Written by Lizzie Macaulay
When I was 14, I couldn’t wait to get a job. I was eager, but I didn’t exactly have a lot of skills beyond that.
How completely refreshing it was to watch local 14 year old, Erin Watson, spring into action as she stepped into the shoes of entrepreneur in the family business.
If you’re a regular at the Pier Park Markets, you’ll likely recognise Erin’s face behind the display at the Wander & Find stall.
The skincare range, founded by her mum, Karina Wilson, is growing on a national scale, and something Erin is destined to take on as her own in the not-too distant future.
I’ve heard a whole lot about Erin over the last few years – her incredible depth of knowledge of the nature of skin and the natural ingredients used, her artful product photography, her ambitions for the future of the brand.
So I was excited to meet her and watch her in action.
Understandably, she was a touch hesitant as I blustered into her universe and started peppering her with questions. (You see, the balance was way off – I knew a lot about Erin thanks to proud mum Karina, but conversely, I was a perfect stranger to her…)
We began by setting up the iconic Wander & Find display – crisp monochrome tones, precisely arranged products – everything in its place.
Erin was every bit the meticulous expert I’d heard she was. As we placed the bottles and jars of products, she’d tell me not only where each product went and why, but what they were for and how they could help.
It seemed that Wander & Find had essentially become part of her DNA, with the hundreds of markets she’s set up, sold at and packed up over the years.
With the stall looking magnificent, it was time to delve even further behind the scenes – Erin took me to the mixing room at W&F HQ.
While the ingredients are the toppest of top secret, the bottling process was something I could definitely help with. I hoped.
Erin showed me how to package up the brand’s most popular product – the cleanse oil.
It looked simple enough to do, but that old self doubt crept back in as I stepped up to the dispensing equipment.
What if I missed? Or dropped the bottle? Or overfilled the bottle somehow and the liquid gold we were packaging spilled everywhere?!
Under Erin’s patient, calm hand, we managed to avoid any of the potential calamities I’d conjured up in my mind, and the bottling was a success – not a drop spilled.
Next came the labelling.
I don’t think I’ve ever taken sticking a sticker so seriously before, but when it’s someone else’s business on the line, you pay attention, right?
To my great shame, my first label went on a little wonky, despite my best efforts.
Would it have been wrong to hide the bottle somewhere?
My second attempt was millimetre perfect, and I caught myself contemplating a future in the bottle labelling industry. Although realistically, for the speed I went, I wouldn’t have a job for long…
Fantasies of my next career move aside, we moved on to what I imagined must be one of the most exciting parts of owning your own skincare line – packaging up the orders to be sent to grateful customers.
Once again, Erin was effortlessly precise at this.
We started with the most fabulous paper I’d ever come across – an eco-alternative to bubble wrap (in line with the brand’s planet-conscious ethos).
Stretchy, robust and a whole lot of fun to play with, this paper went around each bottle and jar like they were little burritos being tucked in for a comfy adventure.
I pictured the excitement of the customer at the other end, opening their Wander & Find box for the first time, and it filled me with a happy little glow.
As our time together came to an end, I reflected on the maturity, patience and quiet ambition of this teen entrepreneur.
Not only has Erin achieved an enormous amount for herself already, balancing school and sport and friends and business with ease, but the future is oh-so bright as well.
Erin has big plans for what Wander & Find may look like when she takes the reins.
First order of business?
Who knows – maybe it’s abolishing the early morning market starts, or expanding the range to cater for teen skin specifically, or even growing the Wander & Find team and operation to new heights.
What’s clear, is no matter what path Erin chooses, great things are on the horizon.