We've managed to secure a new supplier! And she's a sweetie! Her brand is sweet as too. We asked founder Andrea Blondel a few questions so you can get to know more about her and Nectar, a body and bath brand born from her unwavering quest for her son's relief, and now blossoming as a beacon of wellness and sustainability.
Can you share the story of how Nectar began and evolved into what it is today?
15 years ago, Nectar was born in a kauri cottage at Howick Beach, near Auckland NZ, when I discovered by accident, that using a handmade soap relieved my son’s long-term eczema. My son was born in the late 90s and from an early age suffered from extensive and continual eczema. The agony he experienced every single day in the bath or shower, the constant scratching of his raw skin and general irritability he felt, added to the overwhelming guilt that I felt because I was unable to help my boy. I consulted with doctors, specialists and even holistic health professionals, trying all sorts of remedies and absolutely NOTHING helped to relieve the agony he felt every day. I hadn’t really considered that the highly detergent-based, triple-milled soaps and body washes I was buying for my family, could be the origin of his discomfort.
He was 12 when I realised the nightly screaming in the shower had actually ceased and his skin was beginning to repair itself. I soon realised it could possibly be the result of him using a bar of handmade soap that I had bought the month before and asked him to use! That realisation has since led me on a personal journey away from mass-produced (and unknown to me at the time) sometimes fairly toxic and hormone-unbalancing personal care products and back instead to nourishing the largest organ we have – our skin.
I knew I was onto something here. I researched and read for months on end, and began developing more skin and body care products, sharing them with family and friends. In the early years, I sold at markets and in-home parties in our area and met more and more parents that had the same gut-wrenching experiences as our family had. So many customers reported back that our products were helping them too. And our customers also wanted another thing – sustainability. Being a bit of an eco-warrior myself, it was a natural progression to not only make every effort to source organic and/or sustainable ingredients but also planet-friendly packaging materials, ensuring our products were as sustainable as possible.
Next, I personally had to take a big risk, putting aside my other long-term design business and concentrate on Nectar – putting it online to help people access our products in the easiest possible way. And here we are today!
What's the biggest lesson learnt from starting and running a business?
This is the second of three businesses I have started – the first was my interiors and building consultancy and project management, which I ran for over 25 years. Nectar began as a side hobby business and my son and I incorporated it into a registered company late 2018. Yup, our boy is now 25, and he is working with me full-time to manage and grow this business.
This January, I started another business for natural pet remedies, The ROAR Store NZ Ltd and this and Nectar run alongside each other. I suppose the major lesson has been that building relationships with suppliers and customers is the glue that holds the companies together. And the other thing I think is so important is that the most effective and successful products organically grow from the need for that product, not just selecting a product out of thin air and hoping it will sell! Massive difference.
What inspired you to choose the name 'Nectar' for your brand, and what does it represent to you?
I chose the word ‘Nectar’ for my brand because, to me, nectar represents the ultimate, most delicious substance in the whole world! It’s also a vital, super-rich plant derived liquid that attracts butterflies and bees. And we would have no life on earth without our super-pollinating friends! But all up, it just seemed like a great brand name that spoke of everything I would personally want in a skincare product. Over the years, our range of products has increased from a small selection of handmade soaps to an extensive range of skincare products for the entire family – and even some for our precious doggos.
Could you tell us more about Nectar's Daily Body Scrub and what makes it special?
The Daily Spa Scrub (which is featured in this month’s Plus, LUXE, and Wellness 'Glow' Boxes) was formulated with the input and testing with our beauty
clinicians who wanted a natural and nourishing product for their body exfoliation treatments.
The delightful kumquat scrub, available in a special 50g version for MyTreat, is a citrusy delight made with super-moisturising oils. It not only renews your skin but leaves it feeling soft and silky for the day ahead. Plus, the aroma is simply heavenly.
What keeps you going? Or shall we say, what keeps you, ahem, "glowing"?
It’s simple – I just LOVE what I do and can’t wait to jump out of bed to get on with the day, every day. A bit like my interiors company, you just can’t get bored when trends change all the time and there is always something new you need to consider adding to the range. I also get a lot of feedback from my customers – emails, comments on socials, that is always so lovely and positive. I have a lot of regular customers who leave me personal notes and greetings on their orders too! It makes me feel like a part of a really supportive community of friends rather than a business!
How do you personally practice self-care?
I am a bit of a workaholic so unless I leave my desk or the formulating table, I don't really relax. That's where my two beautiful dogs come to the rescue. As all dog mums and dads know, it is so important for them to get out and run and sniff and walk each day, not just for exercise but for their mental health too. So I stay on top of MY stress levels by walking my dogs at the local beach or in a forest fairly near to me.
Getting away from houses completely and into nature, you can really decompress. I try not to think of anything but I often fail as I have a busy brain! But I work through quite a lot of issues in a more calm way.
As far as body care, I try to eat as clean a diet as possible. We have a great organic fruit and vege shop in Howick. I like to cook for the family from scratch and try and steer them away from too many processed foods. I love looking after family and friends in this way so I suppose that is self-care in a way too. It brings me a lot of joy.
I only use our Nectar products, which goes without saying. I have a simple routine which a lot of friends have adopted and are really happy with the results.
Check out Nectar’s website for more body and wellness delights to purchase or get a 250g Daily Spa Scrub at 10% off. Use code: TREATBOX. Discount code expires end of Nov 2023.