Bonnie Howland

Kitchen scientist, fashionista, humanitarian

What if we told you that you could up your makeup game and be a social hero at the same time? Sounds awesome right? Bonnie Howland thinks so. This 19 year old is part of a new generation of business owners who really do give a shit. Her ethically minded line of organic beauty products have their sights set on treating curable blindness in The South Pacific. Recently teaming up with The Fred Hollows Foundation, Bonnie wants to halve the amount of people living with curable blindness by 2025. So next time you’re thinking of thickening those lashes, think of Indigo and Iris and set a new social standard of living, and giving. 


What’s happening in the world of Bonnie Howland for 2015?

I’m starting a social enterprise! At the beginning of the year I launched Indigo & Iris through the Live The Dream program. Indigo & Iris is an ethical beauty brand with the mission of creating the very best organic beauty products for our customers, and restoring sight to people with curable blindness in The South Pacific.

After Live the Dream I decided to take a break from uni so I can launch our first product, Mascara For Sight. I want to have it in stores by September, so I’m working with manufacturers, suppliers and retailers to make it happen. We are also working with Open Lab in Wellington on design which is exciting! At the moment it’s just me working on it full time, but I’m keen to grow the team soon. Indigo & Iris has formed a partnership with The Fred Hollows Foundation who work in over 40 countries curing treatable blindness, they do great work and it’s amazing to be partnering with them.

I believe that by 2025 the number of people living with treatable blindness can and should be reduced by 50 percent. We as consumers can make a huge impact through our purchases. The fact that people will be able to see again because of Mascara For Sight is so powerful – and that’s what’s driving me.


Describe the most generous person you know. How have they influenced you?

Melissa Clarke-Reynolds has influenced me over the past few months. She is incredibly kind and she genuinely wants to see a sustainable and equitable world. She also does what makes her happy and isn't afraid to act on her dreams. She has influenced me to do the same.

Starting a social enterprise has opened my eyes to just how compassionate, selfless and generous people are. I saw people giving their time and talents throughout Live The Dream, the amazing program that got Indigo & Iris started. Now the generosity of people and organisations supporting Indigo & Iris is blowing my mind.


Can you name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated?

Voting with your dollar!! When we support businesses that prioritise the environment, animal welfare and their staff we create a more ethical world.


Can you tell us three things that inspire you and why?

Amy Poehler because she is so legit! Her smart girls campaign is really inspiring, she is hilarious and unapologetically herself. She once said this great thing that I really appreciated... "Curiosity and the pursuit of it makes you a more open-minded and open-hearted person. You're never too late to learn new things, and you're never too young to be very wise."

A video by 'Invisible Children' inspired me it's called 'Jump First, Fear Later.' It was a great reminder that life is short and I shouldn't do boring things.

Maya Angelou is incredible, how can one person be so wise and have so many great quotes?! Her books and poems are beautiful.

Say hello to Bonnie and follow Indigo & Iris on Twitter here.