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Pure Peony a blooming success for entrepreneurs

Pure Peony a blooming success for Nelson Tasman entrepreneurs

Pure Peony, the unique skin repair range from New Zealand’s first and only organic white peony root farm, will be officially unveiled this month.

Following the debut of Dot Kettle and Georgia Richards’ ‘Dove River Peonies’ range at the Nelson Saturday Market in November 2014 and its subsequent success, the entrepreneurs are launching their brand new look and environmentally conscious packaging.

“Our new look and new packaging better reflects our values and the benefits of our organic remedial skin repair range,” says Dot. “We started this business because we care – about the people we created these products for, the land we sustainably and organically grow our peonies on, and the products we create here in Nelson, using natural ingredients.

“Our commitment to the environment determines the way we farm and the packaging we use. We are phasing out plastic – our skin repair cremes now come in glass pots and bottles and are shipped to customers in home compostable bags and cardboard boxes. New recyclable tubes made from sugar cane are on their way for customers who find glass either too heavy or impractical.”

Five years ago, Dot and Georgia discovered the skin calming, anti-bacterial properties of peony root while researching methods of skin relief for their three young sons suffering from problem skin caused by eczema. Dot and Georgia were searching for an effective natural alternative to prolonged steroid use, and they found it, in the most unlikely of places – in the roots of the peonies growing on their own farm.

At that time, they were growing peonies for the export cut flower market. They discovered that while peonies are arguably one of the world’s most beautiful flowers, their roots are truly miraculous.

Peony root has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and its healing properties have been backed up by scientific research. Partnering with local soap and natural products manufacturers, and with the assistance of Cawthron Institute, Dot and Georgia developed their unique skin repair range.

Dot and Georgia believe that being based in Nelson Tasman was instrumental to the initial success of their brand. “Having local partners and expertise at our doorstep was critical to our early success and is still important to our growth today.”

They also recognise the contribution from their more recent successful application to be a SheEO funded venture. SheEO is an initiative that backs women entrepreneurs and provides access to venture capital, coaching and connections.

Dot and Georgia showcased the new brand at the SheEO Summit in Auckland on 8 April where they were invited to speak about the impact of SheEO on their business.

“Through SheEO we’ve been able to call on some of New Zealand’s top business women for advice, connections, and support. It’s amazing. As well as the help with re-branding and re-packaging, we’ve had help re-scoping our scientific proof project.”

Callaghan Innovation completed a scientific literature review and analysis and the summary they prepared is now on the Pure Peony website. That review documents a large body of work to support the anti-inflammatory usage and action of peony extracts.

Dot and Georgia continue to work closely with Cawthron Institute which tests their root to confirm the level of the natural active ingredient found in some varieties of peonies. Each batch of root is tested to confirm potency and each batch of creme is tested again to confirm safety.

“We are able to confidently say that Pure Peony combines science and the powerful ingredients of peony root to help heal problematic skin quickly,” says Dot.


High resolution images are available on request

For more information go to:

Media enquiries:
Sandrine Marrassé
021 170 6761

About Pure Peony:
Pure Peony (formally Dove River Peonies) was founded and launched in 2014 by Dot Kettle and Georgia Richards, with their first sales outlet being a stand at the Nelson Saturday Market. The couple had moved from Wellington to the Nelson Tasman region, leaving busy lives as Wellington executives, as they longed for a lifestyle that allowed them to spend more time with their two boys (plus one more on the way). Dot was a speechwriter and advisor for former Prime Minister Helen Clark before working for the State Services Commission. Georgia was an IT consultant. Dot was CEO of the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce before leaving to work full time in the business a couple of years ago.

Pure Peony is based in Dovedale alongside the Dove River, on a 100 acre lifestyle block with an 100+ year old house and a beautiful view of the Kahurangi Range from the peony fields. The peonies are farmed using organic practices. As parents of three boys with severe eczema Dot and Georgia had been unable to find a non-steroidal solution for their children’s skin conditions caused by serious allergy issues, even after consulting a wide range of expensive specialists. After researching the healing properties of the white peony root the couple embarked on formulating their own peony soap and skincare using peony root.

Just five years later, Pure Peony has developed into an award-winning business in its own right, with Dot and Georgia producing and selling crèmes and soaps for people with sensitive skin caused by eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis or very dry skin and for those without specific skin conditions who enjoy their product range. Pure Peony products are on sale in more than 40 outlets around New Zealand and are available via their online store and are exported internationally. White Peony Root is used in Chinese Herbal Medicine to treat hormonal imbalance, inflammation and has antibacterial and healing properties. Their products also contain avocado oil and cocoa butter. Both have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that hydrate and moisturise skin without irritating it.


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