\r\nIt’s been our biggest year yet, with a growing team, new international markets, international press, new website and most excitingly, a new factory on the way.\r\nOur Growing Family\r\nWe’ve grown from a team of just four in January, to eleven in December. Each new hire is teaching me more and more about just how different people like to work and how important it is for people to be on board with a purpose beyond earning money. We operate a flexible workplace so people can start and work late whilst those who get up and go for a run at 5am (madness) can start early then go do something else outdoorsy in the afternoon. We offer unlimited holidays, lots of opportunities and of course, all staff are paid above a living wage. We all work incredibly hard in what can only be described as chaos at times so it’s so important to offer a rewarding workplace. I’m so proud of how my team rises to every challenge and nails it.\r\nOur newest hire Tristan starts in the new year, and we’re all thrilled to have his considerable operations experience to help us move from a start-up to a stay-up!\r\nInternational Recognition\r\nWe received an incredible amount of press this year. I was incredibly lucky to be selected to attend the East West Center’s Changing Faces seminar in Hawaii, which was two of the best weeks of my life. One of the biggest things that happened while I was there was meeting Amanda Ellis, who I am now delighted to call a friend and who in turn introduced me to MeiMei Fox. MeiMei wrote a lovely article for Forbes magazine, which was picked up by Huffington Post, One Million Women and many, many more. We went viral there for a while which was pretty incredible, but one of those moments of chaos. Margot was even front and centre in the Slovakian press!\r\nIt got even more exciting when first Britney Spears, then Ashton Kutcher shared us on their social media which led to me being on Paul Henry (first live TV appearance, very nerve racking.)\r\nWe’ve been featured in the NZHerald \u0026amp; Stuff.co.nz multiple times this year alongside many blogs \u0026amp; magazines.\r\nAlongside Hawaii, I have been invited to attend a few international events; Sydney for the Vital Voices Global Ambassadors week \u0026amp; most recently Washington for the Global Thinkers award ceremony.\r\nThe interest in what we are trying to do is growing and again brings home how important it is to ‘lead with why.’\r\n\r\nNew Factory\r\nIf you’ve been to our current premises anytime in the last twelve months you might have noticed it’s overstuffed with people, product and cardboard boxes. Thankfully the end is in sight and we have secured an amazing new factory, just across the road. It’s over six and a half times the size (!) so yes, we will probably have a small retail area.\r\nWe have to build a lab of course and we’re going to throw some paint on the walls and do the gardens outside so it looks pretty spectacular which will all take time. We expect to move in early March and I can’t wait!\r\nSamoa Partnership\r\nOne of the things I am most excited about is developing our partnership with Women in Business development (WiBD) in Samoa. They are a group of passionate women dedicated to improving the lives of Samoans through economic development- a hand up, not a hand out.\r\nCurrently we buy our coconut oil from them and I spent a few days in Upolu seeing how the coconut oil was made \u0026amp; meeting the people behind the operation.\r\nIn 2017, I am hoping to expand this by sourcing some more ingredients from them, but also having our body wash bars made over there in their new factory. It will mean a few trips over there for training and getting to know the farmers, a shame but someone has to do it!\r\nIt is one of my goals to create long lasting positive change for people (as well as the environment), with Ethique and cooperative partnerships such as these will be a bigger focus going forward now we are large enough to begin exploring them.\r\nWhat’s on the way\r\nI’m not going to give too much away about next year, but we do have a lot planned. First and foremost will be the move into the new factory, closely followed by an opening party- so keep an eye out for that. We have new products planned; some colourful additions (there’s a clue for you), some updated scents and our new containers (navy \u0026amp; cream for those wondering.) There will be further international expansion, more stockists both here \u0026amp; in Australia, new team members and we’re going to run classes in our new factory.\r\nIt’s been an incredible year \u0026amp; I want to thank everyone for their support throughout our tumultuous growth, whether you are a customer, a shareholder, a supplier, a partner or just an interested bystander. Watch out 2017!