The spirit of The Little Big Markets has always been one of creativity, collaboration and community, and stallholders Tania Eves and Todd Hilleard are among those who really embody this

Five Percent Brands: Noxen and Me & the Brave

The spirit of The Little Big Markets has always been one of creativity, collaboration and community, and stallholders Tania Eves and Todd Hilleard are among those who really embody this.

“Back in 2018, Todd and I independently started our brands Noxen and Me & the Brave,” explains Tania, “Noxen being a surf label born out of Todd’s need for a bigger hooded poncho towel for after surfing, and Me & the Brave [wool fedoras and beanies] born out of my desire to create a community of women that supported each other to make brave choices about the lives they want to live.”

The pair met at TLBM in late 2019 and got chatting about their respective businesses. “We realised there were a lot of synergies in the way we ran them but that our skills were complimentary, Todd was strong on the financial side of things and I was strong on the marketing and product development side,” says Tania.

“We started spending a few days a week working in the same place and helping each other in the areas we were struggling with, and the conversations soon started moving more towards the direction of what we could do together. We were both giving back — Todd to mental health and me to NZ Women’s Refuge, and we’d have conversations about the positive impact we could have on our communities if we could generate more revenue, therefore more profits to donate! We decided to merge the brands together under one company with the sole purpose of giving back.”

The result was Five Percent Brands, which Tania describes as a lifestyle company with community at its core. “We create positive and impactful change by donating 5 percent of our annual profits to many mental health organisations locally and nationally. Ultimately we create lifestyle products that inspire adventure and encourage a healthy lifestyle but our real passion and drive comes from supporting those who are living with mental health issues.”

Currently in the process of setting up their brand new warehouse, head office and showroom in Pāpāmoa, Tania credits both TLBM and the Bay of Plenty as fundamental elements in the success of all three businesses. “Either brand or the company as a whole wouldn’t be where they are now if it weren’t for the support from the TLBM team and, man, we have some incredibly talented people here doing some really cool shit! It’s so inspiring!

“The products we create were inspired by where we live and the way we run our businesses ensures Todd has time to surf and we get our respective families down to the beach as much as we can. I also think the tight community here has inspired us to want to do more around mental wellbeing too.”

More from The Makers