Girl Native – Where Māori beauty meets business

Girl Native founder Rawinia Rimene talks about her inclusive beauty brand and how Māori-focused business support helps Māori in business

Rawinia developed the idea for Girl Native in her final year studying business and project management at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in 2019. After having her third child she looked into Māori medicine and wanted to use fewer toxic products for beauty and hygiene.

One year on she’s preparing to open her storefront in Porirua, having accessed a range of business support to help her build an inclusive, sustainable business that has Māori women and Māori beauty at the centre.

Inclusive beauty

While developing her skincare range, Rawinia was looking for a point of difference. After talking to friends and family, she realised there was space in the market for more inclusive beauty products, especially ones that focused on Māori women and their beauty needs.

This focus has already seen Girl Native acknowledged internationally, taking out Highly Commended in the Best New Inclusive Make-up Product at the 2020 Pure Beauty Global Awards.

Rawinia says her focus is now on building her brand by positioning Māori women at the forefront of her campaigns.

It makes me stronger and more confident in what I do, knowing it’s not just me alone out there doing it

The value of Māori business support

Through Covid-19 Rawinia came across WellingtonNZ’s Covid-19 support and was connected to our  Hannah. She was able to access $5000 in advisory funding, split across marketing strategy and financial advice, and both through Māori service providers.

But that support went further than the funding to access business advice. Having a dedicated Māori business growth advisor who can talk through your challenges and opportunities and connect you with other people within Wellington’s Māori business support network means everything, says Rawinia.

“She [Hannah] really listened. It wasn’t just someone on the end of the phone giving out vouchers.

“To be greeted and farewelled in Māori and feel like I don’t have to speak or be a certain way. There are no barriers, I don’t have to worry about anything else, just the task at hand.

“You’re looked at as not just being a business, but a Māori in business. It’s a supportive network and you can see it growing here in Wellington.”

The advice has helped me to feel more confident about moving forward in my business through these trying times

Collaborating with creative communities

Rawinia connected with the Porirua business community through the Porirua Launch Lab programme run through Creative HQ and The Settlement co-working spaces. Launch Lab is a six-month incubation programme created to help start-up businesses owners validate ideas and build a sustainable business from Porirua. Run out of The Settlement co-working space, it provides entrepreneurs with workspace, networks and support to turn their ideas into growing businesses.

Rawinia was referred to the programme through her business mentor who suggested it would help take her beauty brand to the next level.

"It’s probably the most amazing experience I’ve had in business, where you’re constantly around collaborative and creative people,” says Rawinia.

"You have mentors available when you need them and meet with creatives and other business owners who all pitch in and help each other."

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