Hannah Duder

Entrepreneur, Hannah Duder NZ
Business and Law / Taxation and Accounting, 2016

Hannah Duder

In Business For Good.

Meet Hannah Duder, CEO of Indigo and Iris – a make up company which funds positive impact projects. 50% of profits from its first beauty product will go towards helping cure avoidable blindness in the Pacific. A committed social entrepreneur, Hannah is passionate about doing good and aims to persuade others to follow suit. “As social enterprises, we can't take big corporates over. But what we can do is show them that there’s success and profit in doing good for the world.”

You’re a fairly recent grad, what have you been up to since you finished uni?

After uni I had an accounting job all lined up, but in the end I decided not to go into the corporate world. Instead I co-founded a social enterprise called Little Yellow Bird, a sustainable and ethical uniform company. We got into a business accelerator and moved up to Wellington, where it really took off. I’ve since left that to become CEO of another social enterprise, Indigo & Iris.

What’s the idea behind Indigo & Iris?

It's a beauty brand with a mission to do good in the world. Our first product is a mascara called Levitate. 50% of its profits will go to the Fred Hollows Foundation, which is helping to cure avoidable blindness in the Pacific. Eventually we want to get our brand into stores in New Zealand and all around the world so we can have even more of an impact.

What do you like about being an entrepreneur?

You get to choose your own destiny, although it's not as glamorous as people think! It's not a 9-to-5 job where you can clock out at the end of the day. It’s totally immersive and you have to make all the decisions yourself. I love the way that the more you put in, the more you get out. There's a lot of freedom and excitement – and uncertainty too!

How did your time at UC help set you up for success?

The number one thing for me was the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship. Having access to mentors and being in a space where you’re surrounded by other people doing the same thing was incredible. The fact UC has that space is amazing. My involvement with UCSA and the clubs really helped too. Everything I did at UC has definitely built who I am now.

Have your studies come in useful too?

Absolutely. The legal and accounting studies I did at UC have made me so much more prepared as an entrepreneur. I can walk into a meeting and know I won’t be taken advantage of. I would definitely encourage entrepreneurs to study business, law or accounting because it gives you a lot of knowledge you can apply in a corporate context.

What are the key skills to being an entrepreneur?

Confidence in yourself. You can't do it without thinking you can! If you're working on your own, you need to have a bit of ‘hustler’ in you too. You have to be able to build relationships and connections in order to sell your products and ideas. And time management. I’m the queen of lists and schedules.

Do you still maintain a relationship with UC?

Definitely. I speak at UCE and mentor students there. I've also started to get into the alumni network. I ran an event up in Wellington recently to get people together. It was great to meet new people. For me, networks are everything. It’s so important to keep hold of your university contacts. You never know who’s going to be the next prime minister!

How do those networks help you?

University connections are so useful when you're running a business. You might need an accountant or a web designer, or even just want to make new friends if you move cities. It's good to keep up your alumni relationships straight out of uni. Don't wait till you're 50! University was so much fun, why wouldn't you want to keep up those friendships and make new ones anyway? I hope I’ll always have a close connection with UC.

What’s the key to success, according to Hannah Duder?

You've got to make the most of networks and opportunities. I am a real ‘yes person’. It's moments when you offer to do something for someone that the next door opens. Confidence is also really important. You have to be able to talk to people. Whether that's socialising at a barbecue or networking with the top dogs, building relationships is key. At the very least you’re going to make a bunch of cool new friends.

What impact would you like to have on the world?

As long as I know I've left the world in a better place I’ll be happy. My dream is to have a voice that can persuade people and change the way big corporations operate. As social enterprises, we can't take them over. We need them to change. But what we can do is show them that there’s success and profit in doing good for the world.