Hil is a highly respected prosthetics, SPFX makeup and hair-artist in the local screen industry. Her and business partner, Angela Duncan, have developed a range of products that have taken their considerable skills and knowledge and turned them into an income stream that doesn’t rely on constant film-work projects coming through their door.
One of their most successful products – The Hil Cook Solution Buds – recently won Best New Business for the Business Awards 2011 and is a product designed to remove makeup quickly, efficiently and gently. Initially aimed at the film and television market, the product has now taken off in the general-beauty market and is exported to many countries around the world.
Hil Cook Solution Buds were developed after a particularly grueling job in challenging conditions. Hil realised some of the tools her team had were prohibiting them from doing their jobs as well as they could. Combining this “a-ha!” moment with the need to find other income streams in a challenging climate for film and television projects made them realize they needed to take up the challenge of developing this product.
The outstanding response they had from trial users encouraged them to send the product out to pharmacies and beauty suppliers across the country. Hil and Angela also created a very popular video for online viral marketing. This, combined with a big PR push, all within five months of launching the product meant the product had a high profile in the right market within a very short space of time.
Whilst developing the business Hil and Angela solicited advice and support from a wide range of sources. “It was initially a lot of trial and error and just lots hours figuring it all out. We would talk to ANYONE who had a business mind and pick their brains.” says Hil. “Now we have got to know the wonderful people at BIZ NZ, Grow Wellington and Creative HQ. The input they have had with contacts and resources has been hugely helpful! Not sure where we would’ve been now without them.”
Continuing on after the success of their first product Hil Cook and her team have others in development. And they’re just as excited about these ones
One of the products is an IPhone application for use in makeup and wardrobe continuity in Film and Television, an area often responsible for significant amounts of frustration not to mention expensive overtime, in the screen industry.
The process of developing and producing products that make life easier for their colleagues has provided much satisfaction for Hil, Ang and their team. It’s also built an increasingly successful business for them. They are full of encouragement for others also. “If you have an idea, get some good supportive people around you and go for it!” says Hil. “There is so much support out there for innovative gutsy people who are willing to give things a go. The blend of being an artist, innovative technology and making cash can be truly magnificent”