SleepDrops Team


Kirsten Taylor – Managing Director | Diploma in Naturopathy, Diploma in Herbalism, Diploma in Nutrition

About: I am mad about sleep, getting people to sleep, improving sleep and making super cool sleep formulations that make people’s lives better.

I wasn’t always a such sleep enthusiast but after being in my Naturopathic clinic for 7 years I couldn’t deny the irrefutable evidence that not sleeping impacts on every single body system. We all know that now because the science has caught up and every one is going on about it – which is a very good thing. For me, discovering that sleep is so important, early on and focussing on it so that I can positively impact on every aspect of people’s lives drives me to keep going. I LOVE helping people be healthier and happier. I am determined to take SleepDrops to the world so we can help as many people as possible sleep better. Imagine what a fantastic world we will have?!

What is something not many people know about Kirsten? I originally wanted to be a lawyer.


Rufus Chan – International Business Manager (Operations) | Diploma in Nutrition, Diploma & bachelors in Naturopathy

About: Rufus Chan has had a love affair with numbers all his life. He has a background in business since he was 17, shadowing executives and corporate leaders to learn the ropes.  By day, Rufus analyses SleepDrops’ operations and manages its supply chain. By night, Rufus manages two other companies which he’s co-founded – just for fun and when he has a spare moment he also consults to various SMEs around Auckland.

What is something not many people know about Rufus? Rufus recently drove 20,000km’s from London to Mongolia…. in a Honda Jazz – seriously who would do that?!


Valentin Ponyaev – IT Manager | Degree in chemical Engineering, Degree in Computer Science, Diploma in Web Development, Diploma in Network Engineering

About:  Valentin Ponyaev is a Web Developer, E-Commerce Specialist, IT Manager and Engineer at SleepDrops International Limited

Before starting at SleepDrops, Valentin spent 10 years at leading a New Zealand plastics manufacturing company where he was in charge of designing and implementing new tools and machinery. After a successful career in manufacturing Valentin felt that it was time for a change. He then spent the next 3 years learning best web developing practices from the top developers in New Zealand and all around the world. Now at SleepDrops he has the opportunity to utilise his entire skill set from designing to building, from concept to live.

What is something not many people know about Val? He enjoys creating and trying new things…. like the time when he was 6 YEARS OLD and built a motorbike…. Mac Gyvver!


Paige Cowley – Naturopathic Sleep Specialist | Bachelor of Health Science (Naturopathy)

About:  Paige is our resident Aussie and one of our Naturopathic Sleep Specialists here to help all of our customers achieve their best sleep.

With over 8 years’ experience in the health industry, first as a nurse and now as a naturopath, Paige has dedicated herself to learning, understanding and educating on the best way to empower health and wellbeing through the life stages. She is passionate about helping people achieve their health goals and believes that poor sleep is often a major block for healing. When not focused on tackling people’s health challenges you can find her searching the New Zealand coast line for the her next surf spot, or drinking endless cups of tea with a good book.

What is something not many people know about Paige? She has been in love with her husband since high school…CUTE!


Mia Yang – China Marketing Coordinator

About:  Mia studied international business in London England. Once back in China, Mia worked at the Agricultural Bank of China (one of the 4 biggest banks in China) as an account manager of corporations. She came to New Zealand after to continue her career in the finance section working as customer service manager of commercial accounts at IE Financial Services Limited. In her personal time she worked as a “Daigou” which is where Chinese people act as personal shoppers for their friends and family in China. This has given Mia strong skills and experience needed for SleepDrops to build this very important channel as first entry step into the Chinese market.


Denny Lee – Graphics Designer, Marketing Coordinator | Bachelor of Art & Design, Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design

About:  I have been in the marketing and graphic design sector for the last 10 years and I am passionate about creative graphic design and marketing co-ordinating. I’m a fully qualified graphic designer with a Bachelor of Computer Graphic Design and a Bachelor of Art and Design. I have been influenced in art & design by my mum who is an artist and an art teacher.

Honestly, I am super passionate about (apart from my lovely family) expressing and delivering crazy super cool designs at SleepDrops every day.

What is something not many people know about Denny? Denny was once a hot Asian guy on Korean T.V – Sorry ladies – He’s taken!!


Paul Kung – Warehouse Manager | Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, Certificate in auto engineering, Certificate in office management

About:  Paul was born in Hong Kong and had been living in New Zealand for 24 years. He has an engineering background and had extensive management experience in multisite operation.  He is also equipped with years of experience in the logistic of pharmaceuticals and cosmetic manufacturing industry.  Paul loves music and sports and enjoys working as a volunteer in his free time.  Paul is a dedicated Buddhist and is a proud grandfather of a little girl who is a talented ballet dancer.

What is something not many people know about Paul? Paul is actually a petrol head and he learnt to race Motorcars in Japan – GANGSTER!


Sandy So – Lab Technician

About:  Sandy was born in Hong Kong and was a qualified garment manufacturing technician before coming to New Zealand with her family in 1995. She has years of experience as a packing supervisor in the cosmetic manufacturing industries in New Zealand.  She enjoys cooking for family and friends and is a self-taught baker.  Sandy is a Buddhist and love working as a volunteer in the temple.  And yes, she loves watching cooking shows and soap- opera’s.

What is something not many people know about Sandy? Sandy had won 2 medals in a swimming gala when she was studying in a technical institution.


Peggy Khor – Lab Technician

About:  Peggy was born in Malaysia and came to New Zealand in 1996.  She enjoys working at SleepDrops and love meeting the team every day. She is a mum of two sons, who are both in high school. Peggy loves cooking Malaysian food… she actually use to work as a chef in a Malaysian restaurant.  In her spare time Peggy enjoys jogging, shopping, watching movies, spending time with sons and living her life with passion.

What is something not many people know about Peggy? Peggy makes a mean Malaysian curry… YUM!!


Milo – Official Welcoming Committee

SleepDrops Team

Prudence Murray – Sleep Scientist – Advisor

I began my career in the field of physiology in 1999, and have since had the privilege to work within public, private, and industry facets of the sleep health industry, both in New Zealand, and within the international community. 

During this time my focus has shifted from a purely clinical interest to a passion for delivering great health care, and promoting wellness, both in healthy populations, and those with aspirations for improved health and function. Developing services, processes, and innovative measures to not just meet, but exceed these goals is what I thrive on! 

I’m keen to adopt and develop new technologies as vehicles to meet such objectives, love problem solving and thinking outside the square, and thoroughly enjoy leading teams to success on these fronts. I aspire to work with like-minded individuals and organisations, both in New Zealand, and on the global stage

Michael Durbin – Independent Advisor

Mike Durbin is a General Manager at Manuka Health New Zealand Ltd with responsibility for International sales and marketing. Prior to joining Manuka Health, Mike held a range of strategic business development, sales and marketing positions in Natural Health, FMCG, biotechnology, healthcare arenas. Notable is his five years as National Business Development Manager for Goodman Fielder, where he directed sales and marketing efforts in the Route Food Service Channel.

Mike holds a Bachelors’ degree in Microbiology and a PhD from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Mike’s greatest strengths are his creativity, drive and leadership. He thrives on challenges, particularly those that expand the company’s reach.

Nitin Patel – Pharmacy and Health Channel Advisor

Nitin is a Director and experienced distribution business manager at ANZ pharma, SleepDrops pharmacy and health channel partner. Nitin has a strong honest personality making it easy for him to build solid relationships in the natural health and pharmacy channels of New Zealand. Nitin is very good at data analysis which helps to drive company strategy and decision making. Nitin and his team act in the capacity of the SleepDrops Key Account Manager with the responsibility for managing the SleepDrops brand in Pharmacy, Natural Health and Wholesaler Accounts.  Nitin has experience in driving business for both ANZ Pharma and SleepDrops in Natural Health, Pharmacy and FMCG with a strong background in sales within New Zealand, Australia and other key markets.  Nitin’s greatest strengths are his patience, honesty, straight up “lets fix it” attitude, an open door – open book policy and his passion for helping others both at work and in his personal life.  He strives to always create win/win sales strategies to deliver immediate results and foster long term business growth for all stakeholders.

Brett Tibbotts – FMCG advisor – CEO – House of Fine Foods

Brett and his family have been dedicated to the FMCG industry in New Zealand with Brett alone working in the industry for over 21 years. His company House of Fine Foods works with 15 global brands including AFT Pharmaceuticals, Nandos Sauces and Haribo. House of Fine Foods distribute to 426 retailers.

Robin Chang– FMCG advisor – General Manager at House of Fine Foods

Implicit within this, is his proven ability to actively set and drive strategies and activation in line with the commercial and category plan, with a firm handle on owning and delivering financial results . His superior cross-functional knowledge and strong understanding of the impact on the wider business, means that he can offer a business-wide and a more strategic view of growth opportunities. His skills further extend to business negotiation, strategic account development and senior customer engagement.

 Robin operates with a high level of authenticity and integrity within all business and customer interactions, and is a personable and effective communicator.  His core value in managing, coaching and developing people results in high-performing & highly engaged teams that are able to grow brands, business and relationships.