Be Vibrant: A retail mecca of great quality NZ brands
And the best part? Be Vibrant is owned and operated from their home-base on Waiheke Island - which is located in the Hauraki Gulf. If you haven't already visited Waiheke Island, we highly recommend adding this to your 'to do' list (and prepare your taste buds for some of the finest wine & cuisine that NZ has to offer!).
Tell us a bit about yourself and what made you want to start Be Vibrant? How long have you been in this business for?
Starting Be Vibrant has been a bit of a journey in itself! I’d wanted to open a
web shop since I ran a clinic working as a neuromuscular therapist and natural healing practitioner in the early 2000s. I’d seen so many people benefit from some simple (but effective) mineral supplementation, for example.
I think so many of us in this modern world are simply depleted, and our diets either aren’t providing enough of the nutrients we need or we aren’t absorbing them (partly due to stress!).
Fast forward some years (and a 4 year stint overseas), I had been working in
the corporate world for a while and wanted to do something else on the side
that I was more passionate about! I wanted to sell the same top quality, health-supporting products I’d recommended to clients in my clinic, including nutrient rich super-food powders, and make them broadly available at great prices. I finally started my web shop (named Vibrant Nutrition – what a mouthful!). Our first logo was something found on the internet very cringy now – I was really just testing the concept and giving myself some confidence!
In 2017 we rebranded as Be Vibrant and started actively adding a LOT more products to the site, including a huge range of products which support leading a healthy, active, environmentally conscious lifestyle. I’ve been a home composter and gardener for ages, and I love discovering & promoting amazing, biodegradable alternatives to traditional plastic products such as kitchen sponges. I’m a big believer that biodegradable products need to be composted too, rather than going to landfill, and I hope to write a lot more on that topic!
Towards the end of last year I also decided to make the leap and try working in
the business full-time, which has been a roller coaster, but I’m so glad I did! I
also now have an amazing staff member, too!
What do you see as the most important part of your business?
Actually I don’t know if there is one thing in terms of products, but if I was to name one thing, I think it would have to be the values that underpin the business. This started off as a fairly abstract extension of my own personal values, but we’ve actually started to write them down so we can hold ourselves to them!
- Integrity, quality and ethics – we don’t sell what we don’t believe in, and recommend what we genuinely love!
- Accessibility – we maintain at ultra-competitive prices, and our dispatch is usually same or next day.
- Approachability – I hope customers can always feel they can get in touch, and that I give helpful answers or support.
- Sustainability – we are constantly working on sustainable practices, especially around dispatch. We have a little way to go with a couple of our suppliers, but we’re making progress!
- Happiness, optimism and positivity – this includes both around health and the environment.
I admire the fact that you're so passionate about sustainability and reducing waste. Tell us a little bit more about your commitment to sustainability
I feel as if I’ve been conscious of waste, including landfill waste, for some time, but like most people, I could have been doing a bit better! I feel like in early 2018 there was this huge shift towards people genuinely trying to become zero waste, or as close to as possible.
I considered options for our packaging for dispatch and decided the best way was to use recycled cardboard that comes to us from suppliers.
Did I mention I’m a HUGE believer in home composting? Not only do I love it, I think it makes such a massive difference to lowering our contributions to landfill and the by-products they create. So we dispatch our packages to customers with home compostable courier bags.
These can be reused (not recycled) or composted. We made this call to put some of the onus back onto our customers to think about disposal of biodegradables – which is also a lot of the products we sell. (Although customers are always welcome to request a recycled & recyclable bag instead!)
I’m the first to put my hand up and admit we are not yet perfect. Some of our dispatch comes directly from one of our suppliers in Auckland (this enables us to offer a large range at competitive prices!) so these packages arrive with customers as they would with us.
Waste is just one aspect of sustainability: we also look at sustainable sourcing
up-stream and are developing policies around this.
What is your dream for Be Vibrant/where do you want to take the business?
My goals for the business are still evolving, but I feel we are at a great stage to grow and provide some steady employment to others in the community! I’d like to keep it as a home-based business that supports a healthy lifestyle for me, my family, staff, suppliers and of course my customers.
I’d like to say I “walk the talk” and live a balanced lifestyle around the business – that the business supports a healthy lifestyle for me and others who work in it (including my husband now!). At times that has been more of an aspiration but it's always been there as an over-arching goal.
The reality of running a business is there is always something that needs doing. And grunt-work usually gets done early in the morning or late into the evening. (And I’m not that much of a morning person that I leap out of bed and head straight to the office, so you can guess when mine gets done!). However I do my best to set clear intentions each day, week, month and year to ensure the business is operating in alignment with our values.
I'm also very keen to get back into body therapies in the new year. This now feels in harmony with running Be Vibrant. So I'm planning on starting up my practise in Neuromuscular Therapy and learning some new skills alongside, which is very exciting!
It must be awesome living on Waiheke Island! What do you like to do when you're not working?
See answer to last question. Haha. I envy people who simply knit in the evening. (Not really). No but seriously, I DO make plenty of time to spend in my garden (I’d like to spend more…I find gardens keep giving more back the more you put in…) plus I take my doggy out walking each day and sometimes out paddle boarding.
My two favourite sports are actually skiing & mountain-biking – neither of which there is much of here on the island! But I’ve been working on getting more of both back into my life, too! Oh, and cooking. I think I’m a half decent cook but I’m very non-traditional and definitely put more time into it when the weather is cold!
Onwards And Upwards
We're excited to see what the future holds for Be Vibrant - watch this space! If you would like to shop a wide range of eco-friendly, top quality NZ products - check out the Be Vibrant online store. The full Manuka Essentials product range can also be purchased at Be Vibrant.
If you would like to learn more about what makes mānuka and kānuka special, check out our knowledge base.