Savannah in business to calm mind, body and soul
In the latest in our occasional series catching up with former Te Puke High School students, editor Stuart Whitaker talks to Savannah Blake.
Adecade ago, Savannah Blake was part of a Dragon’s Den-winning team at Te Puke High School. After more than a year of developing her product, she now has her own business — Merakii, meaning doing something you are passionate about in Greek — selling day and night serums designed to promote good skin and mind health. When Savannah left Te Puke High School in 2012, she already had a passion for business and computing. “The Dragon’s Den thing was part of the enterprise programme and I did it with a group of friends — we got the people’s choice as well,” she says. The competition was part of her business studies course. She also finished top of her class in computer science and went on to gain a degree in computer science through the University of Waikato. She says one high school teacher in particular inspired her. “Kevin Addinall — he was a really cool guy — he got along with us kids really well. He was encouraging in terms of learning and getting involved and making it interactive.” When put on the spot, Savannah says she didn’t enjoy school. “I pretty much just took my subjects — I didn’t try too hard at school I guess, but I chose the subjects I was passionate about. I did business studies, I did computer science and I did geography — plus the ones you’ve got to take — but those were definitely the ones I was most passionate about.” Savannah has spent her whole life in the district — living for a time in Pa¯pa¯moa — and now lives in Maketu¯. Even after finishing her university course, she has continued to learn, has worked with a business coach and learned about social media development. But a combination of factors, including being mandated out of her job, led her to focus more on her own business. “I was in quite a low place. I went and saw a life coach and a therapist and that got me into other things like breath work courses, I’ve done quite a lot of those, sound bowl healing and yoga as well.” She was using essential oils and was also quite passionate about skincare — and combining the two was a logical step. “I was always looking for a nice oil to put on my face, but I’d never found something that captured all my favourite oils in one.” She began to experiment, combining carrier oils which have the benefit of hydrating the skin, with essential oils to calm or revitalise the mind. Adding that to her belief in the importance of rituals, she created two products — a day serum and a night serum. “I established Merakii skin care after discovering first-hand the lifechanging mind health benefits of creating small, daily self-care rituals. “I realised the importance of [rituals] through my life coach. I know it sounds like it’s not much, but that’s the whole point I’m trying to get across — just simple wellbeing habits that worked for me and no doubt will for other people as well, so I just wanted to try to capture it all. “By doing a day and a night serum, it encourages people to create morning and night time routines, like a skincare ritual, so it’s not just creating the routine which is good for your mind health, but you are doing something for yourself which is also good for your mind health.” The serum ingredients include sweet almond, hemp, jojoba, rosehip, lavender, ylang ylang and vitamin E oils, with the blend developed by Savannah. “That was a big process that took a lot of the time initially, researching and testing and giving it to friends and family to trial and getting feedback.” For a time she sold the serum at the Tauranga Freedom Market which became the Welcome Farmers’ Market. “I liked their values, there was a good vibe. You’d go there and meet like-minded people.” Now Savannah is focusing on selling online, and also runs retreats that aim to calm mind, body and soul. Visit www.merakii.co.nz