Shakti Mat – the portable ‘bed of nails’ goes from budding business to global enterprise

Media release from Shakti Acupressure Mat

Two years ago, Jonathan Heslop and George Lill were budding entrepreneurs selling beds of nails from the back of a tent in South Auckland.

Fast-forward to today, and they’re still together in a business which has expanded from struggling to sell five mats a week to a global enterprise operating from a warehouse and office in Christchurch, employing nine staff.

What they’re selling is a simple but effective health tool based on the Indian ancient practice of lying on a bed of nails to enhance relaxation.

The Shakti acupressure mat is about the size of a doormat, an organic cotton sleeve coloured with organic dyes, inserted with a padded mat with fixed non-toxic, recyclable plastic spikes.

It’s touted as supporting healthy circulation, boosted energy levels, sound sleeping habits and muscle relaxation. In an age when many people are sitting all day and experiencing life’s everyday stresses, it’s a phenomenon that has thousands of converts of all ages.

The enterprising duo has just spent five months in The Netherlands expanding Shakti mat into Europe, setting up a company that sells in the UK, Netherlands and France.

Lying on a bed of nails might seem odd to most, but company directors Jon and George owe the success of Shakti Mat to the plenty of sterling testimonials and reviews they’ve received.

The idea for the business venture was sparked almost four years ago on a holiday off the coast of Thailand in Ko Pha Ngan. Having used the mat and curious to learn more, they discovered it had a strong following in Sweden, where a staggering 10% of the population own a Shakti mat.

“We were drawn to the mat right away because George and myself both take an active interest in mindful health and we appreciate the practice of yoga, acupressure and meditation,” says Jon.

“We saw a chance to introduce it to New Zealand and we took it. There is an awakening around people wanting to make better decisions about their physical and mental health and Shakti Mat is a tool that helps support relaxation, big or small.”

After a year of traditional retail platforms of expos, mall stalls and door-to-door sales, George and Jon decided to transition Shakti Mat into an e-commerce business, prompted after seeing the online response from sending a mat to health and wellness blogger Makaia Carr.

“Makaia introduced our product to an audience of women who are active and interested in health and wanted to learn more about healthy habits,” says George.

Embracing e-commerce and using other digital influencers has seen their business grow, with many top-tier rugby teams and other sports stars among its fans.

Back in Christchurch, the growth of the business has meant expanding the tight knit team that all work as part of a positive collaboration, keeping much of it ‘in the family’.

“We’ve been able to employ friends and family including my Aunty who is our office manager, and at lunchtime we all take a break from the factory and enjoy football and ‘Tai Chi at 3’,” says George.

About the Shakti Acupressure Mat:

– The business started when George and Jon finished university and borrowed some money from each of their parents to invest

– George and Jon now work alongside Om Mokshananda, the creator of Shakti Mats. His initial response when they pitched the idea of retailing the mats in New Zealand was “Where’s New Zealand?”

– Om practices meditation in the Himalayas living the simple lifestyle of a monk

– Jon’s introductory Shakti Mat ‘blanket rule’ is to try it every night for a week and see what you notice

– A recent Swedish study reported that 98% of users experienced pain relief and customer reviews on their website have hit 1,500, with an average 5-star rating

– Shakti Mat retails at NZ$69

Please go here for a video on how the Shakti Acupressure Mat works.

Picture caption:

1) The Shakti acupressure mat is natural health tool to support relaxation

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MAXRaft joins ‘exclusive club’ on 2017 Deloitte Fast 50

Media release from MAXRaft

The company behind the only fully-insulated concrete slab in New Zealand is once again celebrating achieving outstanding growth within its business.

Queenstown-based MAXRaft has joined an ‘exclusive club’ by featuring in the Deloitte Fast 50 index for an impressive third year in a row, ranking 33 in the 2017 index.

The countdown of the country’s fastest growing companies (from 50 to 1) took place in Auckland last night (Thursday November 9) at the prestigious Deloitte Festival of Fast Growth.

Having been in business for just four years, MAXRaft has a revenue growth of 224% for 2017 and employs 15 people. The company ranked 15 in the national index for 2016 with a growth rate of over 405%, and 33 in 2015 with growth of over 257%.

The company was named Fastest Growing Manufacturer for Dunedin and the lower South Island at the Deloitte Fast 50 regional awards in October, for the second year.

Stoked to be ranked amongst some of the New Zealand’s highest-growth companies, MAXRaft General Manager Henry Edney described the Festival of Fast Growth as “inspiring”.

“It’s hugely motivational to be able to network with such a diverse range of businesses and industry experts that are all achieving outstanding growth,” he said.

“To be ranked as one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing businesses for the third year is phenomenal.

“Our outstanding growth is a testament to our staff and their commitment to innovate and test new concepts and ideas to further improve our offering.

“Our company has achieved impressive year-on-year growth due to our niche product and our mission to help New Zealanders build better homes.

“We continue to implement strategic changes to our business plan to ensure we keep growing in a sustainable way. And with that growth, we’ll build on our teams of contractors and full-time onsite crews in each of our target markets across the country.”

For more information about MAXRaft go to

You can see the full list of winners here.

Photo caption:

1/ A fully-insulated concrete slab by insulated foundations company MAXRaft, which ranked 33 in the 2017 Deloitte Fast 50 index

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One office space remains in multi-million-dollar business park in Wigram, Christchurch

Media release from Harvard Hub

Investors and owner-occupiers are being targeted by the original developer of a multi-million-dollar light industrial multi-use business park in Christchurch.

Harvard Hub is situated just off the city’s Southern motorway in the heart of Wigram, only six kilometres from the Christchurch CBD.

It’s home to 22 individual units spread over five buildings catering for a wide range of businesses and the developers have just one first-floor executive space left on their books – on one of the last B5-zoned sites to be consented for office units outside the CBD.

Most units have been sold to owner-occupiers since the development launched in mid-2015, with the ‘connectivity’ of Wigram and continued growth of the nearby Landing retail complex and Wigram Skies residential development proving a huge drawcard.

The fact its located on a sun-soaked piece of flat, desirable land with key transport links including the $30m overpass linking southwest Christchurch to the central city and Blenheim Road means it’s been a ‘poster child’ for suburban business growth.

Paula Raine of Ray White Commercial said the development company had seen the potential for the site from the outset and existing businesses at Harvard Hub were “delighted” with their move onsite.

The mix of tenants includes Ray White Real Estate, Adidas, communications specialists Quasar Systems and long-established Foleys Plumbing alongside growing local firm Mainland Roofing.

Others such as HCB Technologies, and Wigram Dairy are joined by the hugely popular Meshino Café with its loyal client base of fans.

For those investors and owner-occupiers there’s the chance to own the very last space available — all 275sqm of it with great views, heaps of natural light and the ability to be split into two separate tenancy areas.

It comes with fully-ducted air conditioning, six car parks and an impressive central stairway to draw in the clients. An incentivised sale package includes a generous fitout package of $115,000 +GST and a two-year leaseback providing an investor with an annual rental of $88,575 pa + GST and outgoings for two years from settlement date.

Ms Raine described the sale package as an “early Christmas present” for anyone who wanted to join the many successful businesses that call Harvard Hub home.

“The revitalisation of the Christchurch CBD is now well underway but there are many, many businesses contributing to the overall health and wellbeing of the city’s economy outside of the four avenues,” she said.

“Some set up shop in what many think of as suburbia out of necessity following the earthquakes, then found that they flourished in their new settings and never wanted to go back to the CBD.

“The advantages of developments such as Harvard Hub are well-documented, including ease of access to transport systems, parking right outside their office doors and a real sense of community.

“The buildings themselves are brand new and built to cater for flexible office, retail and warehouse use.

“And close to the development you’ve got a full-size New World, childcare centre, and two more cafes and restaurants. Literally everything anyone needs is right on their doorstep.”

The last office space is being marketed by joint sole agents Ray White Commercial, Glass Miles Commercial, and NAI Harcourts. Investors or owner/occupiers are invited to register their interest for a full Property Information Memorandum. A Deadline Private Treaty Sale closes at 4pm on Thursday 23 November 2017 (unless sold prior).

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Queenstown student awarded tourism scholarship

Media release from AccorHotels Queenstown

One lucky Queenstown student has been granted a scholarship to give her the ultimate kickstart in New Zealand’s booming tourism industry.

Wakatipu High School (WHS) student Harriet Dennison, 18, will study a Diploma in Hospitality Management at the award-winning Queenstown Resort College (QRC), thanks to an inaugural partnership between four Queenstown hotels and the college.

The scholarship covers fifty percent of tuition fees for the two-year course and includes a guaranteed paid internship placement at one of AccorHotels’ market-leading Queenstown properties.

The four properties driving this scholarship are Hotel St Moritz, Novotel Queenstown, Sofitel Queenstown and Mercure Queenstown Resort.

Hotel St Moritz General Manager Jo Finnigan presented the scholarship at the high school’s Senior Prizegiving on Thursday afternoon (November 2 2017).

A delighted Harriet said it was “quite incredible” to receive the scholarship.

“I’m very excited to be able to gain further knowledge in the tourism industry through QRC, especially here in Queenstown, my home town,” she said.

“I’m thrilled to have received this scholarship because AccorHotels is such a well-known global brand, and I’m looking forward to learning here in the environment that QRC provides.”

The scholarship was a collective vision from AccorHotels and QRC to open up the world of hotel business to Queenstown students, exposing them to a compelling career path in tourism with the option to travel worldwide.

Students applied for the grant by submitting responses to several questions, including an inventive 100-word response to “the secret of their success if they ran a world-renowned Queenstown hotel in 2028”.

Harriet’s ‘thinking outside the box’ approach led her to create a 100-word mind-map to visually explain her success, outlining every element of running a successful hotel including facilities, customer experience and management.

She also came up with a catchy motto “we deliver what you want, before you know it”.

Hotel St Moritz General Manager Jo Finnigan particularly loved Harriet’s creative application.

“It’s fantastic to see the next generation excited about a career in New Zealand’s dynamic hospitality and tourism industries,” she said.

“Harriet came across as a natural leader and I look forward to watching her career unfold.

“I’m hopeful this inaugural scholarship inspires a pipeline of high school students in the future.”

Queenstown Resort College Chief Executive Charlie Phillips said the scholarship was a “great opportunity” for Harriet to work within New Zealand’s largest export industry.

“Gaining a recognised qualification in the tourism and hospitality sector provides a competitive advantage when it comes to maximising employment opportunities,” he said.

“We look forward to welcoming Harriet to QRC early next year.”

Harriet will begin her Diploma in Hospitality Management at Queenstown Resort College in January 2018.

Picture caption:

1/ Tourism kickstart – Queenstown Resort College Chief Executive Charlie Phillips (L) and Hotel St Moritz General Manager Jo Finnigan (R) presented a tourism scholarship to Harriet Dennison

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