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Oxygen Skincare owner Alana Riley says despite offers from Auckland companies, she will not shift her manufacturing base from Christchurch.
Speaking at the Realising Innovation Success and Enterprise (RISE) seminar for women in business in Christchurch yesterday, Riley described her career in business, which included a stint as an ostrich farmer, real estate agent and modelling agency owner.
Riley started modelling when she moved to Australia with her mother when she was 15. She set herself three long-term goals: to become a flight attendant, own her own modelling agency and get a degree.
But at 19 she started nursing her mother, who died of a lung disease two years later.
Riley returned to New Zealand and got a job with Air New Zealand. But a month later she married a Nelson farmer and was soon pregnant, putting her flight attendant career on hold.
After several years as a wife and mother on her husband’s farm near Nelson, Riley moved to Christchurch and bought the Spotlight modelling agency, which she sold three years later to work as a flight attendant for Air New Zealand.
It was in 2009, after achieving her third goal – studying law and commerce at the University of Canterbury – that Riley found out her sister-in-law had breast cancer.
She wanted to make a cream that wouldn’t interfere with her radiation and chemotherapy treatment and decided to start a natural skincare range for women.
After research in Australia with a naturopath and homeopath she formed Oxygen Skincare.
Like many start-ups, it got under way in a garage, but Riley said the range “hit the market in a big way” in October and is now in 70 stores in New Zealand.
It has also passed European Union standards for natural products.
Riley said she won’t be shifting from the New Brighton manufacturing base.
“Christchurch is my hometown and I’m a big believer in keeping the money where it needs to be.”
– © Fairfax NZ News