While studying for her Law and Commerce degrees at the University of Auckland, entrepreneur Kate Gatfield-Jeffries co-founded Moodi, a mental wellness brand for women. Kate was part of the Velocity 100k Challenge and worked with the Aotearoa Centre for Enterprising Women.

Where does your interest in innovation and entrepreneurship stem from?
I have always been fascinated by entrepreneurs. As a teenager, I read books by legendary founders like Richard Branson and Michael Hill and was captivated by their stories of creating something out of nothing. I wrote in a notebook when I was younger that I would be the CEO of my own company before I turned 40.

How did you get involved with the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE)?
Exploring entrepreneurship was always a dream for me, and when I got to university, I discovered the valuable resources there to help make it happen.

I entered the Velocity 100k Challenge to put my business idea for Moodi to the test and see if it had the potential to succeed. This experience gave me the confidence to take my idea to the next level and create a minimum viable product.

I then spent my final year at university researching and developing Moodi, my current business. The following year, we launched our first two products, and it has been a wild ride ever since.

How did the idea for Moodi come about?
For years, the supplement industry has neglected women’s mental health. 48% of women suffer from stress and anxiety – impacting our health, relationships, and careers. I founded Moodi to fill this gap and help women feel their best.

Our supplements contain clinically proven, patented active ingredients for stress, sleep, focus, and energy. We develop delicious, powdered supplements for drinks and smoothies formulated by experts to deliver results.

Moodi has been in operation for about 12 months now – how is it going?
Starting Moodi has been an incredible journey. We are doubling the size of our business every quarter, which is both exhilarating and challenging!

Before launching, when we placed the first production order for the minimum few thousand units, I recall thinking, ‘How am I ever going to sell this much product?!’ And now, a year later, we can barely keep up with demand.

We’re excited to keep building our product range and expanding into new markets. We plan to increase our presence in retail and explore opportunities in Australia and the US.

It sounds like there have been many highlights since launching Moodi – what is one personal highlight you’ve experienced in your journey?
If I had to pick one, it would be my recent trip to the US. I was selected to be part of an Accelerator Programme for 26 young women entrepreneurs and was the only founder outside the US to participate.

As part of this, I pitched Moodi to a panel of judges at the Women in Business Conference in Nashville and placed second in the competition, winning a $10,000 prize. I was honoured to be given this platform among leading women entrepreneurs. As a small early-stage business from New Zealand, breaking into the US market is a strategic goal. These opportunities are a significant step forward and validate that we are on the right track.

Eight people standing on stage at the Women in Business Conference in Nashville holding a cheque for $10,000. Kate Gatfield-Jeffries is fourth from right.

Kate (fourth from right) at the Women in Business Conference in Nashville.

What advice do you have for students at university or about to enter university?
Identifying your unique sense of purpose is important. It might be your career, your community, your family, or a passion project outside of work or study. It will be something that excites and energizes you!

It’s empowering to explore the things you might enjoy getting good at. No one starts as an expert, and even experts are still learning. Feeling fulfilled while on the journey can make the challenges ahead easier to overcome.

There is a lot of pressure to follow the ‘right path’. I saw that a lot with my peers at university. You need to ensure that the dreams you are chasing are your own. Follow your gut on what’s right for you.