UC alumni are changing the world, one face at a time

24 November 2017

A group of University of Canterbury alumni aiming to launch a game-changing cosmetics brand to benefit charity has blitzed its Kickstarter fundraising target.

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    Founder Bonnie Howland (left) and chief executive Hannah Duder say their fledgling company, indigo & iris, is the culmination of a three-year mission to shake up the beauty industry by creating products that are beautifully produced but with sustainability and strong ethics at the core.

A group of University of Canterbury (UC) alumni aiming to launch a game-changing cosmetics brand to benefit charity has blitzed its Kickstarter fundraising target.

Aiming to use make-up to change the face of the world one face at a time, the company indigo​ ​&​ ​iris, has far exceeded its Kickstarter target to fund production of the first of many ethical make-up products. At the time of writing, indigo & iris – aiming to raise $75,000 on Kickstarter – had raised more than $121,000 with six days of the campaign to go.

The first product, a mascara named Levitate, will be made in Italy and is described as “hydrating, lengthening and lash-defining”. The company will give half of the profits from its mascara sales to the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ to cure avoidable blindness in the Pacific.

The team launching indigo​ ​&​ ​iris is almost exclusively made up of UC alumni. Chief executive Hannah​ ​Duder completed a double degree in law and commerce at UC, as well as being part of the University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE).

“Clearly, our dream is resonating; indigo & iris has already received a number of offers and invitations for collaboration both within New Zealand and further afield,” she says. More than 2000 people have supported the product Kickstarter, with more than $20,000 raised within the first six days.

“I could not have got where I am without all the knowledge and skills I gained at the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship,” Ms Duder says, citing the mentorship of UCE director Dr Rachel Wright as a major factor in their success.

“One of the most exciting opportunities is to launch the brand onto the worldwide market at New York Fashion Week 2018, which is contingent on the Kickstarter.”

The campaign team is led by Erin Jackson who was the University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) president in 2012, and the web team, Lab3, is run by three recently graduated UC engineers.

Founder Bonnie Howland, 21, says the campaign is the culmination of a three-year mission to shake up the beauty industry by creating products that are beautifully produced but with sustainability and strong ethics at the core.

“It’s amazing to finally get this amazing, stunning product out on the market and give our crowd the chance to get their hands on it,” she says.

Ms Duder and Ms Howland say further charities will be confirmed as the company expands.

For further information please contact:

Margaret Agnew, Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3631 | Mobile: +64 275 030 168margaret.agnew@canterbury.ac.nz
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