The Free Range Company was founded November 2015, looking to create effective natural products that were produced in New Zealand, and had a minimal impact on the environment.

“The Free Range Company goes beyond the principle of do no harm, in both an environmental and ethical way, to using the business for good,” says the company’s creator Amanda-Jane Healy.

“This is central to everything we do, whether it’s sustainable production, waste minimisation, use of rainwater, compostable and recyclable packaging, and using our success to support important causes worldwide.

The company’s product range began with a certified organic deodorant that actually works, and has since grown to a dozen varieties and a rapidly growing base of passionate customers.

But building a thriving online business, with a loyal tribe of customers who know and support the business’s story, has come with its challenges.

“I come from a legal background, so doing the paperwork to achieve organic certification and cruelty free certification was relatively easy, but social media … a fish out of water doesn’t even begin to describe it!” says Amanda-Jane.

“Andrea Leadbetter from TGM Creative was guiding us through our graphic design and recommended the Business programme and the huge difference mentoring had made for her business.”

“When you’re new to business, it’s a dream come true to be able to access top quality business mentors for free, and having someone who has such a rich variety of expertise, has made a world of difference to our growth.”

“We initially launched our online business with a focus on search engine optimisation, and although our strategy there was highly effective, it very quickly became clear that SEO was just a starting point - we needed social media to help spread the word.”

Amanda-Jane launched a Facebook page and got some posts up, but found building a social presence to be one the most stressful parts of growing the business.

“We weren’t social media users and didn’t have a clue where to start. By the time we were teamed up with our mentor, Rose Cawley from successful Taranaki-based startup IVHQ, we had 400 Facebook followers. Four months later we had broken the 2,000 mark and launched our page on Instagram. We now have more than 3,000 followers!”

“Rose has helped us hit the high notes and gently guided us to develop our content and our brand voice. We’re still learning, but are very thankful for the great start she has given us.”

“As an emerging business you’re generally doing everything yourself. While you can read all about how to do something, if it’s not your core expertise, everything can feel very difficult and time consuming.”

“Rose has been full of tips, tricks and inspiration. Having a mentor that shares the ‘how to’, who inspires you and keeps you on track, it just makes a huge difference. What seems insurmountable suddenly becomes possible. It’s an amazing gift!”

The Free Range Company has also tapped into other services offered by Venture Taranaki.

“Venture Taranaki have been a fabulous support. As different challenges have arisen we’ve been teamed up with the right people to guide us through. It has made a world of difference being able to tap in to such a rich variety of expertise,” Amanda-Jane says.

With an impressive start, the future is looking very bright for the Free Range Company, and the wider community is catching on. 

“New Zealand consumers are becoming much more discerning about products being good for them, good for others and good for our natural environment.”

“We love being part of that, and creating a business that is not just about profit but has a greater focus on doing good. We’d love to be able to take The Free Range story global, but for now we’re happy to be building our brand here in New Zealand and connecting with all these wonderful people who are on their own journey towards healthier living.”