Hi, I am Andrew, the founder of bemo. Originally from the UK, I’ve been in NZ since 1996 and I now live just north of Auckland with my partner Simone, our combined family of 4 kids, and Charlie our dog.
Over the last 25 years I’ve been lucky to learn by working for a mix of large and small businesses. I’ve worked with some of the biggest retailers around like The Warehouse, Torpedo 7, and David Jones. I’ve also been involved in founding and building a number of smaller businesses which gave me a great perspective on whats important.
I have always had an interest in natural health. When I lived in London 30 years ago, I found that taking Vitamin C stopped me getting colds so much. Since then I’ve used many products myself for things like my dodgy knee, stress, weight management, and general wellness. Before bemo, I was CEO of an eCommerce business and travelled to Australia or Christchurch every week. Whilst I loved the role, the constant travel put a real strain on my family.
Early in 2017, I had a major health scare, a heart problem. Suddenly my resting heart rate was irregular, and constantly high at 120 beats. The initial diagnosis wasn’t good. I’ll admit I was scared, I was 49 the same age my dad passed away many years earlier, and with young kids I was worried about not seeing them grow.
The initial treatment involved drugs, then more and more drugs. Whilst I continued with my job, the travelling every week, time with 4 kids, and now the drugs, I was totally exhausted most of the time. I’d been reasonably fit before, but now I could hardly walk-up stairs, I did try mountain biking one weekend and we had to be rescued! I put on weight and gained more than 15kg. But I was lucky to get a small heart operation in 2018. This was a big success and, with much relief, I slowly came off the drugs.
To get healthy and lose weight, I needed a goal. When I came to NZ in my twenties I was always tempted to enter the NZ Coast to Coast event but had been too lazy. Aged 50, over-weight, under-fit, and without much training time left I entered the event. I’ll be forever grateful to Dave Morgan, my friend from the UK who came over to do the race as well. In February 2019, over 2 days of trail running, cycling, and kayaking I finished the 243km race from the west coast to east coast of south island – it wasn’t fast but just finishing was my goal.
My health scare, and coming out of that made me reassess what I wanted to be doing every-day. I’ve always had a passion for natural health, it’s helped me in the past, and more recently through my recovery. I also wanted to work with my family and be closer to home each week. Most importantly, we saw an opportunity for more people to get the benefits of natural health, simply and easily.
We started bemo with our first digital store in early 2020.