Kiwi woman in small NZ town reveals how she created a global skincare business
They say necessity is the mother of invention, but perhaps no necessity was as serendipitous as that of Stephanie Evans.
The New Zealand-based businesswoman launched her skincare products from her own kitchen when she found herself still struggling with bad skin in her thirties.
Since she decided to create a business with her all-natural products, Ms Evans has been able to give up her office manager job in Auckland and concentrate on her Oasis Beauty line full-time.
"I'd always wanted to be my own boss," the 48-year-old, who now lives in the small New Zealand town of Oxford, told Daily Mail Australia.
"You've got to dream, because I dreamed first before I achieved."
After she left school at age 16, Ms Evans was encouraged to consider two options by her parents for her career: she could go into secretarial work, like her mother, or join the airforce, like her dad.
"It was a different time back then, and through default, I ended up training as a secretary for a year," Ms Evans told FEMAIL.
"I'd always struggled with my skin - aged 13 and upwards, I had the worst breakouts, I always thought people were looking at them.
"My skin was a source of embarrassment for me and by the time I got to age 30, I was still having problems.
"One day, I came across a book - Perfect Skin by Amanda Cochrane - and it was all about going back to basics.
"I thought about making my own products to see if they would work better than the pricey things I was putting on my skin.
"They made a huge improvement with my skin and so I started mixing more lotions and potions at home."
Slowly and steadily, the 48-year-old built up an arsenal of products, made from natural things like avocados and vitamin E.
"I was working full time, but I made sure I also created my products in the evenings and weekends - it was all an experiment and I was the test dummy," she said.
Ms Evans designed a special cream for her mother after her skin had an allergic reaction - Rhino Repair. The cream is still one of her bestselling products.
"At the time, I was making these things for myself and my mother - so no expense was spared," she said.
"I spent months researching healing ingredients and people still use it for eczema and skin problems."
The business side of things came around quite gradually for Ms Evans.
"Originally, I kept my day job as an office manager in Auckland, but that all changed when we moved to Oxford and I was able to pay my mortgage off.
"I had to sell my wedding china to launch the start-up, but then I quit and concentrated on Oasis Beauty full time. I think my aunties have forgiven me for selling the china!," she joked.
"It's taken a long time to get to where I am today, but I'd say the most important thing for budding businesswomen is you've got to have a plan and you shouldn't move away from what you stand for.
"For me, that was animal welfare. My products still reflect this."
These days, Ms Evans is still working hard at her Oasis Cottage home, where animals run around and she works on new beauty products every single day - testing them on her team.
"I live in a very remote town with just 1,800 people, but things like Facebook and the Internet have been super useful with getting the message out for the brand," she said.
The ambitious businesswoman is currently working on a range of pet sunscreen and she is also working on creating a wildlife refuge at her home.
"My top tip is to dream big, and allow yourself to think with a grand plan or you won't get anywhere. But you also need to remember that after the dreaming comes the doing.
"It's all about putting small steps in place, one at a time, so you can suddenly look behind you and see what you've achieved."