Janie Cameron firstname.lastname@example.orgFriday 07 April 2017, 8:08AM
One of New Zealand's most beloved botanical skincare
brands will soon grace the shelves of more Kiwi pharmacies, after
partnering with a new distributor.
Evolu, which boasts a range of natural skincare
products for face and body, has teamed up with McPherson's Consumer
Products, a health and beauty distributor, to expand its reach
across the country.
Like many Kiwi inventions Evolu rose from humble
beginnings. The products were first made in the kitchen sink of
Kiwi-born Hungarian Kati Kasza and her "partner in crime", Paul
Over the past 20 years, the pair have turned the
small-scale natural skincare start-up into a flourishing business,
which currently sells in around 120 pharmacies
But the time is right to take Evolu to the next step,
says Ms Kasza, who is clearly excited about the new relationship
"We have been a small, perfectly formed business with
a really strong sales force, but it got to the point where the
brand is ready to explode and we just can't do that on our own,"
"It was really important for us to find the right
partner, and we think [McPherson's] is the perfect fit. They've got
such a great culture."
This year is the company's 20th anniversary, and a
good opportunity to reflect on the growth of the brand from those
early days in their Grey Lynn villa.
The daughter of Hungarian refugees - her father a
winemaker, her mother a herbalist - Ms Kasza grew up in Napier,
with "everything natural", she says. She began her career as a
French and English teacher, before becoming an international flight
"It was fantastic for my French, but absolutely
terrible for my skin," she says. "There wasn't anything natural
around in those days, so one thing led to another and I started
making my own products, and I guess the rest is history."
While Evolu may have started in the kitchen sink, it
certainly isn't there anymore. The brand, which takes its name from
the English word evolution and the French word évolué (evolved),
has always been a step ahead when it comes to natural
"The natural category was in its infancy when we
started, but right from the outset, we wanted to be one of New
Zealand's best and well-known skincare ranges," says Ms
"We've done it all ourselves and never had any
funding, so we probably didn't grow as fast as we wanted to, but
that has its benefits - you really get to understand the
"It's given us a great integrity behind the brand,
it's very true to its values. It's authentic and really about clean
skincare that feels amazing, smells amazing and does amazing
Evolu is a carbon zero certified business, with all
products still proudly made in New Zealand, and Ms Kasza says the
company lives its ethos.
"We use local products as often as possible, we
recycle, live locally and walk if we can."
And unlike other natural skincare brands, Evolu
products are surprisingly affordable and cover a range of skin
conditions. When Ms Kasza first started the brand, she told Mr
Westlake, co-founder and creative director, that she wanted the
range to be available to "everyone with skin".
"We all have skin and we all have the entitlement to
beautiful skincare. It shouldn't be an elitist thing at all," she
One of the biggest challenges for the business has
been encouraging people to believe that natural products really
work, says Mr Westlake.
"In the early days, we had to spend a lot of time
convincing people that the reason these plants have existed for so
long is because they have incredible benefits," he says.
Now that consumers are more savvy and well educated
about natural products, Mr Westlake says Evolu has had to keep pace
- researching ingredients and continuously refining and developing
the range. And in order to continue focusing on product development
and strategy, it's time for McPherson's to take the distribution
Ms Kasza says she would like to double the number of
pharmacies that stock Evolu within a year.
"It's a really high target but I think it's possible.
The pharmacies that do have it, love it.
"Our goal at the moment is growth and scale, and
that's what McPherson's will bring to [us] - a bigger footprint in
the market, the right resources, and a really good reputation and
relationships with retailers."
The pair says their focus is on New Zealand, but it
would be wonderful to be a globally recognised brand one day.