Values are the driving force behind Brianne West's rapidly growing business - and there's no fear of failure holding her back.
West is the founder of Ethique, an environmental and sustainability focused business that makes solid beauty bars using only compostable packaging, with the goal of ridding the world of plastic waste.
Christchurch-based West, who is a scientist, was invited to Whanganui by Nicola Patrick of social enterprise Thrive Whanganui.
West shared her business philosophy and experience with a group of about 15 women entrepreneurs ahead of a public presentation in Whanganui on Tuesday."We are led entirely by our values," West said.
"I would never compromise on being plastic-free. We pay a living wage as a minimum; our supply chain is clean and we don't use child labour or palm oil; we try to be as ethical as humanly possible; our packaging is made in New Zealand. We don't compromise on those things.
"I really dislike the idea that you have to do business in this way that it's been done so long. Business needs to be driven by the consumer."
West says connecting with a "really good" business mentor helped her refine what she wanted to do with the business.
The company has run several successful crowdfunding campaigns and the key turning point was employing a chief operating officer who had more business experience than her.
"For the first year and a half it was essentially a hobby. For the second year and a half it was ticking along. For the last two years it has exploded because we had someone who knew what they were doing."
Last year was the first time Ethique made a profit although, West says, the business is growth driven not profit driven.
Twenty per cent of the profit goes to various charities, most related to animal welfare.
West has started a number of businesses over the years, starting with a short-lived pet detective agency when she was a child.
"I don't really have a fear of failure. I was always in a very privileged position. If you look at failure as the be-all and end-all then you are in a very bad position.
"Failure doesn't matter to me in terms of small failures. Don't do something you can't recover from, but you can recover from most things."
Ethique products are now available in six countries and the company is about to expand further into the United States market.
It fits with West's goal of Ethique becoming a multinational brand and reducing plastic waste around the world.
"When you're in the trenches you don't think about 'it' as a whole as you feel overwhelmed and a little bit sick. It's hard and I wouldn't want to do it if I had a family or if I wasn't as passionate about it as I was."
West hopes Ethique will inspire other business, not only in the cosmetic industry, to reduce plastic packaging.
"I want to put a bar in every shower but I don't mean necessarily an Ethique bar."