Frankie Apothecary bloomed from simple beginnings as lawyer and mother, Michele Wilson, urgently searched for a way to soothe her daughter’s painful eczema. Heartbroken tears and bloodstained sheets drove Michele to spend hundreds of hours on global research - a journey which led her back to her own Māori heritage, and Rongoā medicine. She created a natural Kawakawa Balm and within the week, her daughter’s precious skin cleared, and became blemish free.
It’s an inspiring story, and yet, the motivation and passion that drove Michele to build Frankie Apothecary into a thriving business and household name across New Zealand stemmed from more than her burning desire to bring relief to whanau across the country.
“I’m absolutely passionate about Māori innovation and Māori women succeeding in business” says Michele, who is of Tainui and Ngāti Paoa descent, “and often the most effective way to support a movement is to actively participate in it!
"The truth is Māori are and always have been innovators. Our Tupuna were innovators and acts of history such as colonisation have meant Māori have either stopped innovating or have lost the confidence or ability to know how to utilise their innovations in a profitable way that will help them and their whanau. I wanted to grow Frankie Apothecary into a thriving, profitable enterprise, firstly to bring families relief from eczema, but also to add to the impressive number of businesses headed by wahine Māori.”
In order to fulfill her goal, Michele has decided to pass the baton on, while directing the full force of her energies to her new venture, period underwear and to coaching other wahine in business.
That's right. From 1 June, there will be a new owner of Frankie Apothecary - another beautiful Māori Wahine.
Last year saw Michele and business partner Kylie James, creator of Kai Carrier, launch New Zealand’s first period proof underwear line, I am Eva to unprecedented success. Their Kickstarter campaign reached double the start up target as Kiwi women opted in to crowdfunding a homegrown brand, and initial sales enabled the team to launch a second style, with more developments underway.
Already I am Eva has captured a massive gap in the market for convenient, planet friendly period care, and Michele wants to dedicate herself to this new venture.
“With I am Eva, women can manage their flow so easily – no single use, plastic-heavy products needed” says Michele, noting that a single sanitary pad contains as much plastic as a supermarket shopping bag. She continues “research suggests that New Zealand women send over 350 million single-use pads and tampons to landfill every year. That’s not good, from a sustainability perspective, or from a cost perspective. Women are expected to spend $16,000 in a lifetime on period care.”
Michele explains that period underwear are incredibly versatile and effective: “I am Eva use slimmer layers to capture more flow than other brands – and they provide a cost effective, comfortable way to manage periods. They are perfect for women who for cultural reasons, don’t want to insert period products, and ideal for teens, but we believe that any woman will enjoy the freedom of using just period underwear, or appreciate the extra reassurance of an extra leak-proof layer!”
We wish Frankie's new owner all the best and look forward to seeing her bright future with Frankie Apothecary evolve!
Our lovely Frankie Apothecary family can rest assured - you can enjoy high quality products, containing the same incredible Kawakawa oil as always. This will continue to be organic, wild harvested, and naturally produced in Mangawhai using the same high-quality extraction techniques by Michele's whanau.
If you would like to benefit from Michele's business coaching and consultancy then feel free to reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nāku noa, nā,Michele Wilson