Health & Herbs International Ltd

Healthy business philosophy delivers healthy bottom line

As alternative health remedies continue to gain popularity across the globe, one Auckland-based company has been helping to make access to herbal health products easy and affordable here at home for the past 22 years.

Brett Edmonds is the CEO of Health & Herbs International Ltd, a New Zealand owned, natural products importing and distribution company based in Albany on Auckland’s North Shore.

The company was founded in 1989 by Naturopaths with the intention of making available the best alternative natural healthcare options for consumers. Brett joined the company in 1999 and, after seven years working in the business, he purchased the company in 2006 and began working on the business.

With a medical technology background and 11 years’ sales and marketing experience in medical publishing, Brett says he has always been involved in healthcare and to take over the reins at Health & Herbs was a natural progression.

The company offers both high quality international and New Zealand brands of dietary supplements and natural cosmetics and is recognised nationally as the major importer and distributor of American dietary supplements.

While most brands are imported in their finished form, Radiance is the company’s own New Zealand brand with products wholesaled to pharmacies, health stores, beauty salons and natural health care practitioners across the country. A significant proportion of Radiance products are manufactured in New Zealand to certified regulations and to the company’s own ‘kiwi-specific’ formulations. Key products are now exported to the USA.

In support of the growing consumer thirst for natural health options, the company also offers consumers a comprehensive, home-grown educational website, to complement its Health & Herbal News quarterly magazine that Brett believes is a vital component of the business.

“The speed of brand awareness and uptake from the new digital media is inspirational and a reflection of what is required of successful businesses today. Our challenge is to keep up because consumers are becoming more knowledgeable. Pharmacies can lead the way by recommending unique premium products, and leaving the simple commodity versions to the supermarket ‘self-selector’ customers,” he says.

Health & Herbs has been with Markhams for five years, after both Brett’s lawyer and personal banker recommended Atul Mehta, Markhams Auckland director. Brett says he calls them The Famous Three; “They each know how the other thinks, what to expect of each other and can trust each other – it’s like a dance,” he says.

“Bringing Markhams on board has been invaluable in that they took me a couple of steps up the ladder immediately, helping us balance fiscal prudence with strategic development,” says Brett. “And it’s working.”

When he was looking to purchase the business Brett says Atul undertook a full due diligence with a difference. “As he has many pharmacist clients, and heads up the Markhams Pharmacy Business Development Unit, Atul’s understanding of the industry was invaluable. He understands our marketing direction as he is already talking to that customer base.”

Brett says his company’s success factors are primarily a passion for absolute uncompromising product quality, operating with honesty and integrity, and having an intimate understanding of customer and staff needs.

“We are very fortunate to be supported by excellent internal team dynamics and external advisors committed to forward thinking growth. I rely on them to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. It’s like having extra wives, they keep me focused on the big picture.”

Published Winter 2011.

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