Crowdfunding does trick for business owner

Anna Ross, founder of vegan cosmetics brand Kester Black, has raised $2.1million in equity...
Anna Ross, founder of vegan cosmetics brand Kester Black, has raised $2.1million in equity crowdfunding. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
It took just over two weeks for Wanaka businesswoman Anna Ross to raise $2.17 million in equity for her cosmetics company, Kester Black.

The crowdfunding campaign by Australian platform Birchall opened on September 28 and closed on October 14, with 1687 investors - 34% New Zealanders - signing up to buy shares.

Ms Ross is now seeking three Wanaka-based employees and has already begun workshopping product development ideas for next year.

"The most exciting thing for me is we get to sit down and do budgeting and forecasting and planning.

"We have been doing that already, but roughly, because I didn’t know how much money I would have.

"I’ve also been doing workshops around three years of product development, and it is so much fun," she said.

One thing she is looking forward to doing is implementing her sustainability strategy.

"It will be exciting to put that in play. It is about totally circular packaging, recycled materials."

Ms Ross said she understood her crowd-funding campaign was Birchal’s largest female-led round of 2021 in Australia behind Shebah, an all-women ride-share company.

"I believe it's the largest round on Birchal ever by number of investors at 1687, outstripping Bubble Tea Club at 1399 and Seabin project at 1685," she said.

The Bubble Tea Club is an Australian business tapioca tea distribution business, while the Seabin project designs marine trash skimmers.

"Thrive is the biggest round at $3million. It's [Kester Black’s] currently the fourth-largest round this year behind Thrive, Coinstash, Unhedged - all fintechs/crypto companies, I might add," Ms Ross said.

Ms Ross was born and raised in Otago and studied fashion at Otago Polytechnic.

She founded Kester Black in Melbourne 10 years ago and came home to New Zealand last year.

The equity crowdfunding experience had been "very interesting for me to see how it well works", she said.