Kaitoke Wilds founder Felicitas Weisbach. Photo / Supplied

Introducing Kaitoke Wilds, The Off-The-Grid Skincare Brand On Great Barrier Island

Felicitas Weisbach creates essential oils and natural skincare in her solar-powered studio on Great Barrier Island

Leaving city life to build a new future on Aotea/Great Barrier Island sounds like a dream. For Felicitas Weisbach it has come true, along with starting Kaitoke Wilds, her essential oils and natural skincare business. She and her partner share care of their young son; she works part-time at the island’s radio station and he serves on the local board.

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Felicitas, who worked in social media while in Auckland, now lives off the grid and sells at markets and online. A long-time interest in aromatherapy first saw her “tailoring to what I needed myself” before realising her remedies had wider appeal.

It’s been tough juggling the time-consuming tasks of making the oils, seeking quality ingredients and plastic-free packaging and even weighing the ethics of being a company which, from an island base, inevitably involves import/export. Felicitas admits to working through a mini crisis, but buoyed by a loyal following of local customers dropping in for refills she is forging ahead.

Setting up a small solar-powered studio separate from home was an important step. On top of the essential oils, she now makes gentle solar-infused products using medicinal herbs and flowers in a healing kawakawa oil base.

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She has tracked down artisan growers across New Zealand, whereas with essential oils, only a limited range originates here.

“Kaitoke Wilds Forager’s Collection was born of the yearning to create something magic which was truly 100 per cent Aotearoa,” she says.

Ingredients are organic, spray-free or wild harvested, then dried and blended in micro-batches. “My vision is to create a network of growers, to encourage locally grown and produced… to have the smallest possible carbon footprint.”

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