From her early fascination with teeth to her remarkable journey into sustainable oral care, Laura Nixon's story is one of innovation, sustainability, and heartfelt commitment to New Zealand's wellbeing.
As a dental therapist and hygienist, Laura witnessed the environmental toll of the dental industry's single-use plastics, and it began to gnaw at her conscience. She couldn't help but wonder: What kind of world did she want to live in, and what legacy did she want to leave for her children?
Driven by this quest for a more sustainable path, Laura embarked on a journey to reduce waste in her own life and soon set her sights on a particularly glaring issue: toothpaste tubes. Thus began her remarkable journey into becoming a toothpaste formulator, leading to the birth of Solid.
With a background in solving problems and inventing solutions, Laura was undeterred by the challenges she faced. Today, Solid offers a range of innovative oral care products that are both eco-conscious and effective, aligning seamlessly with Laura's belief in sustainable, safe, and quality-driven solutions.
Here, she answers some of our burning questions:
What was it like growing up in New Zealand?
I grew up in Ahuriri Napier with my mum and had a great upbringing. I was really close with my grandparents — our whānau has an appreciation for growing our own fruits and vegetables as well as reusing, repairing and creative problem-solving. We live now by the beach in Tītahi, with our factory a 10 minute electric bike ride away. Tītahi Bay is a special place — it's a little seaside village growing into itself, proud to be part of Ngāti Toa's rohe and a wonderful place to bring up tamariki.
How is it like working as a husband-and-wife team?
My partner Adam is my co-founder and he has been a big support — although like any couple, we have our ups and downs. The best part of working together is that we think really differently. I'm into the detail and the creative side, Adam loves the big picture and the people side, so we compliment each other well. Our challenge is to make sure we talk about other things and not just kids and business!
What's the biggest lesson you've learnt from starting and running a business?
How important the people in your team are to the success of your business. I might be the one out in front, but it's definitely a team effort.
Can you share some insights on the importance of sustainable and socially responsible practices in today's business landscape, especially in NZ?
Our kaupapa is informed by our role as kaitaiki. We believe that we all need to take responsibility for what we produce and consume. For that reason we have focused on return and refill — all our glass jars can be returned to us to be sterilised and reused, and we work with stockists around the motu to provide refill stations where people can refill their toothpaste, powders and tablets. The biggest thing I've learnt is how important it is to work together to achieve this. It's not a Solid thing, but a partnership between Solid, our customers and stockists.
Where do you get your inspiration for new products from?
Lots of places! But mostly from customers telling me what oral health challenges they have—allergies or sensory issues for example—and thinking what I can do to support them. Sustainability-wise, I love designing out waste right from the beginning. It's super satisfying.
What does wellness mean to you? How do you personally practice wellness and self-care?
For me it means balance. Balancing time with our kids—we have a 3 and 6 year old—time for myself and time on the business. I still play netball, and I love cooking elaborate South Asian dishes. I'm very much an active relaxer.
In the spirit of New Zealand-made excellence, MyTreat is proud to feature Solid's plastic-free toothpaste in a mini glass jar in all our November subscription boxes. Subscribe today to try true NZ ingenuity and innovation.