Bonnie Howland

During a trip to Vanuatu Bonnie met a solo mum with cataracts in both eyes, who's eyesight was getting progressively worse. The woman’s daughter had to drop out of school to take care of her, and the condition could have been fixed by a simple operation. Bonnie isn’t an eye surgeon, but wanted to help.

Bonnie is 21-years old, based in Wellington, and her goal is to help cure treatable blindness in the South Pacific. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Indigo & Iris, an ethical beauty company whose first product, Mascara For Sight, will help to pay for restorative eyesight operations in the Pacific. A partnership between Indigo & Iris and the Fred Hollows Foundation will fund the much-needed surgeries.

Key steps in the journey

Bonnie took part in Live the Dream – New Zealand’s accelerator programme helping young social entrepreneurs to develop their ventures. Whilst there she learnt about social enterprise business models, connected with mentors and other entrepreneurs. After the programme, Bonnie made the bold decision to put university on hold to focus full time on Indigo & Iris. 

Bonnie has since spoken at the New Zealand CEO Summit; received a scholarship to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya co-hosted by former US President Barack Obama; and more recently won an international youth leadership award. She’s incorporated the company, and has been focused on developing product, finding the right manufacturer and is getting ready to launch.