Deer Milk Heralds New Industry With Kōtia Skincare Brand

Offered some goat, sheep and cow milk cheese to accompany an early evening pinot on the deer farm of a friend, South Islander Graeme Shaw asked out loud “Where’s the deer cheese?” The response from his friend was “you can’t milk deer.” Too primal. Easily stressed. Not socialized with humans.

Rising to the challenge, and with the knowledge that New Zealand has the world’s largest population of farmed deer – 900,000 deer across 2,000 farms – Shaw invested several years perfecting the technique of milking deer, partnering with deer farmer John Falconer, from Clachanburn, in the Maniototo. Shaw’s ‘eureka moment’ occurred when a milker named Dianne noticed her weathered and work-worn hands had been transformed after just a few weeks of milking deer. Her hands had become softer and less aged in appearance, and her nails were stronger and less prone to breakage.

Graeme Shaw engaged AgResearch scientists to analyze the deer milk who discovered it was abundant in skin enhancing agents. They found 100% New Zealand deer milk is rich in beauty-boosting properties such as retinol (vitamin A), folic acid (vitamin B9), antioxidants and nutrients (vitamin E) and anti-inflammatory agents in the form of vitamin D3, which can help prevent premature ageing.

This miracle discovery led to the creation of kōtia, a world first – a skincare range developed with 100% New Zealand deer milk. By combining deer milk’s natural goodness with scientifically proven actives, kōtia brings a uniquely luxurious and nourishing skincare solution to discerning women everywhere. Kōtia is a combination of Maori words bringing together young women (kō) and deer (tia).

The range has been developed by Sigrid Vorwerk, New Zealand’s leading skin care formulator and cosmetic chemist. With 30-years of experience at New Zealand’s leading personal care companies, Sigrid is passionate about the challenge of developing new complex formulations with deer milk.

Scientifically developed to nourish and condition the skin with the hydrating power of deer milk, the range is dermatologically tested and endorsed. Included in the premium range is a Purifying Toner, Exfoliating Cleansing Milk, Nourishing Cream Mask, Hydrating Day Cream, Regenerating Night Cream, Brightening Eye Cream, Rejuvenating Serum, Brightening Hydration Mask and a Revitalising Hand and Nail Cream.

The kōtia formulations are emollients, providing rejuvenating nourishment, hydration and anti-ageing benefits through its high molecular weight proteins, which form a natural barrier, protecting skin and reducing the ageing effects of water loss.

A significant distribution agreement for the skincare has been signed for New Zealand and Australia in partnership with McPhersons Consumer Products. This will see the products in the big Priceline pharmacy chain and locally in selected Green Cross (Life and Unichem) pharmacies and Farmers stores. A trade launch to pharmacists, media and influencers is being held in Queenstown this week, with the retail launch at New Zealand’s busiest pharmacy, Life Pharmacy Wilkinson in Queenstown.

Graeme Shaw comments that “Our mission at kōtia is to provide women across the world the highest quality premium skincare products with proven efficacy for nourishing and hydrating the skin. We’re thrilled to be the first to market a range of skincare products containing deer milk with clinically proven results. By 2020, the Asia-Pacific skincare market value is predicted to be US$81 Billion, up 45% since 2015, we see enormous potential for the brand and the opportunities it will have for the New Zealand economy.”

After the work to launch the brand in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and other markets including the U.S. and U.K, Shaw says he will turn his attention to ‘ingestibles’ derived from deer milk. “Scientific research has shown deer milk to be nothing short of a natural wonder,” says Shaw. Not only is deer milk proven to have the highest fat, protein and amino acid content of any milk available for human nutrition, it is a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, zinc, phosphorus and selenium. It is these that give deer milk its unique ability to regenerate and nourish skin on the deepest level. By capturing deer milk’s natural goodness and combining it with the perfect amount of actives, kōtia delivers a luxurious experience, along with visible results.

New Zealand is the number one source for farm-raised venison worldwide. It has been estimated that New Zealand has half of the world’s farmed deer population. Red deer were brought to New Zealand in the late 1800’s for game hunting. In 1905 U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt gifted 18 American elk to the New Zealand Government. They were placed in the remote Fiordland National Part in the southwestern corner of the South Island. The deer relished the conditions and with New Zealand having no large predators, the deer population grew quickly out of control, damaging many plant species and overwhelming habitats and forests. Millions of deer were culled in the decades from the 1930s to 1960s, though in the 1970s the thinking changed and farming pioneers saw the potential for exporting venison: high in protein, low in fat and sodium, zero carbs, low-calorie, and rich in minerals and vitamins.

Graeme Shaw believes that kōtia exemplifies New Zealand innovation at its best formulation: 100% pure natural ingredients, provides a solution to a human need, is created for local and world markets, is a premium branded product, and is partnered with a significant regional distributor in Asia-Pacific.

Original article in by Laura McQuarrie, Feb 18, 2019. Principal reporting by NZEDGE.COM


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