Our collective has a few big names, but mostly grounded, everyday legends. We've made it our duty to explore the lives of our community, and share unique stories we can relate and aspire to.
Our second feature is on Andy Bowie - serial adventurer, entrepreneur, overachiever and vision of men's health.
I have got to know Andy over the past year or so, and was lucky enough to draw the curtain on how he structures his life with respect to adventure and the outdoors, health & wellbeing, and his entrepreneurial pursuits.
Drawing the curtain on Andy
Adventure & Outdoors
You've done some pretty epic missions and adventures, including a good stint freestyle skiing and coaching.
What would be the most memorable thing amidst all of that to date?
Man that’s a hard question. I think the most memorable & rewarding aspect of my time competing then coaching is seeing the young guys and girls I was lucky enough to work with grow into not only amazing skiers, but also confident, talented and respectful people. It showed me what a good community, purpose and a healthy dose of outdoors can do to help shape people for the best in their younger years.
That is great perspective, and sounds like it was really rewarding. What about the craziest thing you've seen?
The freeski scene has been insane for the last 10 years. As soon as it became an olympic sport it just went bananas. People think business moves fast these days, but progression in the halfpipe and slopestyle was insane. The X-Games have just blown each previous year's event away - that progression has been mind blowing.
What has been the funniest thing you've seen?
A few years back, we bought some snowmobiles in Colorado to give us backcountry access for skiing. However, we quickly ditched the skis and just went shredding pow on the sleds instead. Funny thing was we got stuck, ALOT.
It was the worst when you got stuck and had to dig out for an hour, but soooo funny when you found someone else buried.
Your wagon looks stacked! The roof tent is a vibe. How can someone get sorted with a rig like that?
Ha! A cheap subey outback is the best. Pick one up on TradeMe for $5k and you’re set to rip mountains, beaches and city streets.
For the tent - Rogue Outdoors! A good friend Matt has these puppies which he custom designed and are the cheaper options on the market. His website doesn’t work, but ring him on 021820206 and say you know me!
What are your bucket list adventures this summer in NZ?
I’m off to Great Barrier Island again for the third year straight, albeit without our yacht, 'Eye Candy', this year. Plan is to score some waves, catch some fish and put the feet up after a bumpy year!
Health & Wellbeing
It's pretty hard to find Andy Bowie in a rough patch. You always have a smile on your dial and beaming optimism.
What's your secret mate?
Ha! I think I realised pretty early in life that the ‘worst case scenario’ usually isn’t the ‘likely scenario’ so there’s no point stressing about it. I’m also a big believer in only worrying about the things you can control, and if you just do your best, generally you’ll be pretty lucky and be able to keep smiling.
Beyond work and adventure, we are big on physical and mental well-being.
How important do you think the balance is?
Sooooooooooo important. We only have a short time on this amazing planet and our bodies & minds wear out even faster so we need to make the most of them while we can.
It’s too easy to get all consumed in a career, then suddenly pull your heads out of the weeds and realise there were lots of other things you wished you’d seen, done or accomplished. Having a bunch of other experiences also helps give me energy at work.
Variety is the spice of life...
How do you maintain it?
I try exercise in the mornings, with a run or ride, then use my midweek evenings to see friends and family, then weekends are to escape the city and make some memories.
I know that if I don’t do these things, I’ll be worse at work, with less energy, so they are easy to prioritise. I will also never sacrifice sleep for work. At least 7 hours a night, everynight!
What are some of your goals in these areas in the short - medium term?
Movember! A bunch of high school friends have got together to run 2000km and raise $2000, so I’m on the hook for 200km this month.
Please help raise awareness for men's health and prevent men from dying too young. You can donate to my Mo Space here.
Work & Startup
After so much success launching UberEATS in ANZ, surely you could have gone and got another very solid job.
What drove you to found your own business and specifically start My Auto Shop?
Mum! Funnily enough, I was weighing up 3 options:
1. Another corporate 'city job',
2. Back to the snow for a ‘lifestyle job’
3. Start something from scratch.
Mum told me, “You’re young, go do something hard”, and I listened.
The sexy industry of Auto-Repair was not where I thought I’d find myself, but the opportunity made a lot of sense and I figured I have the relevant experience to bring it to life.
What is the My Auto Shop elevator pitch in two sentences?
My Auto Shop makes car maintenance easy. You can now see tailored prices before you buy, from hand selected, rated & reviewed mechanics, for whatever job your car needs.
For the people dreaming and thinking about diving into a startup or that idea they've been mulling over.
How did you get it started?
We did a bunch of market research, found a couple of mechanics who were happy to help, then within a couple months had a rough and ready MVP to start operating with and learn the ropes.
Words of advice and wisdom?
I think getting a cheap MVP off the ground early and actually starting to ‘do the thing’ is important. It gives you momentum, let’s you learn by doing and also means you’re committed.
A great book to read is “The Right It’ by Alberto Savoia which talks about building cheap MVPs for different business models.
You are working with some very young, keen and high potential uni students at My Auto Shop. I bet that gives you great energy and makes you feel rewarded. That said, as the sole founder (or leader with experience) it can be emotionally tolling.
Where do you get your calm, direction and clarity amidst very challenging lows of the roller coaster ride?
You’re not wrong. The ups and downs are real. If I was to do this again, I’d definitely try have a couple more folks in from day 1, with different skill sets to help with both execution and motivation.
What are you most excited about for My Auto Shop going forward?
2021! This year has been a bumpy road for everyone, but also a great exploration / learning journey for us. We think we are close to having the recipe right, and ready to make a big push next year.
Obviously you've got into a few of our gears, so it would be rude not to talk about those.
When you pulled on those Finn gears for the first time, beyond feeling unbelievably smart and sexy, what feeling did you get?
I felt ready of course! The cut is great and the shorts are super functional. I ran them all over Northland fishing, surfing and hiking straight out the packet. Worked a treat!
It's great to hear those shorts are staying strong across some of those outdoor niches beyond acting as a purely functional gym, swim or board short. That's what we made them for!
If you were to sell the Always Ready Shorts to someone - what would you say?
Ever lost anything out of your pocket? Thought so. You need these shorts….
Very nice. Thank you Andy!