Tahi, a 100% natural oil blends skincare brand, is boldly embarking on a mission to reconnect skin with the earth, embracing simplicity and oneness with nature.
“As people, we are strong. We grow, develop, and achieve greatness. But along the way, useful traditions have been lost. What was once simple has become complicated,” says Jackie Lee, the visionary behind Tahi.
Tahi’s guiding ethos is “we are one,” or Kotahi Tātou. Lee emphasises the profound connection between inner thoughts and external skin health, highlighting the link to nature.
“Tahi was built on a desire to help people see that their relationship with nature is what will heal them. We believe that by slowing down, it can be simple to be sustainable and take better care of our beautiful environment.”
All of Tahi’s ingredients are 100% natural, some made by Lee and others locally sourced. Her oil products are delivered in a glass bottle, using as little waste packaging as possible, says Lee.
Each oil in the Tahi range is crafted from plant extracts found in native New Zealand forests, embodying the brand’s commitment to natural ingredients.
The journey began in 2016 when Lee, residing in Auckland, received financial support from her parents to start the business. She embarked on this entrepreneurial adventure without a concrete plan, but with determination and a thirst for knowledge.
“Putting myself through my own little business degree in a way, I had no idea what I was doing. I went on the Companies Office register, something I had never done before. I got no professional advice even though I could have. I just learned so much in this process,” she recalls.
Lee’s experimentation with various blends, labels, and bottles led her to create products using essential oils such as almond oil and other carrier oils as a base, combined with mānuka or lavender essential oil extracts. Her journey also involved delving into herbal and plant medicines.
“I just researched what those plants had been used for in the past by Māori and others and why, and experimented with them myself – how they felt together, how they smelled together, and the mixture of different things that can benefit people’s skin.”
Despite the challenges, Lee persevered, largely navigating the journey alongside her family and Nathan Christy, her partner. Her passion for creating simple skincare drove her forward.
“I couldn’t believe how simple that was and how effective it seemed to be, not only for my skin but also for my mind.”
Over the next six years, she steadily built the brand. Her mother, Sue Lee, joined the team recently – handling orders and marketing the business from Christchurch. Meanwhile Lee focuses on the production and social media side of things in Karamea, a town on the West Coast of the South Island.
One of Tahi’s standout products is Marino, an aromatherapy wellness oil composed of organic sweet almond oil, organic lavender essential oil, and mānuka essential oil. Marino serves as a versatile blend, suitable for facial cleansing, moisturising, aromatherapy massages, baths, and soothing minor burns and irritations.
Tahi also harnesses the power of native New Zealand plants, including Kawakawa and Harakeke (flax), which hold significant value in Māori culture.
Tūhono – another offering, is a soothing face and body oil designed for sensitive skin. This light-textured oil blends Kawakawa-infused organic sweet almond oil, harakeke extract, koromiko extract, kowhai extract, and mānuka essential oil. It serves multiple purposes, from cleansing and moisturising to soothing sunburns and insect repellent.
Lee acknowledges the resilience inherited from her parents and ancestors being the source of strength for her. As an entrepreneur, she recognises that business and people management can be challenging, something she’s experienced as a businesswoman. The good thing is that it gets easier with practice, she says.
The reason for her success thus far has been a journey of being kind to herself and to understand that it is important not to be hard on herself when mistakes are made.
“Being open minded is really helpful. I am very ambitious and I also have a lot of really good support, Lee says.
“To believe in myself, and Nate is a big part of that. He’s not one to ever feel sorry for himself and so that’s really helpful, and he believes in me and his whole family.”
As Tahi continues to grow and influence, Lee envisions collaborations with experts to develop blends on a more scientific level – expanding her brand’s presence in stores across the country.
Story by Mina Amso in partnership with Development West Coast (DWC).