Joe Coote spent years watching his wife, Lawata trying to get rid of the head lice that kept infesting their children’s thick, wavy hair. He decided there had to be a better way – a way of getting rid of the lice once and for all.
That was the genesis of the revolutionary system of lice prevention, Living Juicy that the couple launched at Otākou Marae on Waitangi Day, 6 February, 2020. Based on a unique, globally-patented Juice Brush, which disperses a specially formulated 100% natural No-Nit Prevention Juice directly to the scalp, Living Juicy prevents head lice infestations and enables families to escape the stigma often associated with tamariki having head lice.
Joe (Ngāi Tahu) and his wife, Lawata (Navai, Fiji), spent eighteen months researching and developing their product and in line with their passion for making a difference in people’s lives, they immediately set to work, making their product available to other families struggling with head lice infestations.
Joes says up to a third of school children are infested by head lice each year but feedback from happy customers to date, indicates Living Juicy is changing lives for the better.
“Our No-Nit Removal Juice breaks down the glue-like fixative that head lice attach the nits/eggs to the hair follicles with and prevention takes just ten seconds each morning and the kids can do it themselves with our unique Juice Brush.”
Although Covid-19 arrived in the country soon after the company launched, Joe and Lawata spent their time refining business processes, collecting testimonials and reviews, improving their marketing, creating video tutorials and establishing an E-commerce website – much of that thanks to WAVE 11 funding from Te Pūtahitanga.
“Funding from both Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Te Pūtahitanga gave our business a real kick-start. We couldn’t have done it without them and their ongoing support was amazing. Our Te Pūtahitanga contract advisor, Nathan Tau re-aligns my focus each time I kōrero with him” Joe says.
With their website up and running, the couple re-launched Living Juicy in October 2020 and they are now planning a one-year national road trip, focussing on schools, marae and community organisations, to introduce as many people as possible to the life-changing benefits of Living Juicy.
“Our key point of difference is our patented juice brush technology and the non-toxic, 100% natural, plant-based oils that goes in it. The scent repels lice and inhibits their ability to feed on the scalp. It’s effective and economical long term,” Joe says.
To reach parents, the Coote whānau have developed newsletters for schools, marae and social media, and once their national road trip is underway in a few months’ time, they hope Living Juicy will help eliminate head lice from New Zealand schools once and for all.
Joe and Lawata are not new to business. After work in finance, they moved to Fiji in 2014, where they established the country’s first commercial aboriculture business; and in 2016, they purchased and ran a Mahoe sawmill. Back in New Zealand in 2018, they set up their arborist company in Dunedin, which still operates, at the same time, developing Living Juicy as a growing brand.
Today they are enthusiastic about the future. With new products in the pipeline including a range of leave-in hair conditioners, plus flea remedies for pets, they feel certain there is a bright future ahead for Living Juicy.
“I can’t wait to get on the road,” says Joe.
“People have lived with the stigma of having head lice for long enough. We’ve found something that makes a difference and we want to share it with as many whānau as possible.”