Member spotlight - Anihana, the company redefining me time

The vibrant, fun packaging of Anihana is likely a familiar sight in your local supermarket isles or in your bathroom. However, it’s the origins of Anihana you may not know. It was while Anihana founder Sophie Cooper was 8 months pregnant that she went home to her husband Aden and jokingly suggested buying the soap factory her boss was selling. With Aden onboard, their journey with Anihana began.

“A few months later we had a new baby and business, so it was a challenging period of lessons and learning two brand new roles” reminisced Sophie.

For the initial two years they operated as a contract manufacturer producing products for Sophie’s former boss and other small gift shops in New Zealand under the name Ahhh. But, while looking into rebranding to make the products more fun and aligned with their personality, a name change was suggested. From that moment Anihana was born.

The name has strong family ties to husband Aden’s mother and their daughter. “It's really special to us because it kind of connects my journey being pregnant and then when we changed the name Aden also joined the business full time as well, so it has a really strong family connection” says Sophie. While it wasn’t initially on the cards for them to rename the business, it was when they made the change that they saw the business “go crazy”. From 250 stores in New Zealand only, they are now stocked throughout 8,000 New Zealand and Australian retailers and are breaking into the US market.

Bringing sustainability to supermarket stores

Their commitment to making products both sustainable and accessible, particularly for busy mums, is a core part of the Anihana ethos. "Our main mission now is to give people that much needed 'me time,' a simple moment of relaxation," Sophie emphasises. Sustainability comes naturally to them, thanks to ethically sourced natural ingredients and eco-friendly packaging.

Anihana started their product range with soaps and bath bombs but quickly expanded. They became the first shampoo bars to be ranged in New Zealand grocery stores and now offer a full range of bathroom essentials plus some little luxuries like shower steamers. Breaking into the grocery sector marked their first encounter with barcodes. It was at this point that they turned to GS1 NZ as their go-to source for barcodes and help with applying these to their products. GS1 NZ played a role in supporting Anihana and their journey to enter the retail market on supermarket shelves. As Sophie mentions, "The engagement team just went above and beyond to help us." As part of their membership package, Anihana received barcode verification for several of their products to get them on their way and ensure that their barcodes would be scannable at checkout. Being a local organisation connected globally, GS1 NZ has been able to provide the support Anihana needed as they apply barcodes to their products and export them to Australian and US markets.