Alana Riley; Guest Speaker

The NZ Woman in beauty and teen confidence is Alana Riley, former; model, volunteer firefighter, flight attendant, model agency owner, fitness franchisee, event manager, Bachelor of Commerce graduate and now most importantly, owner of Oxygen Skincare New Zealand.

“Hi! To this awesome network of NZ ladies – my name is Alana Riley and I am the proud founder/owner of Oxygen Skincare, we create 100% natural and organic skincare products. Most importantly, I am a mum of 3 and wife to my husband Colin, who is a pioneer in the Organic Hop industry – yip that’s beer! We base ourselves in sunny Nelson where my 2 sons are following in Dad’s footsteps and my daughter is working alongside me at Oxygen. When I’m not travelling overseas for work I love to spend time with my extra large (Slightly crazy) extended family and I especially love exploring our beautiful town on my pink bike.

As my introduction suggests, my background is varied and the achievements and experiences so far in my life are spread far and wide. I live by the belief that you are on a journey full of steps up, sideways and sometimes backwards, but whichever direction one step takes you today, helps you form your idea of your dreams to reach for tomorrow.  The ‘NZ Women’ today is a reflection of how strong, supportive networks filled with empowering people can achieve great things together.

I founded Oxygen Skincare out of my garage with the good old Kenwood mixer in 2009. It all began from a lightbulb moment (could have been an insane one, but here we are!) when I was sitting on the beach in Kaiteriteri with my best mate discussing how many chemicals were in skin care products and how that affected people every day. I decided in that moment that I wanted to create a nourishing, natural moisturiser for my sister-in-law whom at the time was in her third stage of breast cancer.  After looking into this ‘small’ idea of mine, I came to realise that there was, in fact, NO 100% natural skin care range in New Zealand for the teenage demographic! This is where the lightbulb moment of a small idea of a moisturiser, turned into a somewhat larger dream for us.

My passion and drive has always been around improving self-esteem and confidence in a young woman, at the time I founded Oxygen I had 18 years experience in educating young ladies in deportment & grooming academies around secondary schools in NZ and through workshops during my venture as owner of Spotlight Model Agency in Christchurch. Through this experience, I learnt how much of an impact the appearance of a young persons skin was impacting their overall ability to feel confident in the skin they lived in. So long story short, we decided to broaden the idea of a moisturiser into a full range of 100% natural teen, women and problem skin products. We have been through a lot since day one including packaging/branding changes and international expansion, we are now looking fresh and sharp on the shelves of over 260 retail stores NZ wide including Life & Unichem pharmacies and we are sold in 5 other countries world wide, online and in store. We are in a large phase of growth and it is exciting to now have my daughter on board for our journey!

As far as my, or more accurately our achievements go, I am proud of where we have grown to in 7 years with Oxygen, we have steadily gone from a garage business to now having many amazing stockists NZ & worldwide. We continue to teach teens confidence through skin care in pharmacy workshops around New Zealand and that will always be our guiding mission. We were so thrilled to win an NZ Business innovation award and I work closely with the New Zealand Trade Enterprise to expand our business into the international market. We go through our ups and downs and my goodness is there some points where I want to put my hands in the air, but each day my team and family show me new ways to dream and keep moving. My biggest achievement is by far my family, it brings me and my husband great joy that I have children who are aspiring to do great things in both their personal and professional lives and that we can all work together to learn from each other, and trust me… half the time it is us learning from them!!

My view on the NZ Woman today? I have grown to appreciate that the NZ Woman is a woman that stands with pride, she is one that shares her successes and failures openly to support other women around her. We have professional and personal networks like no other here in New Zealand and we should be proud of our constant will to empower like-minded woman to work towards their passion and realise their true potential. I am fortunate to now be embarking on our strategic international adventure with Oxygen and it always brings me great pride to be a woman in business, from New Zealand.

My favourite quote and the woman whom I admire most go hand-in-hand. My mother has always been and will always be my inspiration. My Mum passed away of a terminal illness when I was 21, she wasn’t a well known NZ woman publicly, but she was one loud, proud Irish lady that had so much adversity in her life but never let it stop her being courageous and positive to everyone she touched – I can still hear her now saying my favorite quote “Alana-Jane, Just remember to stop and smell the roses”

She couldn’t have been more correct and I only hope that I can pass this message on to young New Zealand woman, appreciate what is in front of you and build something of it, no matter how small or large what you have is you can turn it into whatever you set your mind to.

My future dreams? Can I say retire (LOL) oh and, #oxygenworlddomination (my daughter will cringe at the use of a hashtag here) but most importantly, just to continue encouraging my family to strive for success, whatever that may look like in their eyes.”

You can read The NZ Woman review of Oxygen Skincare here.