Helping heartbroken New Zealanders: How a broken heart led to a business idea

Saskia Shaw turned her heartbreak after a breakup into a business plan.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff
Saskia Shaw turned her heartbreak after a breakup into a business plan.

Does belting Taylor Swift, surrounded by tissues and ice-cream sound familiar?

Instead of continuing this cycle, Christchurch resident Saskia Shaw decided to turn her heartbreak into a business plan.

The Break Up Box​ is a range of custom gift boxes each with a theme to suit whatever breakup someone is going through.

Shaw came up with the idea while having a breakup celebration party with her girlfriends after leaving a toxic relationship a couple of years ago.

READ MORE:
* Entrepreneurial couple reinvent vending machine business goodies as dessert boxes
* Here's six business lessons I've learnt from watching Instagram entrepreneurs on Boss Babes
* Auckland students donate 'treasure' to Women's Refuge

Her friend brought a cake that said “bye-bye toxic”, which had since become the name of one of her boxes, and she thought there needed to be something ready-made specifically for such occasions.

After discussing business ideas with her workmates, taking a couple of online courses in business, and the Covid-19 lockdown providing lots of time to work on her idea, the Break Up Box launched in April this year.

“Once I started I never stopped working on it, I love it,” Shaw said.

The Break Up Box’s mission is to create beautiful gifts for broken hearts, as well as a world they immerse themselves in, with curated playlists, movies, an engaging Instagram account, and a private Facebook group in the works.

Break Up Box provides those going through heartbreak with a nice gift to help cheer them up.
Supplied
Break Up Box provides those going through heartbreak with a nice gift to help cheer them up.

“The idea was that you get a nice gift, but that isn’t going to fix the deeper issue of going through a breakup because that’s really hard,” Shaw said.

“I wanted to create something that goes beyond a product but work on building a community.”

Although it was a niche product, business had been good so far, she said.

With Covid-19 lockdowns causing a spike in breakups, Shaw had a boom of orders from Aucklanders during this year’s lockdown.

Each box she created was inspired by a breakup that either she or one of her friends had been through.

Shaw hopes to build a community around the business too.
Supplied
Shaw hopes to build a community around the business too.

Shaw’s favourite was the Glow Up Box, which she described as the “healthiest box”.

It encouraged people to look and feel their best, which was how she dealt with her own breakup.

Shaw’s top breakup tip for anyone going through one now is to shift focus from the breakup to something you are passionate about – in other words, refocus your energy.

Her experience of a toxic relationship had opened her eyes to the horrors some women experienced in relationships, and she wanted to give back.

Shaw’s favourite box is the Glow Up Box, which she says encourages healthy transformation.
Supplied
Shaw’s favourite box is the Glow Up Box, which she says encourages healthy transformation.

A portion of the proceeds from each box sold is donated to Women’s Refuge.

Shaw was now working on growing the Break Up Box community and releasing more boxes.

“I have always wanted to own a big business,” she said.

“Break Up Box has been the biggest learning opportunity I have ever had, and I hope to be able to use everything it’s teaching me to expand further into the business world.”