Arizona's path took a few twists and turns. She excelled in combative sports at a young age but suffered from depression and injury which had a tough impact on her life. Despite her set backs, she pushed forward and created an innovative moisturiser.
Arizona Brodie is a 25-year-old Aberdonian who has created the world’s first anti-chlorine moisturiser made almost entirely from natural ingredients.
Arizona grew up in a single parent household. She remembers: “My mother has been employed and has been an entrepreneur herself but due to problems we faced as a family we’ve never had money or much security for very long.”
Despite these struggles, Arizona did well in education and went to University where she discovered a passion for combative sports. Despite dropping out in her fourth year, her passion for sport remained.
“For the next seven years I dedicated myself to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training as hard as I could to compete at the highest level and make a career for myself.”
Her achievements in the sport were impressive – after competitive success at a European level, Arizona had her sights set on competing on the world stage, but still felt something was missing. Outside of training she suffered some depression, began getting into a bit of trouble with the police and things started to spiral downwards culminating in a severe personal trauma that turned her whole life upside down. Wanting to escape, Arizona packed up her things and escaped to Poland for three months, undertaking intensive training and living frugally on the profits made from selling her possessions.
Away from the influences and bad memories of home she started to regain some optimism and when her money ran out returned to the UK with the clear objective of achieving a world title that year. Fate had other plans however and on her journey home Arizona suffered a slipped disc in her back. With all her hopes pinned on winning that world title, she continued to train but it became increasingly clear she wouldn’t be fit for competition and the injury was getting worse. Without an all-consuming purpose, the darkness crept back in: “It seemed like everything was working against me and I couldn’t move forward.”
Realising something needed to change Arizona sought counselling and took up swimming to aid her recovery. But being in the pool up to 4 times a week, left her with severe dryness, peeling and a painful burning sensation on her skin. The only moisturiser which made a difference was a natural mango butter concoction made by her mum. Researching the ingredients Arizona discovered the high levels of vitamin C in mango counteracted the effects of the chlorine. She worked to perfect the formula and dreamed of turning her discovery into a business.
“At first, it was purely a creative exercise - in an imaginary world where I had all the resources and could actually do this, what would I do to make this a business? The more I thought about it and planned it, the less it seemed like a totally unfathomable, impossible possibility.”
Business Gateway put Arizona in touch with The Prince’s Trust where she took part in the Enterprise programme. She was also encouraged to apply for the competitive Elevator Accelerator program and, against her own expectations, was delighted when she was accepted.
“It takes a lot of self-belief to take a chance on something like starting a business, it’s a huge commitment with little guarantee of reward,” Arizona recalls. “Self-belief is something I lost through all of the difficulty I went through, mentally and physically. I went from being a capable athlete to someone who couldn’t even lift a shopping bag. I went from being secure in my confidence to hardly being able to look someone in the eyes.”
“My own story has taught me that people can raise you up, even when you’re lower than you ever thought possible. I’m aiming to build a brand and community that raises everyone up so no one has to feel like I have. For me, a huge motivator is the potential to affect social change through my business.”
Having recently received European approval for her brand, which will be launching in in mid-October, Arizona credits the support of the Enterprise scheme and the experience so far – speaking to customers, sharing ideas, trying to get people on board with her vision - with helping her to stand up and believe in herself.
“Although I’m on a more positive path now, life is never simple and I feel certain that things won’t go perfectly. However, unlike before, I don’t feel defeated by that prospect because of the amazing network of support I have around me and the confidence that has come with taking bold action and leading others.”