In the early morning hours, a young girl wakes crying with painful eczema, and her mother runs to find her daughter’s delicate skin bleeding.
It's a common story, and with 15% of our tamariki affected by eczema, too many Kiwi parents know the agony of watching their child live with ongoing pain, cracked and seeping skin, harsh rashes and skin sensitivity.
This mother, like many others, began a long search for a way to ease her daughter's discomfort and heal her skin. Hundreds of hours of research into how eczema is treated around the world led her home again to her beloved grandmother's advice and the world of Rongoā (traditional Māori medicine). Michele found information on how Māori had used native New Zealand Kawakawa (a relative of the pacific Kava shrub) for centuries to treat skin conditions, and began a mission to formulate an effective, easy to use herbal balm.
She blended Kawakawa extract with natural oils and butters to create the now hugely popular Frankie Apothecary Kawakawa Repair Balm. Using it first on her own daughter's fragile skin, Michele saw healing begin and the eczema disappear within a week. Friends asked for jars, and Frankie Apothecary was created to meet the blossoming demand for this natural, effective remedy for eczema.
Te Kete Matauranga - A Basket of Knowledge
A natural evolution began, centered around understanding the miraculous qualities of the native Kawakawa shrub. Nicknamed the pharmacy of the forest, Kawakawa was used traditionally by Māori for toothache, rheumatism, and skin conditions. Kawakawa also makes an excellent immunity boosting tea – just add a few leaves, ginger and honey to boiling water. (Note, pregnant women should only use Kawakawa externally).
With laboratory testing scientists have demonstrated that Kawakawa has a range of natural chemicals which have some incredible effects. These include pain-blocker Myristicin; Lignins which are powerful antioxidants; antimicrobial and analgesic properties useful for reducing inflammation caused by skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and rashes; and anti-inflammatory and immuno-suppressant Diayangambin which can help with anti-immune disorders like rheumatism and psoriasis.
Beginning with the central Kawakawa Repair Balm, a journey of discovery and creation unfolded to provide a range of bath, body and hair care for lovers of natural products, and owners of sensitive skin.
Delving into the wisdom of Rongoā has been a journey home for both Michele, and her successor Georgina (Ngāti Porou), as they follow the paths of their ancestors and share the benefits of their learning with others.
Bringing calm and comfort to the lives of countless Kiwi children is a huge motivator to keep creating effective natural products. The Frankie team regularly receive the before and after pictures of the beautiful pepi who have found Frankie and healed their skin, or get a late night email from a parent who has seen their child sleep soundly for the first time in weeks.
A natural body care range created in Aotearoa
As children with eczema often can't tolerate standard commercial sunblocks with chemical filters, Frankie's natural sunscreen was the next to be developed, allowing Michele's daughters to safely enjoy the beaches in summer and Georgina's daughter to play on the snowy slopes in winter with her young skin shielded from the glare. Formulated without synthetics, the sunscreen contains the soothing goodness of Kawakawa infused oil along with the protective properties of zinc to deliver a moisture barrier, an effective all natural SPF 35+ sun barrier, and even a bug repellent effect from the Kawakawa!
A Kawakawa Body Oil was created for use right after showers, or baths enriched with protective skin repairing Colloidal Oat Bath Soaks or Natural Epsom Salts. Cleansing Bars with skin nourishing chlorophyll brought New Zealand a new alternative to harsh soaps with synthetic fragrances.
Breathe Easy Balm was developed to help children with respiratory challenges through winter colds and congestion, and clear the heads of tired parents along the way. The sweet Frankie Lip Therapy Balm with Kawakawa and spearmint nourishes and protects lips from winter winds and summer chapping, and is safe for sensitive skin.
Zero Waste Solid Shampoo Bars & Conditioners
Hair care was a new adventure, so when the first reviews flooded in it was so exciting! The Frankie hair care range delivers moisturising conditioner bars, and cleansing hair and scalp care with the solid shampoo bars - like everything else in our range, the hair care bars are gentle and soothing.
Long lasting and light on the earth, these carefully pH balanced bars smell delicious, are easy to use, and leave hair light, clean and healthy.
The Frankie story is far from complete
We are constantly looking at ways to bring useful, natural, gentle products to the people that need them. Our spirit of discovery and scientific methodology mean we will continue to search for, and refine, skin and hair products that will make life easier for the many people on eczema journeys - and to all of you looking for more natural ways to live in our beautiful world!
Thank you for joining us on our quest and supporting our work. We appreciate every one of you!