• Business Edge

    Spring 2017

Getting off the Ground

We’ve all been there. That lacklustre and dehydrated feeling after a long and arduous journey. Tired and thirsty, you stop to grab a refreshing drink and are confronted with nothing but walls and walls of lurid green energy drinks. So, where do you turn to…?

Wellness innovator, 1Above, is taking the recovery drink market by storm. Focusing on travel and everyday recovery products that will help people “arrive ready”, what sets them apart is the magic antioxidant and vitamin rich ingredient, Pycnogenol, a natural bark extract clinically proven to not only power and support your body but combat the length and severity of jetlag. Sounds pretty perfect, right?

1Above began its journey as a travel recovery drink back in 2007. Founder and frequent flier, Roger Boyd, was on yet another flight when another passenger very suddenly passed away. Coincidentally, Roger ended up sitting next to the doctor who treated the man. They got to talking about the toll that flying takes on the body and how it was so shocking that there was no product available to help people recover from travel. And so the idea for 1Above was born.

With the lofty ambition of helping people “travel well and arrive ready”, 1Above initially partnered with airport outlet, Relay (part of the Lagardère family, third largest travel retail in the world) and WHSmith and set about launching their first travel kiosks in New Zealand and Australia.

1Above CEO Stephen Smith explained how the ultimate goal at that time was to “connect the world’s most frequent fliers by having our product available in the biggest travel hubs around the world.” Having developed these key relationships with retailers who had a presence in over 90% of major travel hubs, the world became their oyster.

With CEO Stephen and COO Carl Kroger at the helm, the brand has gone from strength to strength. As well as having their travel product available all over the world, from New Zealand to Germany to Singapore, they quickly realised that the people wanted more! “Our consumers were using the product beyond the travel occasion” says Stephen, “they were desperate for a recovery drink that wasn’t packed full of sugar that they could use every day. So that’s what we’ve done!” In June of this year, as the health and wellness industry continues to boom, 1Above launched their range of newly rebranded products providing a low sugar hydration solution to their eagerly awaiting audience.

Building strong relationships is obviously at the heart of the 1Above operation. Since embarking on delivering more and more innovative products, (effervescent tablets and new drinks coming soon to a store near you!) they have received huge support from some iconic Kiwi brands including Foodstuffs and Les Mills, as well as international heavy hitters, BP and Caltex. They can also count international golf superstar, Lydia Ko, as one of their biggest fans. She can often be seen wandering the golf course with a bottle of blueberry and apple flavoured 1Above in hand.

Stephen and Carl run a lean, mean operating machine from their downtown Auckland office were they ship to a staggering 450+ distribution points in over 25 countries around the world and they are continuing to grow at a rate of knots, with their sights firmly set on conquering the airport drinks cabinets in the US.


Backed by BDO

1Above began to work with BDO back in 2011. As they began to grow and expand into other markets, COO Carl realised they needed to have the support of a firm that could help them structure themselves correctly to be successful in markets around the world.

“Simon Peacocke and the BDO team have been with 1Above from the start,” explains Carl. “Whenever we have a history question it’s really nice to be able to pick up the phone and say ‘give me the history, help me understand why we did this’ and they can do that.”

Aside from having that support at a local level, when 1Above started to look to move into the European market they were able to take advantage of the global BDO network. “One of the biggest challenges is you might get caught up in some legal loophole you didn’t know about so it was so key to be able to be connected with BDO people around the world to get it all set up right.”

With an ambitious and innovative team running the show and their sights firmly set on conquering the hydration and recovery space around the world, the sky’s the limit for 1Above!