An education resource business, which began in the laundry of an Invercargill home, has gone global now supplying resources to 50% of Australian schools and beyond.
Managing director Nicola Smith says Essential Resources was created after she saw the need for better education resources in New Zealand schools.
Smith said she and business partner Geraldine Sloane started out small, while raising six children under 10 between them.
"We had to start somewhere so the laundry was the place we did everything and I suppose over the years we've grown strongly," she said.
From the outset, the vision for the pair was simple: work with the best, most passionate teachers to help make teachers' working lives easier by providing them with current, innovative, well-designed supplementary teaching materials.
Smith confesses the early years were lean. The pair taught themselves how to build a website; a database; use graphic design software; and the entire publishing process.
"Lots of hard work, slowly but surely and one step at a time," she said.
Smith said despite the modest beginnings, they always aimed high - with exporting part of the plan from the start. Smith and Sloane made this clear when they used the first of their profits to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair as part of the New Zealand publishers' stand.
The trip taught them a lot. When they returned to the same fair 12 months later, they discovered a contact from the year before had ripped off their books. They then decided to control growth and hold on to all aspects of production and distribution.
Exports now account for 60% of turnover with an average annual growth of 105% per annum since 2004.
The company supplies 90% of NZ schools, along with half of schools across the ditch and are rapidly growing in the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Shifts are worked across 20 hours to support the varying time zones and mathematics' resources are the top sellers.