Brooke Hobson

BA / PGDipJ 2015

Co-Owner and Business Development Manager at Native Hard Sparkling

Brooke Hobson

How did the idea of Native Hard Sparkling come about?

Native was created to bridge the gap between kiwis who love getting outdoors but don't actively donate towards conservation initiatives to help preserve it. Through an innovative and refreshing beverage, we are able to support projects that protect our precious native species.

We wanted to create a beverage that we would be proud to drink. We were adamant we wouldn't compromise on taste so using real fruit, locally sourced where possible, is our big point of difference. Native's also low in sugar, carbs, and calories so you can have a few drinks on a Friday and still jump out of bed the next morning, ready for an adventure!

Half of the Native team went to UC - yourself and your brother, Guy (BCom/MEM 2015) - however, neither of you studied subjects that would obviously lead you to start this business! How do you think your UC experience and study have guided or helped you on this path?

It was a chapter in our lives where we were able to have freedom of choice and express ourselves in different ways while socialising and connecting to our peers. It means that now we're at the working profession stage of our lives, we are able to concentrate on what's in front of us and hustle.

There were plenty of opportunities throughout our time at UC that we were always encouraged to pursue. I was lucky enough to finish my degree on exchange in France which was an incredible experience. UC's support helped make that possible.

Being conservation and sustainability-minded is such a key part of your business - what was the motivation behind this?

Our motivation comes from growing up on a farm in Manawatu, which for us, means we've ended up having this unique appreciation for looking after the land. We spent many school and uni holidays back on the farm helping our parents who have had a huge part to play in teaching us environmental values. They're always planting trees or developing wetlands with the idea of leaving the farm in a better place for future generations.

Can you tell us about being in business with family!

Not only do Guy and I work together, but our older brother, Matt, is also in the business. We're lucky we all get on (sometimes!) which makes working together a lot of fun. It also means it's quite cutthroat - there is no need for niceties when you're speaking to your siblings. It's a special part of Native Hard Sparkling and to be honest, I couldn't imagine working with anyone else right now - hopefully, they feel the same way.

If you think back to when you graduated, what is one piece of advice you would tell your younger self?

Make a change as soon as you are bored - whether that's in work, life, or where you're living. Also, quit Instagram sooner... it's the biggest waste of time.

I asked Guy this question as well as he said "CYA - cover your arse". Guy was told this by the director of his Masters programme and he said that remembering this advice would have served him well after graduating!

Check out Native online here