Small Business: Greg Macpherson and his journey from a pharmacist to entrepreneurship

Greg Macpherson, founder of nutritional supplement company Science Research Wellness Laboratories (SRW), talks to Rahul Bhattarai about his new start-up which aims to tap into the global billion-dollar wellness industry.

What does your business do?

We work with leading scientists from around the world to create nutraceuticals that support cellular health. Our products and services help people achieve wellness.

The SRW product range includes three supplements; Cel1 Stability, Cel2 Nourishment and Cel3 Renewal formulated to rejuvenate the human cellular system and support cellular health.

What was the motivation for starting it?

As a pharmacist, I get to see the impact of ageing on people daily. Researchers are now starting to understand ageing at a cellular level and with that, identify ways to slow the ageing process down. I felt it was time to translate the new science into products that take the latest understanding of ageing so that we can all age better.

What’s your background, have you had other businesses in the past?

I have been a pharmacist for more than 30 years and founded Pharmacy Direct. It’s an online pharmacy that turns 25-years-old later this year. With co-founders, I brought the first robotic dispensing machines into New Zealand to make dispensing into aged care facilities much safer.

I was also the CEO of a biotechnology company for seven years and recently I authored a book to help people identify healthy ageing strategies called ‘Harnessing the Nine Hallmarks of Ageing – to live your healthiest life’. Essentially it’s a handbook on how to age well.

How big is the team today?

We have a team of 12 and expect to add one to two more this year and a handful more over the course of 2022.We work with partners in China and the US which add another 6-7 people to our team. We also have our advisory board of leading global scientists who refine and optimise our formulations.

How was your business launch affected by Covid-19?

We intended to visit our key export markets to better understand how we launch effectively with our partners. Covid-19 effectively shut those plans down and while we have done the best we can, even with all the latest video conferencing tools around, nothing beats being in market to support success.

What’s your focus for the remainder of the year?

Our primary focus is to launch SRW Laboratories and the Cellular System range into China and the US, support our NZ retail launch and maintain our new product development programme so that we extend our product offering in 2022. We also have a number of new products in final stages of development, so we expect to expand the range very soon.

Where do you see the brand in five years’ time?

SRW Laboratories will continue to review, curate and undertake anti-ageing research and translate that into products that our customers can use to support their health. We are working with key partners to develop a new health technology that will give Kiwi’s access to more tools to be healthier. We expect to have developed significant market penetration in China and the US over the next five years.

How does your product stand out in comparison to other products – what makes it unique?

It is a little known fact that the Nine Hallmarks of Ageing were identified by scientists almost a decade ago. This is the first time that consumers can access a product that supports your cell’s natural defences against these hallmarks – which actually cause ageing.

There are a number of products that support healthy ageing, but this is the first time that a range has been put together in a way that considers cellular ageing across all dimensions.

How are you planning to sell your product, will it be solely online or will it be retailed at the shops too?

In New Zealand we are selling through leading pharmacies and clinics, and direct to consumers through our online store, In China we have a partner that reaches over 10 million consumers. In the US we will be focussing on our online Amazon store to make SRW products available to consumers.

Has demand for anti-ageing products changed since Covid-19?

Completely! It may seem a little strange to be focussing on anti-ageing at this time but really what our products are doing is helping your cells be as healthy as possible right now with the goal of helping you be healthy over the long term.

What does the competition look like in this market?

At the end of the day, the more competition within this industry the better I believe – provided that we are all striving to improve human health and wellbeing.

What advice do you give to people wanting to start a business?

Get close to your customers; talk with them about your ideas so you really understand what they need and how they understand your products.

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