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