versatile and has so many amazing benefits for skin and hair. Our soaps are even 33 percent coconut oil which is why they have such a creamy lather and leave your skin feeling so soft after use.

What does an average day entail for you?

Everyday is different, but very busy! My husband and I take it in turns to do kindy drop-offs and pick-ups. But that will change soon as our five-year-old starts primary school this month! Then I’ll either work from my office or our manufacturing site. I still like to go out there and get involved helping with production, I find it quite therapeutic being there and turning the music up loud and creating and I’m always dreaming up new product ideas! I feel very blessed to do what I do!

What sort of things do you take into consideration when creating a new product?

The amount of waste for packaging, and also all new products are designed to have no manufacturing waste. Where the ingredients come from and that they are ethically sourced, and that the product makes you smile when you use it. It’s quite a fun challenge trying to figure out how to make liquid products we use in everyday life into a solid version that’s better for the planet and just as great, if not better to use!

Are there any in the pipeline we can look forward to?

We have just launched our new shower bars and have two new products planned to launch later this year, but I cannot say what they are yet, sorry! Mum’s the word for now!

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