The story of My Wellness began, as any good entrepreneurial journey begins, with founder Manfred Adrio being retrenched from his job at the time.
After studying to become a food technologist, Manfred began working at Future Life as Quality Assurance Manager. After a restructuring, Manfred discovered that he would soon find himself retrenched.
“I’ve always been healthy and inspired to live a life where I focus on fitness.” recalls Manfred. “At the time the supplement industry was extremely small and I was taking some pretty straight forward stuff, just a Creatine and a Whey Protein.” The protein powder began to ‘Whey’ heavy on Manfred’s pocket and Manfred also found that it was impossible to find supplements without artificial additives. He recalled seeing Whey Protein at the Future Life factory, decided to look into developing an additive-free product & realised that he had come upon a healthy business idea.
“Being a QA manager you’re consistently audited by an outside company on the quality of your products. And to be able to be a supplier of Pick n’ Pay one has to pass extremely stringent health and safety requirements!” While being audited one day, Manfred pointed out that there where a few issues the auditor had overlooked. The challenge, friendly and in good spirit, resulted in the auditor seeing potential in Manfred as a future auditor and invited him to participate in a Lead Auditors Training course. “It was a very intense course! There were 20 people who took the course and only two passed.”remembers Manfred. “I happened to be one of them!”
With his Lead Auditors Training qualification under belt, Manfred now only needed capital to bring his idea to life. “I sold a flat on the Durban Esplanade during the property boom and made a decent amount of profit! I then used the cash to pay off my Corsa Bakkie and was left with 60k to start a business.” Beyond his interest in nutrition and health, Manfred is a keen surfer. And a good one at that! So much so that, Manfred was crowned SA Surfing Champion in 2015, defeating a host of South Africa’s most talented surfers to claim top honours. At the time Manfred was in the beginning phases of his competitive surfing career. “I entered the Nando's Lizzard Surf Pro and won the Bomb Award for most outstanding performance in the competition. So I walked away with an extra 8 grand to put towards my business.” Enthuses Manfred. “At the prize giving they asked me what I was going to do with the cash and I responded, “‘I’m going to buy some protein.’” laughs Manfred.
Like a real hustler, Manfred started selling product from the boot of his Corsa Bakkie, after surfs at the beach and to whomever was interested. Manfred’s big break came when he met John Berry, founder and owner of Kauai. “What a lekker oke.” Says Manfred. “We got on very well and John asked me to supply Kauai with my products.”
Manfred’s business, went from strength to strength. As a jack of all trades Manfred was able to use the knowledge gained visiting factories as an auditor to lay out his own factory, audit his own products and set up his own food safety system, all while developing all the products for Kauai himself. “As Kauai grew, so we grew and I was able to start my own brand. That’s how my first brand, Muscle Works began.” said Manfred.
Muscle Works took off! As the business grew, so the obstacles he faced also grew in stature. Suddenly Manfred found himself dealing with HR issues, increasing rent for his large factory and import issues regarding the tons of whey being brought into the country all while he was managing four supplement shops along with his own Kauai branch and building a house.
Safe to say, the ship had taken on too much. Looking for a break from the beautiful monster he’d created, Manfred moved to Cape Town. “I was also looking for a business partner to help bear the burden, but a good business partner is hard to find. It’s relatively easy to find people with lots of money, but I still felt like I’d be handling all the nitty gritty. I needed someone who could bare the burden financially and take some of the load off me.” remembers Manfred.
Long story short, Manfred ended up losing almost everything. Everything, except the formulas and ideas in his head. And as it turns out, that’s all you need to begin again.
That is how My Wellness was born. My Wellness is a story of rebirth. A story of redemption. It’s a story that exchanges brut force, muscle, power and growth for wellness and life.It’s placing your wellness above profit and your wellbeing; physically, mentally and spiritually as a cornerstone to a healthy life. Because Wellness is true Wealth.