The people at Zuru have always done things differently so sending people into the bush when they join the company fits the company brief.
When Zuru was first imagined, Mowbray brothers Nick and Mat flew to China, and with no accommodation, they spent the first night in the bushes outside Hong Kong airport.
Years of sacrifice and hard work followed and now Zuru, a billion-dollar company, is sending its New Zealand-based employees into the bush on Outward Bound courses designed to test, train and create great leaders.
The company, still run by Nick, Mat, and Anna Mowbray sells toys such as Bunch O Balloons and Robofish in more than 120 countries and prides itself on its out-of-the-box thinking.
People and Culture Director at Zuru, Natalie Meech introduced Outward Bound to the company as an addition to traditional leadership training.
"We like to do everything with maximum impact at Zuru so we decided to send our leaders and top talent to Outward Bound," Meech said.
"Everyone who has been on a professional course has found it to be an outstanding experience."
Meech was just 21 when she first experienced Outward Bound and said the impact on her was profound.
She credits the course - where participants learn to sail and rock climb, rise early for cold swims and have leadership lessons on the beach - for her leadership skills.
She wanted to promote that at Zuru.
Immediately after joining the global toy manufacturing giant in 2019, Meech signed seven people from the leadership team to attend Outward Bound.
The benefits to the company were immeasurable, she said, with the physical environment of Outward Bound a better lesson in leadership than sitting in a classroom.
"Take away the noise, distractions and technology and apply that learning in a physical setting – it's a really clever way of teaching people," Meech said.
"As a company, we are on a massive growth trajectory so we need great leaders."
Zuru team members who had completed the Anakiwa-based course had returned to work with improved attitudes and self-worth.
"The Outward Bound environment is so dynamic and for those who have gone on the course, we are really starting to see the impact in increased self-awareness and confidence as leaders," Meech said.
"Growing a great team of leaders has the biggest impact on your culture. There are different ways of giving people that experience but Outward Bound provides a very unique experience for people, with high impact."
Anna Mowbray, Zuru co-founder and chief operations officer at Zuru, agreed and said growing great leaders was instrumental in building winning teams.
"We have a huge vision at Zuru to disrupt our industries and become one of the world's greatest companies," Mowbray said.
This year Zuru expanded to include Kiwi brands under its Zuru Edge stable. There are nappies under the Rascal and Friends brand, collagen with Dose & Co, petfood under Nood and haircare with new brand Monday.
Mowbray said she loved the development experience that Outward Bound offered.
"It is high impact, unique, and focussed on building the core skills that our leaders need like being adaptable, self-aware and resilient."