Beard oil, business partners and a brand overhaul: an update from Manuka Essentials

Mount Maunganui


Over the past 6 months, we have been hard at work behind the scenes, preparing Manuka Essentials to make a larger impact on the world stage. After many moons of product improvements, design iterations and countless other projects, we are excited to share a range of announcements:

Manuka Essentials welcomes Rowan Armstrong

Rowan Armstrong

At the end of 2018, Rowan Armstrong came onboard as a business partner. With decades of experience running distribution businesses, he was the perfect fit to take our fledgeling enterprise to the next level.

Complete brand overhaul

Manuka Essentials logo

To reflect our commitment to developing premium quality, sustainable natural products that have the WOW factor, we partnered with a leading creative design agency to develop a new logo and colour scheme which fits our products moving forward:

Beard oil old vs. new

Over the past few weeks, we have revamped our website to be in line with the vision that Manuka Essentials is striving to realize.

Innovative retail packaging

Beard oil 15 bottle displayBeard oil 15 bottle display close upBeard oil 9 bottle stand backBeard oil 9 bottle front


Packaging makes up an important part of our buying decisions, especially in a retail setting. So we partnered with award winning industrial designers Cameron Holder and Ben Tutheridge at Secandi to create sustainable bamboo product displays that can be reused by our stockists time and time again.

Stocked by quality barbers



From day one, we have had an eye towards growing Manuka Essentials as a household name that people know and love.

To help gain a strong retail presence, we have teamed up with Combined Salon Supplies to bring our products to barbers and retail stores throughout New Zealand. If you would like to stock our beard oil, have a chat with your local Combined Salon Supplies store.

Manuka Essentials exclusive



Once our stock of products from other brands and suppliers is gone, we will only be selling Manuka Essentials products. By narrowing the focus of our brand, we can really place more emphasis on bringing The Manuka Essentials Vision to life.




Innovation through collaboration

Photo by from Pexels

“A future with more forests is key to the resilience of our planet”

    • David Attenborough

The future for Manuka Essentials is bright. We are excited to be working at the intersection of science, commerce, environmentalism and marketing to help bring more native forest to New Zealand.

But it hasn’t all been rosy. Just like any ambitious startup, we have had our fair share of challenges and lessons along the way...

A glimpse into the journey

Photo by Eric Sanman from Pexels

It all started at the end of 2017 when Callum uncovered the extraordinary health and environmental benefits of mānuka and kānuka.

“Most people have heard of mānuka honey before, but that’s just scratching the tip of the iceberg. The essential oils, leaves (made into tea) and other products that can be produced from parts of the mānuka plant have astonishing healing properties. Mānuka is also the first stage in regenerating native forest and provides a nursery environment that helps other plants to flourish”

    • Callum Armstrong, founder of Manuka Essentials

With this in mind, Callum got to work developing Manuka Essentials in early 2018. Unlike many companies that build their business around a particular product, service or customer, we decided to focus on a particular group of plants: mānuka and kānuka.

By the end of July, the juvenile company was ready to ‘say hello’ to the world.

Taking the shotgun approach

When you’re at the beginning of a new business, there are practically unlimited potential ways of getting started. Rather than focusing on doing just one thing, Callum initially tried to do everything and see what works.

Unfortunately, one thing they don’t tell you in business school is that trying to do everything well is a surefire way of falling short at most things.

“We developed our own products, sold items from other artisans and brands, tried our hand at online retail, influencer marketing, social media, weekend markets and so much more.”

    • Callum Armstrong

Throughout this intense period, it became clear that people care about great design, quality products and a meaningful story. Whilst there are plenty of excellent native products made by local artisans (that we definitely recommend trying out), we needed to have the ability to carve our own destiny and be much more creative with the products we develop.

Which led us to the next stage in our business…

Uniquely Kiwi

A digital image of half bird and half kiwi fruit

We were looking for opportunities where native plant extracts (mānuka essential oil in particular) could be used to improve upon existing products in the market.

This pursuit led to us creating The Ultimate Beard Oil. Facial hair is often quite unhygienic - think about how many times we touch dirty surfaces, eat food, stroke our beards and embrace loved ones.

We were stunned to discover that no other beard oil offered hygiene protection. So we created a unique formula using East Cape mānuka oil to provide a hygiene barrier against bacterial infection.

After dozens of design iterations, improvements to our formula and interviews with barbers, we finally crafted a beard oil worthy of taking on the world stage. As they say, good things take time.

Moving Forward…

We are committed to playing a role in the reforestation of New Zealand and supporting worthwhile environmental projects. As our community grows, we will also be kicking off a number of other exciting initiatives (stay tuned). But in the meantime…

To celebrate the release of our new beard oil, we’re giving away 6 x 30ml bottles over on Facebook. To enter, simply like our page, tag a man in your life with a great beard and boom! You’re in to win. Winners drawn 19th May, 2019.