Carrie Harman

Local Women in Business Series

16 worthy waiuku BUSINESS WOMEN to SUPPORt this year

Nestled in the furthest south-west corner of Auckland, knocking shoulders with the Waikato border,  you’ll find the small township of Waiuku. With a suburban area of less than 6 square kilometres, and a population only just touching 10,000, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a sleepy wee place. However, if you spend some time here, and get to know the locals, you’ll discover a welcoming community, full, not only by natural beauty, but also natural talent and unique businesses. 

We also discovered that the female population in Waiuku trumps the male population 52% / 48%! So it’s no wonder there’s a great many wonderful businesses being run by women in Waiuku.  

We talked to 16 such women, got to know their businesses and heard why they love living in Waiuku. Take a read, and give these worthy women your support, we are certainly going to!




Laila Martin, WestCoast Fitness

Laila was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2021. While undergoing chemo and now surgery, she truly believes if she hadn’t been fit and strong her journey would have been so much harder. “Opening WestCoast saved my life, fitness is a way of life.”

What does your business do? We provide fun and challenging group training sessions for all fitness levels in a family orientated environment.

Why did you start your business? 5 years ago the family and I moved to Waiuku. We were looking for a gym that had a mix of boxing and other trainings that we were used too attending but we couldn’t find what we wanted.  That’s when the seed was planted and my husband and I put a plan in place.  We first started off doing free sessions at the rugby club to see if there was interest in Waiuku, and found that it was popular, people enjoyed what we were doing, and that’s when WestCoast Fitness was created.

My Husband and I have always been passionate about training and really believed that training should be fun and different. Our motto is “People First, Fitness Second”.  I believe that if you can connect with people first, and build a space where we can all push each other, the fitness will come. 

Who is your dream client? I do have a soft spot for mums that have to juggle kids, work, home, life in general.  Who have forgotten about looking after themselves and have slipped into that life that so many of us mums do by putting ourselves last.  Being a mum of four children myself I understand that the struggle can be real. Our gym offers a great environment for women looking to move again but most of all women who need to connect with other women in a healthy and fun environment. (That’s not to say that WestCoast Fitness doesn’t cater for men, or have male members, we have an awesome, inclusive mix).

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? A mother bear. As mother bears are affectionate, protective, devoted, joyful, fearful, playful social animals.  A bit like our business, yes we are about fitness and becoming a healthier you, but what makes us different from other gyms is we connect with all our members and feel protective and consider them to be our fitness family.

Why should someone do business with you? Because for us it was never about making money, it’s always been about creating a space that people felt comfortable in, creating an environment where we are all family looking for the same outcome, a healthier and happier person. 

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions?  While we are still under lockdown restrictions, we are focusing on supporting our current members to keep moving and stay sane. Once we get out of this lockdown we will be open for new members to join our WestCoast Fitness family. Take the pledge to try something new, and come give a free class ago.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? The people x

What is one piece of advice that you can share with those reading this? Our bodies are amazing things they can do so much they can overcome many obstacles, be kind to it, look after it, work it, push it but most of all love it!  One day you will need it to fight things that are going to test it x




Lorraine and Mauriora Kaihau, Kapukeke

What does your business do? A mother and daughter team, Kapukeke is an A grade, fully registered home baking business. We offer celebration cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and other sweet treats. Kapukeke specialises in custom-designed cakes. Where every occasion is celebrated, and lifetime memories are made. For a special occasion it is important to have a cake that represents who you are! It is our job to customise your dream cake. You dream it, we create it! 

Why did you start your business? I’ve been making birthday cakes for friends and whanau for 20+ years. I was told by many that I really should start charging – and so I did 🙂

Who is your dream client? Anyone who understands that it’s not “just cake.” Those who see “cake” as a token of love and celebration of a special someone or something.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? A unicorn lol. First thing that came to mind as our most popular “animal” cake. Yes…unicorns are real 🙂

Why should someone do business with you? Both myself and my daughter have a background in people and community which I believe makes our caking journey so much more authentic and meaningful. It is not about what we want in a cake – it’s what our clients want. 

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during our period of lockdown restrictions? We are operating at full capacity with contactless sales & pick up in Levels 3-1. Operation with contactless delivery within Waiuku township only during Level 4.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? Community! Waiuku has a strong sense of community – I feel a sense of belonging where I feel supported and can rely on others. Great community spirit we have in this little humble township 🙂

What is one piece of advice that you can share with those reading this? Just do it – take the first step. The biggest thing holding us back is usually ourselves. Just believe in yourself and take the first step. It’s not about success or failure – it’s about trying and giving it your very best so that whatever the outcome you come away with no regrets. Also, surround yourself with supportive people – they will remind you that you are amazing – especially when you don’t believe you are.




Annette Piercy, Annette Piercy Pottery

What does your business do?  I make functional pottery. Each unique piece is made with love, designed to be pleasing to the eye and touch but to become a background part of special shared moments and memories created with friends and family. At the moment I am mainly making tumblers and mugs, berry bowls, dip pots and various other bowls, jugs and bud vases.

Why did you start your business? I have always had a love for ceramics and bought handmade items, both functional and sculptural to use and enjoy in my own home and as gifts. I love the craftsmanship, time and mindfulness that goes into the production of a handmade piece. Learning these skills myself has been a lifelong dream and in August 2020 after losing my beloved job in the travel industry due to Covid 19 it was the perfect opportunity for me to take the first step in my pottery journey. A real “if not now, then when?” moment. I loved it from the very first day and it wasn’t long before friends started asking if I could make them various things and also asked to buy my wares. I am a part-time potter and very much a novice but my passion has continued to blossom and I regularly receive orders for my work. I am totally blown away by the support and positive feedback I have received and very grateful to my tutor Andrea Lewer (@andreathepotter) for sharing her knowledge through lessons in her Karaka pottery shed.

Who is your dream client? If you are drawn to my creations, they make you feel happy and you would use them or think they would be ideal for a loved one, you are the perfect customer for me. I’m a believer in  getting things out of the cupboard and onto the table. While not a proponent of excess, I do believe that surrounding yourself with things you love creates a more joyous home.  Choosing a vessel that brings joy as you share a coffee with a friend, fill bowls for a shared meal, reach for a vase for freshly picked herbs and flowers; that’s the feeling I am striving to create with my pottery. I think my customers most likely feel the same way.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? A honeybee. Busily working away with raw materials from nature to transform them into something useful, beautiful and joyful.

Why should someone do business with you? Because I genuinely care about my customers and I put a lot of effort and love into each piece I make. You are buying from a one-person business; each item is made entirely by me, not in a mould or a production line but genuine small batch, locally made, wheel-thrown items.

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? Have a look at my page on Facebook  / Instagram and see if you like what you see. If you do, bear me in mind next time you are looking for a gift or need some homeware. Perhaps like my page or share it with friends who you think may like what I create or to follow along as I share my journey. I am limited with how much I can actually produce but I do diligently work through my orders.

How can someone get a hold of you/ your business (Website, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube… etc?) Find me on Facebook or Instagram on my page @annnettepiercypottery.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? I love its proximity to coastal and harbour beaches, the forest, the river and that pretty much anything you need is right here.

What is one piece of advice that you can share with those reading this?  I have a customer experience background and I just love this quote from Maya Angelou. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” If you remember this and put the customer at the centre of your business you really can’t go wrong. I also think that if you do something every day, no matter how small a thing, to work towards a goal you really can achieve incredible things.

SHARi Hurley


Little Luxe

Shari Hurley, Little Luxe

What does your business do? We specialise in Cosmetic & Medical (areola) tattooing, plus everything brow related. Brow sculpts, tint, henna, dye, as well as lash lifts and tints. I also operate Little Luxe Pro which is customised training to those looking to grow their professional and business skills, or enter the industry.

Why did you start your business? I have always wanted to make people feel good in themselves, and having the ability to inspire confidence with something as simple as a new hairstyle, or fresh brows, naturally feeds that passion.  I’ve been in the beauty industry well over a decade, working in and running top salons in Vancouver and Auckland. Through my career I’ve been fortunate enough to create brows for tv/radio personalities, write feature articles for magazine publications, and build relationships with a range of incredible people.  After years of city salons, I decided I wanted be a larger part of my beautiful local community and bring a new level of service, and treatments which weren’t available here at the time of my opening.  It has also allowed me to be more flexible around my family and maintain a work/life balance.

Who is your dream client? I honestly can’t say I have a dream client.  I’m already so blessed to have incredible clients trust me on the daily, many of whom are willing to travel from across New Zealand to little ol’ Waiuku! But the most rewarding part of my job is giving women confidence, especially to those pre and post cancer treatment.    

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? That’s a tough one lol. But I instantly thought of a peacock!  A symbol of beauty, love, and passion.  The colours also align perfectly with the business colour theme haha 

Why should someone do business with you? I truly love what I do, and have built a team with the same passion. I believe this comes across in our work and commitment to giving each client the best possible treatment each and every time. We are not a wax on wax off, or stencil tattoo type of business. Every treatment is tailored to the client.  I’m also a strong believer in supporting local, and try to give back to the community as often as possible through donations, services in salon, and recommendations to other awesome Franklin businesses. 

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? Unfortunately right now we are unable to operate until lockdown restrictions ease, but we do have an online store open for any of our favourite products like lash growth serum, brow product, collagen, and skincare. We are also taking appointments for the busy Christmas season and booking tattoos from the new year, so scheduling those in now not only makes sure you won’t miss out, it also gives us some certainty of what is to come.   

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? 100% the community and the love they have for supporting one another.  In business and life! 

What is one piece of advice that you can share with those reading this?  Spend time with the people who fill your cup, and don’t worry about the rest!  If you are passionate and authentic in how you live your life, success will come personally and professionally.




Anita Mexted, RearVision

What does your business do? I help individuals and families find out who, and where they came from and help them look to their past to see how they can move forward in their life confidently. 

Why did you start your business?  I was introduced to Family History and Research by my late Mum and as I grew up, I felt a connection and also a reflection to my own life and past family members.  I realised that there are many who do not know their History, have unanswered questions, or not know where to start. With the growing use of DNA, knowledge is now available to those that unfortunately don’t know anything and then there are those who just need a little help to guide them on their way.  I found I was meeting more and more people who needed my help and guidance and so RearVision was born.

Who is your dream client?  Anyone who is on this journey of life and who wants to connect to the past whether they know some or nothing of their Family History.  And most certainly anyone who has had their DNA results and took one look at them and thought, Who are all these people?!

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? A Goat is the first that comes to mind.  Especially our Goat Lily, she’s always finding the good stuff (mostly to eat), she will keep on prodding until she finds what she’s after and she’s always there walking beside you.

Why should someone do business with you? In my line of work, I understand that confidentiality is so important and each person’s journey of discovery is their own and I am privileged to be a part of that.  I understand the rollercoaster of emotions that come with the role and I keep my client’s up to date along the way.  I am passionate about what I do and the people I get to meet, past and present.

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions?  With the current alert levels I think it’s important that we are having conversations with our friends and families that are actively sharing our experiences with businesses and also focusing on how best to shop and support local.  I have been operating at a reduced capacity with a focus on supporting my own young family. I have been providing services to clients both here and Overseas during this time and look forward to Libraries and Archives reopening again.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? The ocean is important to me as is fresh air and Waiuku is surrounded by it.  And although we are still in Auckland, most of the time it feels at a nice distance.

What is one piece of advice that you can share with those reading this? We all have so much to give to one another, through our passions and lessons we’ve learnt.  And if you don’t know yet what you are passionate about, start by asking yourself the question.  Then have fun exploring until you find it.

Carrie harman


carrie harman creativE

Carrie Harman, Carrie Harman Creative

What does your business do? Tell stories about local businesses doing amazing things.  I create captivating content that local businesses use to attract the clients they want to work with. My speciality is visual content, particularly video, but also other visual content such as attention-grabbing social media posts and documentary style photography. 

Why did you start your business? To help local businesses tell their stories, and attract the clients or customers that they WANT to work with, without burning out and losing their passion for what they do. I love storytelling, I love shining the light on those passionate about making a difference, and I love connecting people and creating communities. There are so many local businesses doing amazing things, but they either don’t realise they are amazing, don’t know how to tell their stories in an engaging way, or don’t have the confidence to do so. That’s where I help them. 

Who is your dream client? Local businesses that need help getting the foundations of their content marketing sorted, so that when they attract their ideal clients all the information about how to do business with them is easily visible and hence the journey from interested lead, to loyal customer is as easy as possible. 

And Purpose-driven business owners who are ready to share their stories, inject some personality into their online content, and attract the clients that they want to work with. Often these are service-based professionals where relationship building is important, but it’s very hard to stand out from their competitors. I give these professionals a point of difference and make their audience feel like they already know them before even meeting them in-person.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? An Eagle. By soaring above the eagle looks at things from a different perspective, as I do when looking for businesses’ stories. The Eagle also sees the bigger picture, which is the type of thinker I am. I help businesses with their vision, and guide and support them on the path to achieve that through the use of great content.  

Why should someone do business with you? Because I genuinely care about the success of people that I work with and will do my utmost to come up with solutions that are achievable, affordable and sustainable. I only work with people and businesses that I believe in and would back myself so you can trust me to have your best interests in mind. Plus I can meet you wherever you are at, whether you are looking for someone to brainstorm ideas with, some coaching or training to upskill yourself, or someone to outsource it all to so you can get on with doing what you are great at and what you went into business to do in the first place.

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? I do a lot of my work remotely so can still offer most of my services – video editing, content creation, content planning & coaching, and DIY video training via zoom. With so many people limited to working and shopping online at the moment, it’s crucial to ensure that your online content is clearly communicating with your audience and making  it easy for them to buy from you, so get in touch if you need some pointers in this area. 

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? The quietness and the closeness of everything we need and love – shops, beaches, estaury walkways, forest trails… We’ve recently moved down here from East Auckland so I am also loving the lack of traffic and small country schools. 

What is one piece of advice that you can share with those reading this? Don’t be afraid to have a go at something that you want to try even if others have doubt you can do it. I am a bit stubborn and some of my best adventures and achievements in life have come from being determined to do something others said I couldn’t.

Steph Martin


The Goodness Grocer

Steph Martin, The Goodness Grocer

What does your business do? We supply natural, local, organic based grocery items, in our physical stores in Waiuku & Pukekohe and also online. We are also able to offer ideas or advice in store or via our social pages to customers who are needing a little help with changing some of their food choices, such as gut health, overall wellness + much more

Why did you start your business? My son was diagnosed with failure to thrive and a raft of other issues. It quickly became apparent that improving his nutritional intake would benefit him, and yet, the supermarkets in our area were seriously lacking in their supply of ‘not mucked about with’ foods. I wanted clean, natural foods for him and due to the difficulties finding these, I decided to open up the store that I would want to shop in, with the hope that others wanted to shop there too… and luckily it turned out that they did! 

Who is your dream client? All the humans, haha! Honestly though, I don’t think there is a person out there that couldn’t do with adding some more natural goodness into their diets. I love meeting people in store who are looking for some help, and they’re willing to try new things and break away some of their preconceived ideas of what they like… that’s always super fun. The most rewarding thing, is having customers come back to thank us for the help we gave them or about the improvement to their daily lives. 

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? A monkey – because they are generally pretty amazing at only eating good food and stay away from bad or dangerous foods. Also, I spend a huge amount of my week sharing my own experiences with customers while they navigate their own way, so we walk the talk, kind of like ‘monkey see, monkey do’, in the nicest possible way, people can see what I have gone through and what has worked or what hasn’t worked and they can try some of those things for themselves.

Why should someone do business with you? If they’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired we can help them feel better. If they’re looking to take some of the mental load off each week, we can deliver a fruit & vege box to their homes so it is one less thing for them to think about. We are also ethical, sustainable and eco friendly. By shopping with us, they know they’re casting a vote towards a healthier Earth, and what kind of world they want to live in.

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? Locals can pop in at all alert levels and shop with us. It’s the small purchases that really add up, people stopping by to grab milk, eggs, some chocolate etc that makes a huge difference. Signing up for a weekly fruit & vege box is super helpful, as we can buy more produce, knowing for sure that a certain amount is already spoken for with regular boxes going out the door.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? The geographical location is pretty hard to beat. Not too hot in Summer, not freezing in Winter, close to the ocean, harbour, river, forest etc and also easy enough to get to the Airport and mountains (when we can anyway). 

What is one piece of advice that you can share with those reading this?I was once told to remember that every expert once knew nothing. I think that really helps to remind ourselves that if you want to be an expert in something, just start, that’s how all the other experts came to be. None of them were born knowing about their field. So go for gold, don’t hold back and take a leap of faith.

Sandi Carter


Orangelime consulting LtD

Sandi Carter, OrangeLime Consulting Ltd

What does your business do? We are consultants in Global Freight Forwarding, specialising in providing solutions for users of CargoWise software

Why did you start your business? It was a progression. I previously worked in customs clearance for an International Freight Forwarder before working for a software company who provides the software used by around 95% of the NZ logistics industry.  An opportunity came up to establish the service partnership in NZ to help those in the forwarding industry get more from their CW software.  

Who is your dream client?  That’s a toughie as we work in a few areas.  Productivity is a journey and each client comes to us at different stages of their journey.  Ideally the sooner in the journey we are involved the better.   It certainly is a lot quicker to show someone the right way to do something than it is to break a habit.   Also, a client who is willing to honestly share a clear and concise outline of what they want to achieve is the ultimate.   We work with our customers on individual solutions, and even though our customers all work in the same areas using the same software there are variables that mean what may work for your competitor isn’t necessarily going to be the right solution for you.    

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why?  I kind of want to say an older golden retriever.   Loyal and there with you.

Why should someone do business with you? All of our consultants are from the logistics industry and so understand the challenges our customers face and are fluent in industry terminology.   We love our customers to get the most out of the tools they already have in place, even if sometimes this means asking the hard questions.  Behind the scenes we have consultants around the world who between them have seen most everything and this gives our local team support or a sounding board when working on more complex solutions.   

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? At present under Auckland alert levels we can’t travel onsite and have had to cancel this year’s workshops.  Sharing our details to anyone you know in the logistics arena, helping to get our name out to those who may need us (now or in the future) will help them and us.   Under alert level 3 we certainly can still assist people remotely and I’m soon rereleasing my regular tips on getting more from CW software, anyone who wants to subscribe to these please reach out to me by email.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? The people. There are some really amazing people in the area. There is a real feel that if you need something there is  someone here will help point you in the right direction (if they can’t actually help you themselves).

What is one piece of advice that you can share with those reading this? Live a life true to yourself.

sharon griffiths 


inspired nutrition

Sharon Griffiths, Inspired Nutrition

What does your business do? Helps people with nutrition, specialising in weight loss

Why did you start your business? Having struggled myself with my relationship with food I wanted to help others to achieve their goals and learn about food and the way they would feel having the ability to do this. 

Who is your dream client? I would love to help anyone who is willing to give it a go. 

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? Probably a Labrador, they seem to be hungry and need help to keep fit and healthy.  

Why should someone do business with you? To keep them accountable and learn that food is for fuel. There is so much to learn and I love all my clients stories and what they achieve,  

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? I haven’t been able to work in the levels we are at. I have just started a online challenge but I prefer one on one consults so I can really connect with my clients and give them my full attention.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? Community 

What is one piece of advice  that you can share with those reading this? You must always believe in yourself and never give up 

Jenny laTto


Jenny laTto – artist, blogger, trader

Jenny Latto, Artist, Blogger, Trader

What does your business do? I’m an artist, blogger and second hand goods trader. I create art in various mediums and often upcycle but I’m also passionate about helping others find their creative bone. I have some DIY kits available and will have online courses in the near future.

Why did you start your business? This particular business I started early 2020 but really moved into doing more creative things due to the pandemic and ultimately its where my passions lie.

Who is your dream client? Someone who appreciates my quirky art or someone who wants to discover their creativity. One of things I hear a lot from people that they don’t have a creative bone, I would love to help dispel that myth, because we all have a creative bone.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? A Tui, so colourful and the closer you look the more interesting the colours. They also can be aggressive and defensive but one of the most common pollinators of flowers. Maybe I’m a pollinator of creativity! Also Kiwiana features a lot in my art.

Why should someone do business with you? To support a local small business in buying my art. Or because I understand what it’s like not to believe you have the ability to do something. I will be your biggest champion.

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? I have a wide range of items suitable as gifts including some art that is synonymous with the area. Or if they’re into vintage and retro goods I have a number of items on the website ready for sale. All available via contactless pick up if need be. Or perhaps support me in terms of signing up for my newsletter or following me on social media.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? I love living in a small town and especially love that you can walk down the street and say hi to people.

What is one piece of advice  that you can share with those reading this? Is there something you’ve always wanted to do? Start now. Find a way to make it happen.

Kathy Chase


kathy chase wellbeing

Kathy Chase, Kathy Chase Wellbeing

What does your business do? I provide a range of wellbeing services including:

Myofascial Release Therapy (MFR)A hands-on technique similar to massage and often referred to as the body work equivalent of yoga. It is gentle and works on releasing tension in the soft tissue (fascia). I find this technique really effective for managing long term aches and pains, it also helps restore movement and flexibility. I see people experiencing pain and reduced movement, due to stress, poor postural habits, scars and long term conditions, such as TMJ (jaw pain), fibromyalgia, plantar fasciitis, endometriosis, headaches/migraines, carpal tunnel etc. 

 Scar Release Therapy: I can’t make the scar disappear, but I can certainly make improvements to the sensation, texture, discomfort, tightness and often the appearance of scar tissue. It is a gentle technique, so subtle that I apply the technique using a finger tip. I work with scars from injuries or from surgeries e.g. C-sections, mastectomy, orthopedic procedures.

Pre and Postnatal WellbeingFor mums-to-be I provide one-on-one pregnancy yoga classes and pregnancy relaxation massage. For mums with bubs, I teach infant massage and postnatal yoga for coffee groups. My hands-on therapies include a C-section scar release package and Myofascial Release Therapy to help with those postnatal aches and pains.

Why did you start your business? I was determined to create a business that I enjoyed and that gave me the flexibility to have lots of time with my twin daughters.  I  have a passion for helping people to find gentle ways to manage pain, discomfort and stress.  I literally started having only a few hours a week, when my girls were very young. I created Relaxabub teaching infant massage and yoga. Over the years I’ve increased my hours and services, now trading as  ‘Kathy Chase Wellbeing’. I primarily concentrate on hands-on services from my home based clinic, however I continue to teach yoga one on one and for private groups. I also teach infant massage on behalf of Plunket and regularly give talks about infant massage and postnatal wellbeing for the Franklin Parents Centre.

Who is your dream client? I love clients who feel committed to restoring everyday comfort and freedom of movement. Alongside my hands-on therapies, I will provide yoga based movement, postural tips and self myofascial release techniques to help people get the best outcome. My dream scar release client is simply someone who takes that brave step to address a scar that really worries them.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? The word gentle is really important within my business. I pride myself on powerful techniques, without the pain. So I’d say the gentle giant, the Panda.

Why should someone do business with you? I bring over twenty years of health and wellbeing industry experience. I  use my entire tool box to create services that are gentle, yet effective. Honesty is really important to me, if I feel my services are not benefiting you, I’ll work together with you to find the best next step. 

I love creating connections with other businesses in Waiuku, so I am more than happy to refer people on and sing the praises of products and services I love. 

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? My services are predominantly close contact and considered complementary therapies. I am unable to provide services currently, but need to keep my business visible for when I can get going again. People can help by sending reviews if they have benefited from my services, signing up for my newsletter and commenting/following on my Instagram and Facebook pages. If you know someone who may have an interest in my services, please let them know about me. 

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? I love going to Sandspit, with my girls. 

What is one piece of advice  that you can share with those reading this? Take a moment each day to appreciate the little things.

michelle keenan


michelle keenan yoga &wellness 

Michelle - Michelle Keenan Wellness Blog Image+logo
What does your business do?  I have two core services – I help busy people move from stressed and anxious to calm and resilient, with online yoga, meditation and education; and I work with businesses and organisations at a company-wide level to support them in caring for the health and wellbeing of their key asset – their people!

Why did you start your business?  It’s a short answer – yoga and meditation have helped me profoundly in managing stress and anxiety, and feeling calmer and happier, and I want to help more people get out of that out-of-control feeling and move into a greater sense of joy and ease in their lives.

Who is your dream client? I have two – the first is people who are ready to do something to manage their stress and overwhelm, and support their mental health, but who think they don’t have time, or don’t know where to start. The second is organisations who value their people and the contribution they make, and recognise that they have a responsibility to look after their staff and support them with the tools they need to manage workplace stress and be happy and healthy.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? Oh my gosh, that’s a tough one haha! The first thing to come to mind was a unicorn, for two reasons! 1. Everyone loves unicorns, and everyone can love yoga and meditation, if they learn how to do it, and see how great they feel. And 2. Yoga helps you be more empathetic, accepting, and kinder to yourself and others – and I’m pretty sure unicorns are kind and accepting of everyone! 

Why should someone do business with you? So many people think they can’t do yoga or meditate – they think they’re not flexible enough, or their mind is too busy, or they think  you need to do hours each week to make a difference, and they simply don’t have time. I teach these practices in an accessible, achievable way so that everyone can get the benefits – feeling calmer and less anxious; sleeping better; having more patience; improving focus and creativity; having less aches and pains. 

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? My online memberships aren’t affected by covid – all classes are available on-demand, on any device, so students can practice at home whenever it suits.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? I love the community spirit here in Waiuku. People are friendly and welcoming, and always willing to lend a hand.

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? In a field full of horses, be a unicorn!  Anthony Hopkins famously said “What other people think of me is none of my business”. There will always be people who don’t like you, or the way you do things, or what you stand for, so it’s pointless trying to fit in with the crowd, or to try to be anything or anyone other than yourself. Be who you are, do things your way, even (especially!) if it’s unique and different, and trust that the Universe has your back.

louise deed


indeed we can 

Louise Deed, InDeed We Can

What does your business do? We provide digital marketing help that is grounded in intention and purpose. We help small businesses to use their time, energy, and hard-earned money wisely, when marketing their business online. Together with my team of digital marketing specialists we’re here to support you to work in a better way. A way that doesn’t involve you burning the candle at both ends. Or drowning in overwhelm. We’ll help you implement your marketing strategy or plan, manage your social media, email marketing and help you create professional social videos. Our WordPress website design and maintenance will help you get the results you want from your website.

Why did you start your business? I know all too well the highs and lows that come with being a business owner. I’ve been a small business owner since 2006. Starting with an Eco-Baby Store, shortly after my daughter was born, then creating a supportive mum-community online. For me the desire to have flexibility with my work and be there for my children was my ‘why’. Like many other mums in business, it’s been a juggle along the way, but worth it. Through conversations with other small business owners I realised many of them needed help with admin and marketing activities that I had a natural affinity for. So, in 2014 my virtual assistant business was born and I sold and closed my other businesses. Over time clients wanted us to spend more time on digital marketing activities and less on their admin tasks. So we niched and now InDeed We Can is a team of digital marketing specialists who love to support small business owners to thrive online.

Who is your dream client? My dream client is a small business owner who is passionate about what they do and is ready to take action to achieve their dreams. Someone who is out of the early stages of business and is clear on their vision and goals. They have a marketing strategy OR are willing to work with us to develop one and ready to invest in a purposeful online presence and an ongoing relationship with us to get results. This dream client understands the value and power of outsourcing their digital marketing activities and they have a strong moral compass. And they understand online marketing success is a long-term game, not an overnight success story.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? If my business were an animal, it would be a Monkey. Monkeys develop profound bonds and have great compassion for each other and their day-to-day existence is not all work – they love to play as well. This is a great symbolism for our values and what is important to the InDeed We Can team as a whole – creating long lasting relationships with our clients, understanding their individual needs and giving them the freedom to spend more time with their family and friends.

Why should someone do business with you? We’re a team of digital marketing specialists who help small business owners to spend less time online and more time serving clients exceptionally well. Our goal is simple: To help you show up consistently online, with high-quality content that sparks meaningful conversations and build relationships with the right people. When you’re a small business owner it can feel overwhelming and frustrating not being able to do all the things you set out to achieve each day. Often it’s our own business that falls to the bottom of the to-do list. We put our clients first because, well, they’re paying us. Marketing is usually the first juggling ball to drop. “I’ll do it tomorrow” we think. But tomorrow becomes the next day, the next week. Then the guilt of not being visible sets in. But time and headspace keep you stuck. Which is annoying because you’re smart enough to know you NEED to keep putting yourself out there to bring in new leads and new clients. So you can keep making money and growing your business. It’s right about this time that you start thinking. “I’m sick of this. I need help…” Which is why you’re here. So, let us help.

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? I have been so incredibly lucky that my business has always been remote, that I have been able to keep trading as normal, keeping my team members and clients safe. During this time, if you would like to support us, we can chat over the phone, video call or email.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? Waiuku is a great place to live because it’s close to the city yet far enough away to be rural and close to the rugged west coast. Feels like it is the best of both worlds. 

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? Surround yourself with a great support network.

zelda thompson


landlord’s assistant

Zelda Thomas, Landlords Assistant

What does your business do? Full service and pay-as-you-go Property Management.

Why did you start your business? To have a better work/ life balance and work around our 3 year old.

Who is your dream client? Someone who is not only passionate about property, but passionate in providing a good quality living standard for tenants.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? Lion, fierce but fair.

Why should someone do business with you? I don’t take nonsense from tenants and I care enough to manage your property like my own.

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? At level 3 we are trading as normal but the tenants need to give permission to do maintenance and inspections.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? The family feel and that everyone is helping everyone 

What is one piece of advice  that you can share with those reading this? Not all business is good business, surround yourself with likeminded people. 

Stacey wallis


inquisitive by nature

Stacey Wallis, Inquisitive By Nature

What does your business do? Inquisitive by Nature is all about natural and sustainable toys for young tamariki and early learning centre environments. We love to encourage early learning through play and through open-ended toys, meaning toys that are versatile and have many uses. The only limit is the child’s imagination!

Why did you start your business? My husband and I started Inquisitive by Nature 2 years ago, to be able to offer affordable and high quality toys and resources. Our young children were starting to accumulate quite a collection of plastic toys which are created with one use only. Toys that buzz, whir and move. These toys would hold our children’s attention for a small amount of time and soon be discarded. In a world full of plastic, we wanted to offer an alternative option for toys that are sustainably and ethically made, as well as encouraging children’s imagination and natural curiosity.

Who is your dream client? Our products are super popular in the early learning centre environment. ECE professionals love that toys like ours have many uses and encourage the use of imagination and discovery.  

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? If Inquisitive by Nature was an animal, it’d be a bee! Naturally inquisitive and just like young children, always busy going about their work.

Why should someone do business with you? We’re a small, local business that loves to offer an alternative to plastic toys. Our toys encourage your children’s imagination and help to set the foundations of their early learning journey. It really is about learning through play!

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? We’re incredibly fortunate that we are able to continue to send out orders from our home office, in a contactless way during level three. If you’re thinking about a more sustainable Christmas with toys that spark imagination, please take a look at what we can offer.

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? I love the local, small town and community feel. We’re certainly a small town with big opinions, but when it really counts, the Waiuku community are ready to rally behind its local people and support one-another. Plus, it’s a great place to raise our young children, with many natural treasures such as beaches and forests nearby.

What is one piece of advice  that you can share with those reading this? When choosing toys for your littlies this Christmas, hunt for toys that will stand the test of time and provide endless creative and imaginative opportunities. There are many small New Zealand businesses that offer some very well-made and unique toys that will continue to spark imagination and discovery for your children for years to come.

shannon conaglen


chaos & confidence

Shannon Conaglen, Chaos & Confidence

What does your business do? I help mums in business create more time so they can grow their business without the chaos. Running a business is no small task. It requires commitment, focus, resilience, and a positive mindset. And being a Mum? Well, of course, you must have endless patience, be flexible, organised, adaptable, and calm. While we all have those qualities some of the time, it can all change when we are juggling our role as a mum and running a business. Cue the chaos, stress, anxiety and overwhelm. Sometimes, it can all just be too much, and you don’t know how to make everything work. That’s where I come in: every success story features side-kicks and cheerleaders, and yours can too. Instead of trying to push on trying to survive the chaos, you can get the support you need to calm the chaos and be intentional with your time, even when overwhelm threatens. With the right guidance and useful strategies from someone who’s been there, done that, you can calm the chaos and gently but firmly take control of your life.

Why did you start your business? To help mums, like myself, who are raising their family and running a business. The seed for Chaos and Confidence began to sprout in 2016 when I had the idea to launch a blog about the challenges of being a mum to four boys and running a business. From that little sprout grew the vision to help women in business navigate the often-chaotic world of being a businesswoman and mum. I understand, all too well, the pressure we can feel to do everything (and do it well), to be everywhere and to help everyone, and the guilt that can come when we focus on ourselves.

Who is your dream client? I love working with women in business, in particular mums in business. Often they’ve started making progress in their business and gaining traction, and they’re feeling stretched in all directions as the reality of everything involved sets in – life is chaos.

If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? Ooooh, this is an interesting one! What pops into my mind immediately is a cheetah. Hmmm. It can spend time moving slowly or seemingly completely still, but there is a lot going on inside, as it observes everything around it. Then, it takes action, moving towards what it wants – that goal it can see. When it achieves the goal – SUCCESS! If it doesn’t, the cheetah does not give up. It takes time to rest and observe its surroundings once again, then tries again and again until it gets what it aims for.

Why should someone do business with you? Working with me is like having a best friend in your business. With a husband, four boys, winding down one business and growing Chaos and Confidence, I know the juggle and the chaos that can become overwhelming. By working with me, you get the support and encouragement you need from someone telling you what you need to hear. 

How can our local community support you RIGHT NOW during this period of lockdown restrictions? It’s almost business as usual for me here, as I’ve always worked from home – the only difference, really, is the occasional noise from the kids in the background as they do their online learning. 

What’s one thing you love about Waiuku? The beach! Karioitahi is awesome for blowing out the cobwebs and stretch my legs after sitting at the computer. The boys can go and explore or cool down in the waves in summer. Even better, I’ve got no phone signal out there so, for the time we’re out there it’s almost like being on holiday. 

What is one piece of advice (life or business) that you can share with those reading this? I’ll let you in on a little secret: the calm you are desperately seeking is already there – you just have to know how to tap into it.

Seeing so many successful local female business owners in such a small township is inspirational! And this isn’t even a quarter of them! We could have profiled many more (and maybe we will do in future articles…). While varied and diverse in nature, the three things these 16 business women have in common is the desire to make a difference, the flexibility their businesses allow for family life, and the connections they have formed with their community. 

If any of these businesses captivate and resonate with you, get in touch with them via their links below their photos and know you’ll be supporting a local. 

This feature was compiled and edited by:

Carrie Harman

Carrie Harman

Always a keen storyteller, Carrie specialises in shining the light on local business owners doing awesome things. Carrie is the founder of Carrie Harman Creative.




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