Getting enough bottles to keep up with 300 per cent monthly growth was one of the biggest problems for SleepDrops naturopath, medical herbalist and nutritionist Kirsten Taylor.
She told the PwC Herald Talks breakfast this morning of overcoming many issues to expand the business, now targeting the US$800 million ($1.2 billion) sleep medication market in global expansion plans.
The bottles were coming from Germany via only two annual production runs, so the decision was taken to ship them here from China by boat.
She also told how “one major international airline” was allowing pilots to use SleepDrops and how 53 per cent of pilots were falling asleep involuntarily and when they woke, up to 40 per cent of their co-pilots were asleep beside them.
Taylor was the keynote speaker, joining a panel which included Massey University vice chancellor Steve Maharey, entrepreneur Diane Foreman and JUCY chief executive/founder Dan Alpe.
Foreman got a reaction from the audience when she revealed how she drove past the future employees’ houses, “their biggest asset” so she could get an insight into their personalities.
People might interview for a job well but their house could be “disgusting”, she said, citing the example of finding a one prospective employee’s house with a broken down boat out the front and an unkempt garden.
“So I wondered how you are going to grow my business if you can’t look after your house?” she said.
She also interviews partners, telling how she discovered one undergoing IVF. Yet the partner needed to travel for the new job.
“How was I to know? You have to know the family situation,” she said telling of five separate interviews for a future employee.
Alpe told of launching into the United States where one obstacle to growth was Americans thinking the business was selling fruit juice. So it had to call itself JUCY RV Rentals to make it clear what it was selling.