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Holly Sutich – Naturally Energised

Holly Sutich and Bradley Hagen

Holly Sutich

From Kristin to building a successful start-up business, the past six years have been an incredible journey for Holly Sutich.

After graduating from Kristin in 2014, Holly chose to study a Communications and Business conjoint degree at AUT. She loved writing and the art of communication, as well as the world of business so it seemed the perfect way to nurture these passions. Holly credits Kristin for her love of business: “My love for business came from an amazing Kristin business teacher who I still catch up with now – it is crazy how one person or influence can send your life on a new trajectory,” she says.

Being involved in lots of clubs and charity work at Kristin, Holly hit the ground running at AUT, throwing herself into the world of tertiary education and all of the opportunities that came from getting involved in the wider university community.

Although she’d dreamt of working in the world of business, Holly never imagined starting her own company. Then in her first year of university she met Bradley Hagan, a fellow AUT student, and together they identified a gap in the market: “We saw a clear problem, being first-year students – energy drinks. These drinks that we all depended on for late nights powering through assignments and study, that were filled with artificial ingredients and refined sugars. We searched the market for something better. Our research showed nothing.” And so, Phoric energy drinks were born. Holly and Brad embarked on a mission to create the clean, natural, energy-boosting drink that the market was screaming for. “We worked like madmen, studying full-time for three years, and working on Phoric with every spare minute we had!” says Holly.

In 2018, seeing the potential of their product concept, Holly and Brad made the decision to change to part-time study and began working full-time on Phoric. “The opportunity in the market was there – but it wasn’t going to wait around for me to finish my five-year degree,” says Holly. Holly and Brad worked tirelessly to perfect the Phoric formula, undergoing significant product trials and winning the AUT X-Challenge, winning $20,000 in cash and $20,000 in legal and business advisory packages. With a prototype product and seed funding, Phoric launched in May 2019 and has found favour not only with students, but also with professionals and coffee-drinkers looking for a more refreshing, natural alternative to a hot coffee on a sunny day.

With one year of trading under their belt, supplying to Foodstuffs’ stores in the Upper North Island and plans to expand nationwide as well as now managing the business risks associated with COVID-19, it has been an incredible year of learning and growth for Holly so far. “I am currently continuing to grow Phoric, chip away at my degree and have the opportunity to be a Trustee on the Board of Recreate NZ, an amazing charity providing life-changing experiences for youth with disabilities. I love continually learning and growing my skill set, and giving back to the community, which we also do with Phoric, with money from every sale going to Mental Health in New Zealand. So, all in all, I could never had predicted what a whirlwind the past six years have been, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” / Instagram: @phoric


Come and visit Kristin

Step inside our gates and see for yourself what makes Kristin so unique. We invite you to take a tour and observe a typical school day. Take the opportunity to engage personally with student guides and staff.