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

John Kirk Anderson/Staff

Saskia Shu turned her heartbreak after the breakup into a plan of action.

Does Taylor Swift’s belt surrounded by napkins and ice cream sound familiar?

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

The Break Up Box is a collection of personalized gift boxes each with a theme to suit any 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 two years ago.

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Her friend brought a cake with “Goodbye Toxic” written on it, which has since become the name of one of her boxes, and she thought that something should be ready especially for such occasions.

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

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

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

The Break Up Box offers those who struggle with heartbreak a nice gift to help them cheer up.

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The Break Up Box offers those who struggle with heartbreak a nice gift to help them cheer up.

“The idea was to get a nice gift, but that wouldn’t solve the deeper problem of having a breakup because that’s really hard,” Shaw said.

“I wanted to create something beyond the product but building a community.”

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

As Covid-19 lockdowns have caused a spike in break-ins, Shaw has seen a boom in orders from Oaklanders during this year’s lockdown.

Each box she created was inspired by a breakup she or one of her friends experienced.

Shaw hopes to build a community around the company as well.

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Shaw hopes to build a community around the company as well.

It was Xu’s favorite glow box, which she described as “the healthiest box.”

He encouraged people to look and feel their best, which is how she dealt with her breakup.

Shaw’s most important breakup tip for anyone going through one right now is to shift the focus from the breakup to something you’re passionate about—in other words, refocus your energy.

Her experience in a toxic relationship opened her eyes to the horrors that some women have experienced in relationships, and she wanted to return the favor.

Shaw's favorite box is the Glow Box, which she says encourages a healthy transformation.

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Shaw’s favorite box is the Glow Box, which she says encourages a healthy transformation.

A portion of the proceeds from each fund sold is donated to the Women’s Shelter.

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

“I’ve always wanted to own a big company,” she said.

“Break Up Box was the biggest learning opportunity I’ve ever had, and I hope to be able to use everything it taught me to expand even further into the business world.”

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