Hark & Zander was created from a place of frustration and curiosity.
Anyone with sensitive skin knows how difficult it is to find the right products, and having sensitive skin herself, Kirsty knew exactly that! She was spending big on the “best” products on the market, they were fine but used too many synthetics for her liking.
This led Kirsty - a nurse - to explore the world of all natural skincare products and when she couldn’t find a sustainable solution her knowledge and curiosity kicked in and she began to explore other methods. Wonderful and unusual methods.
After years of in-depth research into the health properties of all different types of natural ingredients Kirsty discovered something that would revolutionise the way cosmetics could be made and against controversy she believed people like her needed to know what she had found.
Imagine if you found an ingredient that decreased inflammation and irritation, something that promotes healthy skin cells and combats common skin issues like, acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Something that dermatologists themselves have described as the best natural alternative solution for skincare. You would want to tell the world, right?
That’s partly where the name came from, Hark meaning the telling the good news, and this was GREAT NEWS! (Added bonus it had a bit of the founder’s name in there) and Zander meaning defender of the people which is fitting as the H&Z brand is built around strength, confidence and protection.
Kirsty - by nature - is a caring person who believes in empowering others and adding value to peoples lives, so when she discovered the health benefits of hempheart, she had to explore the idea of treating skin with its incredible properties.
Hempheart is the little wee white seed found in hemp plants - like the size of a sesame seed. They have been known to improve focus and cognitive functioning. They contain brain-friendly antioxidants, omega fats, essential vitamins, and minerals. And what they can do for your skin… wow!
Armed with this incredible knowledge Kirsty began growing it in vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand. No mucking around with this one. A few days in she was introduced to her first hurdle, hello Mr Hurdle. Government regulations! These regs and policing made it pretty darn difficult to gain traction. Pretty fair given not many fully understanding the plants unlimited potential.
Kirsty did not give up. After more research and development there was an incredible argument to be had, and Kirsty was the perfect person to have it. And she won!!! Then, she was offered co-funding from the Government to conduct the first of its kind research into the symbiotic relationship between vines and hemp growing together. That’s our boss! #proud
The specialists concluded that the properties found in hemp did not negatively effect the white grapes at all. In fact, the vines grew stronger with new-found nutrients the hemp plants were bringing up to the surface. To add to this, the biodiversity in insect life increased across the trial vineyards. AND - to top it all off - carbon readings from the soil increased due to the plants high levels of Carbon-sequestration.
Here’s were things get real interesting...
After a few months of using her new blended face oil, reality came knocking. Friends and family where approaching her saying things like “damn girl, there’s a massive difference to your skin.“ Ok, full disclaimer, they didn’t say “damn girl” but they were super intrigued!
This was followed by orders - LOT’S OF ORDERS - so Kirsty assembled a talented team of experts and started her unexpected new business venture.
As demand grew, so did her need for a bigger place. Her unwavering purpose to deliver quality and consistency in all of her products meant space and resource where crucial in scaling. Keeping it Kiwi was also high up on the agenda, so - obviously - real, natural, highly-effective Kiwi ingredients were on the menu. In the same breath sourcing a laboratory in Mount Wellington, Auckland, that could service the wider New Zealand communities and expand the product range was the last part of the Kiwi puzzle.
Hark & Zander was officially born, and as time went on, new ingredients were sourced, partnerships were made and more products where invented. With national successes and positive word spreading it was time to take this very unique Kiwi Start-up into international waters.
Of course - this did raise some problems, as you can imagine. Not all countries in the world have the same positive outlook on hempheart, and that brought it’s own wave of interesting learnings. However, with a strong team of empowered people behind her the business was able to adapt and power forward to show the rest of the world how incredible these Kiwi products are.
Kirsty’s determination to “take the best of New Zealand and share it with the world” meant that hempheart took a bit of a back seat and the incredible natural products of Aotearoa took centre stage. This evolution has seen Hark & Zander reach new heights and start to build a global presence and multiple international awards - I know, crazy right!
This small Kiwi hemply-hydrated Start-up is now providing people all over the world products that truly make a difference and can help breathe confidence, empowerment and a bit of sass into it’s incredible customers.
We are so proud to be part of the evolution of skincare. We look forward to bringing you along for the ride.