Behind the scenes at the lab

Behind the Scenes with H&Z Product Development

When we first started embarking on our mission: “To create luxury and innovative skincare for the love of people and planet,” we knew our vision was vast.

What started in a home-based kitchen tinkering zone moved swiftly to a small laboratory in Auckland and then onto full-scale production in one of NZ’s leading laboratories. 

It was from the humble beginnings of a home-based kitchen that formulations were created with the flare of an ancient apothecary. Products were sampled and generously shared around friends and family. “It was all new ground and we tried everything to get our formulations just right. We worked on a range of Hempseed-based formulations to sooth, protect, cleanse and moisturise the skin” recalls our founder, Kirsty Harkness. “It was exciting times, we knew we were on to something great with hempseed as the star.” 

It started with Kirsty, a registered nurse, mixing various concoctions together in order to solve her skin allergies. “I was searching for a hempseed oil based remedy for my own skin but I couldn't get the blend just right." 

Reaching out to others with more experience, she worked together with skincare specialists to create our amazing flagship product HempTonic Face Oil.

"Once we had the blend right, the more I shared it, the more I understood that there was a huge demand for skincare that, well… cared!” she recalls

Hark & Zander began to take shape, a small-scale operation where we could test the water and understand the industry and the market. We trialed various formulations to ensure stability and effectiveness. We drilled into the science: we researched ingredients independently and how they mixed with other ingredients; we found natural ways to replace synthetic ingredients while still delivering products that would rival the best; we ensured nature would deliver the results we needed and sourced local suppliers to keep as much as we could in New Zealand. “We are truly harnessing nature’s best, with even more exciting things to come” says Kirsty.

Hot on the heels of HempTonic was our divine HempLavish Nourishing body oil, HempPurify Emulsifying Oil Cleanser, HempBright Face the day Creme, and HempRestore Good Night Creme - all of which have received rave reviews. 

As word got out about how effective our luxury hemp based products were, we upgraded our scale to take Hark & Zander to the world. The large lab we partner with enables huge batch number production under the strictest quality control.

For our next magic, Kirsty has our game changing toner in the incubator currently and is working with our amazing team on a serum & eye creme to rival the worlds best. 

“As a NZ-based business, some people have been under the impression that we still make our products at the kitchen bench!" laughs Kirsty.

It's not easy being a small start up company, right in the midst of covid taking over all nations and news feeds. It is made especially hard when our hero ingredient, Hempseed oil, is banned from social media advertising. 

"It is certainly a steep learning curve" says Kirsty of the whole journey. "But we have an incredible product, a dedicated and passionate team, and a world of people searching for products that are natural, luxurious, effective and kind to your skin and the planet. We are excited for the future, join with us on our journey and watch what amazing things we can achieve from little ole New Zealand!"