Meet Victoria McKellar and Elizabeth Biggs, the clever and driven friends behind the popular probiotic and bio-fermented tonic company, Akesi. The two first met over eight years ago during the wonderful yet demanding early days of motherhood - raising babies and toddlers as expats in Singapore...
Sharing stories of health and with differing yet complementary career backgrounds their friendship evolved into a business partnership when together they realised their dream of creating Akesi, “We launched in November 2017 after spending over a year in research and development. We are a probiotic company and believe in the importance of nurturing the gut microbiota. We both really wanted to create a health and wellness brand that people could identify with, and provide a platform to educate people in the area of fermentation and probiotics,” explains Victoria.
Elizabeth trained as a medical doctor and practised in Ireland and Australia, while Victoria has a background in creating and building brands, mainly while in Tokyo. Both have travelled wildly and with a shared keen interest in their own families health and wellbeing (Elizabeth has four children and Victoria has three), they are fully immersed in the products they create and the benefits for the whole family. Victoria is candid about the catalyst for her passion for gut health and overall wellbeing, “My health journey was my inspiration behind forming Akesi. I had a lucky escape with a thyroid tumour over six years ago which led me down the holistic wellness path.” She recalls. “This, compounded by my third child being born prematurely and developing necrotizing enterocolitis, led me to enthusiastically research the importance of the microbiome and to search for ways to help my tiny baby, and my entire family.”
On creating a business with a friend? “We have certainly taken on roles that play to our individual strengths”, says Elizabeth. “Respect, patience and empathy belong to all friendships but they are the essential principles that enable you to transition from a friendship to a partnership.” This is a tale about optimising health, family, friendship and inspiring entrepreneurs.
We chat to Victoria and Elizabeth about raising families in Singapore, expat life, travel gems, and of course, the art and science of fermentation, and gut health and happiness for the entire family.