A Q&A With the Founders of WellTech Retail and Last-Mile Fulfillment Platform wellness.global
wellness.global, a WellTech retail and last-mile fulfillment platform for conscious consumers, brands, and partners, is on a mission to make wellness more accessible than ever. We sat down with co-founders Niko Kontogiannis and Levent Hamdemir to learn more about the intersection between tech and wellness, the company’s dedication to sustainability and social responsibility, and how to make your wellness goals stick.
Levent: As part of discussing a variety of business ideas, it became evident to Niko and I that there was a need and opportunity to build laser-focused efficiency and scale in a business that aligned with wellness and last-mile delivery. As part of this, we created a unique framework that enables a company to gain market share and build loyalty by providing exceptional service and value to both consumers and wellness-focused businesses looking to sell and distribute their products.
I previously worked at Amazon, P&G, Amway, and other companies mainly focused on the wellness vertical and last-mile delivery. From my first-hand experience working at Amazon, I recognized a significant need not being addressed: a company 100 percent laser-focused on providing last-mile delivery for wellness.
Niko: I’m a serial entrepreneur and co-founder, with a background in building and funding rapidly scaling businesses in the online world. I co-founded Fintech e-commerce ventures like VersaPay, which is the leader in customer-centric order-to-cash solutions. In 2009, VersaPay ranked as #1 of Canada’s emerging growth companies on the PROFIT HOT 50 list; it was also named among the fastest growing companies in North America and Canada on Deloitte’s 2020 Technology Fast 500 and Fast 50.
With wellness.global, Levent and I wanted to offer customers a curated, concierge-like experience in the world of wellness—but in a digital world that easily enables a more efficient transaction with last-mile/last-block delivery. We shared a vision of making people feel comfortable and enabling them to understand what wellness products would benefit their personal needs. With my background in e-commerce, I also shared Levent’s view that there was a considerable need for a company to provide the technical infrastructure and last-mile delivery services for companies looking to sell and distribute wellness-focused products.
Levent: Both of us recognize how challenging it can be to keep up with modern lifestyle demands. We’re building wellness.global to redefine the convenience of wellness with personalized delivery options and concierge-like, white-glove service.
Q. What are some of the core values that have been fundamental to the growth and evolution of wellness.global as a brand?
Niko: We’re building wellness.global to offer consumers a starting point and a destination for all wellness needs. This includes the convenience they deserve and a breadth of products to address all relevant wellness and beauty needs, complemented by intelligent experiences. Therefore, “intuitive,” “convenient,” and “trust have been the first three values we’ve deployed from day one and have been pursuing ever since.
Levent: We’ve curated the largest hand-picked selection of wellness and beauty products, delivered touchless/contactless to your door as fast as two hours. Our hope is that the simplicity and convenience of wellness.global will allow our customers to enjoy what matters most—life, sunshine, family, or whatever inspires them. This is why we’ve aligned our core with conscious brands, innovating every day to do good for people, the environment, and their communities. In other words, purposefulness and care cascade down on everything we do. We hold ourselves to a very high standard on sustainability and deploy hands-on processes such as our sustainable mini garden at our headquarters in Seattle, reusing or recycling all packaging materials we can, and deploying an all-electric fleet of delivery vehicles.
Q. Part of wellness.global’s mission is making it easy for people to achieve holistic health. What does holistic health mean to you?
Levent: We believe wellness is personal and essential to making the best of what life offers to us. The word holistic is a meaningful addition to our mission. It stands for a declaration that wellness isn’t possible without good health, mental clarity, and a sense of purpose to define what is ahead.
We represent a holistic approach with our product selection: hand-picked to cater to all needs that we can imagine, advanced by our eagerness to work on your terms—whether it is now or later, and presented with an intelligent suite of digital tools to make your experience personal and intuitive.
We want to inspire people to get things they need, whenever and wherever they need them, and craft a wholesome approach.
Q. Estimates value the global wellness industry at upwards of $4 trillion. In such a crowded market, how do you make sure wellness.global stands out?
Niko: Wellness involves anything that supports physical and mental wellbeing. Each of us has a different goal to accomplish in life, and wellness is how we get there—so, in this respect, everyone has a slightly different definition of wellness.
From a consumer standpoint, wellness involves a suite of products that can enhance the quality and joy of life in individuals’ eyes, with natural and purposeful products to support this. We already carry the largest curated selection of conscious brands to make sure everyone finds something that addresses his/her needs and desires.
Some of our top categories are beauty; skin care; athletic; home wellness; sexual wellness; natural foods; bath & body; personal care for men, women, and children; and, last but not least, pet wellness.
You can see how widely we’ve positioned wellness.global to be your life companion. Our laser focus and emphasis present us with the opportunity to be a trusted partner to pursue lifelong wellness.
Q. What are the three most important things you look for when sourcing new products? Why are these a priority?
Levent: Firstly, we source conscious brands that align with our journey to make a meaningful impact on the communities they are part of, individuals they serve, and the environment we all live within. We believe in an ecosystem we can build together with principles that we hold ourselves and our brand partners to that bring our vision of wellness to life.
Secondly, minority- or women-owned brands and small businesses that are driven by values that reflect their own ambitions and address concerns intimately relevant to the audiences they serve. Marketplaces across the nation aren’t built to enable this group of entrepreneurs the tools and services wellness.global offers. Empowered with the right structure, our platform allows them to drive their passion forward and provide the world with high-quality curated wellness products.
Finally, we look into their portfolio and its ability to serve the diverse needs of our consumers so that they can achieve their personal wellness goals. Every brand and product in our catalog is hand-picked, not just to fill a quota or reach a product number, but to offer the right holistic experience.
Q. You’re building the world’s first intelligent wellness concierge. Tell us more about that. What is it, and how does it work?
Niko: We envision a world of simplicity and convenience that is catered to your personal needs. Our intelligent wellness concierge will choose from a diverse selection of wellness products and services specifically designed for you to achieve wellness. This could be streamlined and personalized so that the world of wellness can orient itself around you.
We’re building an intelligent experience that empowers us to learn more about ourselves, with an abundance of digital tools to help us provide the best selections or outcomes for your personal needs. With every interaction using wellness.global’s intelligent wellness concierge, your experience truly becomes unique and personal. We don’t think that knowing which curated wellness products (based on your personal needs past/present) will be delivered to your home, gym, hotel, or on your business trip in two hours or less should be considered a luxury, nor should it be bound by any limitations. What can we say, we believe wellness starts here and it starts with you.
Q. You’ve partnered with REEF to deploy distribution centers in select markets, starting with Miami, that will enable product delivery in just a matter of hours. Why do you think it’s essential to offer an accessible and tailored wellness experience for your customers?
Niko: The pursuit of wellness is a life-long journey, and inevitably reflects a person’s environment. Imagine you had a long flight and changed multiple time zones. Your only goal is to sleep and rejuvenate, so when you realize you’ve forgotten your natural sleep products, the need to replace them comes, understandably, with a sense of urgency.
Our goal is to be within arm’s reach of any consumers’ whereabouts to deliver every wellness product or service on their terms. With its disruptive physical presence in prime real estate markets, suburbs, and via its proximity as a service platform, REEF enabled our vision to become reality, and we’re off to an exciting start in Miami and looking forward to expanding nationwide in the U.S. in 2021 and many more milestones together like Canada and Europe.
Q. There’s no doubt that self-care is vital to a person’s physical and mental health (perhaps now more than ever), but it can be challenging to prioritize. How do you make self-care a priority?
Levent: Wellness is an outcome of a series of habits and personal health choices. Self-care is becoming more widely accepted, and wellness is an outcome of many insightful self-care decisions.
To make self-care a priority, we believe there are three crucial elements: convenience, intuitiveness, and intelligence.
These are the same foundations upon which we’ve designed wellness.global to ensure we enable access to wellness as a right, improve its adoption, and enhance an experience that complements the consumers needs and desires. At wellness.global you are empowered to access the largest selection of conscious wellness products, find what you need either with AI/intelligent wellness concierge or human guidance in seconds, and it shows up in two hours or less.
Q. It’s New Year’s resolution season. What’s your advice to people who have pledged to take better care of their health and wellbeing? How can they avoid resolution burnout and successfully practice self-care throughout 2021 and beyond?
Niko: New year, especially 2021 following 2020, which was one of the most challenging years in modern history, is a moment for new wellness beginnings. New Year’s resolutions, like any resolution, start with day one or the day that you want to create a meaningful change for yourself. We’re committed to empowering consumers by providing all the tools they need, designed with them in mind, so any resolution regardless of the start date can become a wellness habit and be sustainable.
Q. What is wellness.global’s New Year’s resolution?
Levent: wellness.global’s New Year’s resolution and initiatives are to address the inequalities across society and communities surrounding us and enable access to wellness as a right. We believe in health and wellness as an individual pursuit, and we’re pursuing a purposeful journey together to raise the bar for all people. We also want to continue expanding access to wellness with the most extensive selection of conscious brands, and by providing life-improving experiences to new consumers every day. In 2021, we’re going to keep on delivering our brand promise: wellness starts here.