Being part of the Path to the Pacific Trade Show on April 6 at The Cloud in Auckland requires a two-day trip from the Marshall Islands.
But it’s a worthwhile journey for owner of Bokwarijiot Beauty Products, Marshall Islands Inspiration’s Moriana Phillip, the sole representative from Majuro, Marshall Islands.
Ms Phillip is introducing her natural skincare product range at the Path to the Pacific Trade Show in New Zealand for the first time.
Bokwarijot pronounced Bok-a-ri-jet is an old Marshallese word that describes the beauty routine, typically of women using a mix of grated coconut, coconut oil and medicinal traditional herbs on the body and hair.
“Marshallese women have a very intimate connection with coconut,” Ms Phillip says.
“We use the oil and the coconut on our hair, our skin to maintain beautiful skin and hair. the herbs we mix in are natural deodorants and have medical properties,” she added.
“…and this is the best part of it – it was typically something a group of young women would do on the beaches! and swim afterwards. its beautification and then there were the fun social parts to it.”
Ms Phillip is keen to preserve the Marshall Islands traditional knowledge and uses of plants and practices.
“We need to maintain traditional knowledge of these practices and continue to grow these important medicial plants and herbs and of course we need to keep our beaches clean to fully experience bokwarijot!” she says.
This year Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) NZ is hosting 40+ Pacific and New Zealand based businesses at The Path to the Pacific Trade Show on April 6. Delegates from ten Pacific Island countries are part of PTI NZ’s Path to Market programme, a structured multi-staged approach aimed at helping potential exporters and exporters gain a clearer understanding of the New Zealand market.
Ms Moriana Phillip attended PTI NZ’s Path to Market workshop held in The Marshall Islands in 2018. Her business, Bokwarijot Beauty Products, Marshall Islands Inspiration specialises in organic herbal scrubs, coconut body butters, hair and body oil and facewashes made from natural locally sourced ingredients. There are five fragrances – Ulej/Lukweej Coconut Scrub, Kino Coconut Scrub, Kar Coconut Scrub, Lemon Coconut Scrub, Nin/Ulej scrub. They can also make Lukweej butter. Two Beauty pack offers include VIP Bokwarijiot Beauty Pack, Bokwarijiot Gift Baskets.
Bokwarijiot products are sold marketed and sold online via the Facebook page. They also use a series how to demonstrations and testimonial videos to show off their great results.
The Path to Market programme has been running for the past four years. Starting off with an in-country workshop, potential exporters are identified at the workshop by the local economic business agencies and some are invited to continue the Path to Market programme in Auckland where they attend a trade show type event. Beforehand, participants attend seminars on product packaging, labelling prior to the event and perfect their elevator pitches/sales pitch. After the event, participants have feedback sessions, site visits and then finish with one-to-one business meetings.
Ultimately businesses want long term contacts, distributors and buyers in New Zealand whilst learning about the market, buyer expectations and importation rules and requirements.