The Hairstylist Turned Chemical Engineer Creating A Next-Generation Beauty Brand

By Ashleigh Cometti
One of Adelle's favourite elements of owning her own brand is the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded creatives across the country. Photo / Supplied

After 15 years in the hair industry, you’d be forgiven for thinking Adelle Rodda knows just about everything there is to know about treating tresses.

But after becoming increasingly frustrated by what she calls “greenwashing and misleading claims that are rife in the beauty industry”, the Bachelor of Science graduate sought to formulate a range of research-driven haircare that was both natural and effective.

A fusion of nature, science, style and performance, her research culminated as Botaniq, a haircare range that harnesses responsibly sourced, active botanicals to strengthen, nourish and protect hair against damage.

Now, the brand founder has returned to her studies to complete a research masters that investigates bioactives extracted from natural sources, the goal being to develop these into ingredients for Botaniq.

Unlike other haircare brands, which aim to tame hair, Botaniq eschews tradition with its range of products that serve to celebrate the individuality and beauty of natural hair the curls, the cowlicks and the frizz.

READ: Girl Native Founder Rawinia Rimene On How Her Maori Heritage Has Shaped Her Brand

The road to success hasn’t been without its challenges, and Adelle says her two most recent launches  the Refresh Cleanser and Replenish Conditioner  almost didn’t happen.

“I’ve been refining the formulas for over three years and the global pandemic added to the challenge. It was an amazing feeling to finally put them out,” she says. 

Complete supply chain transparency was always the aim of the game for Adelle, who says many of Botaniq’s organic or wild-harvested ingredients are sourced responsibly from local and indigenous communities who are paid fairly by suppliers.  

Like many next-generation brands, closed-loop packaging is a priority, with every Botaniq product housed in amber glass or aluminium packaging that can be refilled or infinitely recycled, not to mention it protects each formula from UV light to ensure greater efficacy. Botaniq’s own Return To Sender initiative effectively designs out waste by keeping every component of its packaging in circulation.  

Products that make an impact without leaving one on the environment have always been top of mind for Adelle, who says she’s continually striving to improve Botaniq’s environmental impact, and to expect big developments around this later in 2022. 

What do you love about the beauty industry?
I love the individuals and brands that are challenging the beauty industry. Mainstream beauty can be problematic it creates and then preys on insecurities, and lacks true diversity and creativity. Beauty is completely individual and an artistic form of self-expression, whether that’s au naturel or boundary-pushing. It’s refreshing to see people creating this change.

When did you realise you wanted to be your own boss?  
After completing my Bachelor of Science, I wanted a project that would enable me to utilise my degree and Botaniq kind of came about from there.  

What gave you the confidence to go out on your own? 
I am super lucky to have really supportive friends and family who encouraged me to take the leap into starting a business. I’m also a big believer in just giving things a go because you only regret the things you don’t do.   

What do you love most about having your own brand?  
Getting to collaborate with inspiring and creative local talent here in Aotearoa.    

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a woman in business?  
I think being in business is a challenge regardless of how you identify. Since starting Botaniq, I have met some remarkable women who have guided me through both work and life challenges. That being said, I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to prove that I know what I’m talking about, particularly when it comes to the scientific aspects of formulation and sustainability. Some people are shocked to learn that I have a science degree and that I’m currently part way through a research masters in chemical and material engineering. I like breaking that stereotype. 

What makes your brand stand out from the crowd?  
Botaniq celebrates authenticity in product formulation and people. Our products are designed to support and enhance natural texture, rather than trying to tame it. We use innovative, active botanicals created through green chemistry to create beyond natural haircare that’s good for people, and the planet. 

What are you continuing to learn about yourself and about business even today?  
Being adaptable. If something isn’t working, change tact, and sooner rather than later. I’ve definitely wasted a lot of hours trying to force something because I really wanted it to work. Also, realising it’s impossible to do everything perfectly, is a skill I’m working on.   

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