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25 Foundation Grantees

Sharee Wilkinson


Make-up artist and eyelash specialist Sharee Wilkinson is a woman on a mission now she’s seen for herself the opportunities in Asia for her luxury possum fur lashes.

Sharee joined four other Kiwi health and beauty entrepreneurs on a Foundation visit to Singapore and Malaysia in 2019. It was the first trip to Asia for the mother of six, and her longest time away from home.

 “I was really excited,’ she says. “Asia is the hub for eye lashes – Koreans invented the lash extension technique.”

Sharee explains that it takes about an hour and a half to graft traditional fake synthetic lashes onto natural lashes with “a very toxic glue” that can cause eye problems.

She knows she can do better. Sharee’s Moka Premium Eco Fibre lashes are all-natural strip lashes which with care can be reused up to 20 times. The lashes are made from possum tails -- normally waste products in the fibre industry -- hand knotted onto a strip of soft flax fibre.

She’s also working with a scientist to develop a natural, non-toxic eyelash glue from flax and keratin extracted from sheep wool.

“I’m making to order at the moment,” Sharee says. “It’s not huge — just one or two sets a week.”

But Sharee is confident that will change as step by step she develops her young business, scaling her production, creating a new line in extensions and finding investors.

“My Māori world view helps me deconstruct everything about the industry,” she says. “I’d like to swap out all the eyelash products the beauty industry is currently using with my eco-friendly versions.”

Already she has expressions of interest from Singapore’s Colours Boutique, which caters to Indian brides.

“There’s a wealthy clientele in Singapore. The Indian bridal market there is a definite,“ she says.

“Indian brides love eyelashes to finish the entire look. They’d appreciate handmade luxury.”