THE business idea of a 16-year-old Invercargill pupil is attracting smiles and attention from hikers and stores throughout New Zealand.
When Aubrey Page, of Southland Boys’ High School, had to develop a business as part of a course and the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES), he immediately knew he wanted to find a solution for a problem which has been bothering him for some time.
While he was tramping with his family earlier this year, he was annoyed by all the plastic waste regular toothbrushes and toothpastes normally produced, he said.
With this in mind, he began to explore better ways for people who enjoy the outdoors to maintain hygiene while reducing waste.
“I started to look online for alternatives and I found a company in Europe that manufactures toothpaste tablets and I thought this was what I wanted to do.”
After many attempts, he found one company which could produce and supply him with the product.
He then founded Eco-Smile which makes sustainable, plastic-free, vegan and gluten-free toothpaste tablets.
Aubrey explained his product contained 60 portions with micro-sized plant cellulose fibres derived from spruce trees, which were combined with menthol and clove oil to “naturally polish” the tooth.
“I didn’t see anything similar in New Zealand, really, and all my packaging is completely recyclable.”
Last week, Aubrey set up his website and was overwhelmed by the support from across the country.
Since Sunday, he has sold more than 40 units to customers across New Zealand, and some Queenstown and Invercargill businesses had approached him wanting to sell his product in their stores.
“I knew it was a good idea because it was something which I believed and was pretty keen to do it but I could not imagine it would be so well accepted.
“I’m having some lovely messages from people around the country who are supporting me or wanting to buy the product. It is pretty awesome.”
Aubrey hoped this would be the first step in a successful business career.
“Hopefully, I can take it further than a school project.”