As smartphones dominate our lives more and more, people tend to cloister away more and more.
As much as we hate to hear middle aged marketers moaning about ‘The PROBLEM with Millennials’ (looking at you Simon Sinek), even I have to admit it’s rarer for young people to get together and plan outdoors adventures.
In a nutshell...
Dave, the founder of Everyone’s Adventure, started a business that plans not only on changing our somewhat blasé attitude to the great outdoors but also paying his business success forward to Wellington communities and families. His business, built on the social enterprise model, hires out bikes, kayaks and other outdoor equipment to Wellingtonians. “Being active benefits the community. It gets people talking, improves health and fitness and builds new habits that get passed down the chain” Dave explains over coffee at Mojo Poneke.
WHAT IS EVERYONE’S ADVENTURE?
Dave owns three little businesses - The Boatshed - Days Bay, The Bike Shed - Pencarrow and Cycle Rimutaka - under the Umbrella of Everyone’s Adventure. Together, these places hire equipment and facilitate access to the wonderful Wellington landscape and seascape, and make a great day out for us Kiwis in Summer. Everyone’s Adventure is built with a social enterprise bent. Rather than asking for taxpayers’ money, Dave is appealing to his customers to support a business that will make all gear hire free once the business overheads are met for the season. He wants to make it a self-sustaining business that people support to feel good in themselves, both physically and in respect of their community. “This isn't a one-off seasonal campaign,” Dave says, “We plan on this becoming an all year around community resource. It can make a difference to families that don’t have as much money, and those that do.”
WHY SHOULD I CARE? AREN'T THEY JUST ANOTHER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES PROVIDER?
Everyone’s Adventure has set up a business model where once their core business operating costs are covered (a total of $300,000 for the Summer), everyone and anyone can hire their bikes and kayaks for free.“Success for us is having a good financial result as a business, along with a great result for the community. Instead of having a 10/10 business result, we go for a 6 or a 7 and then let everyone else pile in” Dave explains. “It’s awesome to see the kids who haven’t had such an affluent background get to enjoy the same toys as kids who have had a better break. Giving them the opportunity to be equals is very satisfying.”
WHAT WOULD I KNOW THEM FOR OUTSIDE OF WORK?
Dave is a passionate outdoor enthusiast and can be found travelling here, there are everywhere around Wellington, working on growing his business.
WHAT DOES HE LIKE?
Bikes, surfing, his wife Alice and travelling to far-flung places. Being part of the Wellington community. Entrepreneurship with heart.
HOW DID HE GET HERE?
Everyone’s Adventure founder Dave was born on Waiheke Island. When he was a boy his family moved to Wellington and then when Dave was eight years old they moved to the Hawkes Bay (his parents became orchardists). “My family was by no means rich but they valued being together outside, whether we were camping down by the beach or hiring a bach that was three rooms too small. We had awesome Summers” he says.
“At uni I had this idea of myself living the corporate dream, driving fancy cars and throwing hundred dollar bills around. But the more time I spent preparing for that world I realised that it didn’t resonate with me all that much.”
After finishing high school Dave studied commerce at Victoria University. “At uni I had this idea of myself living the corporate dream, driving fancy cars and throwing hundred dollar bills around. But the more time I spent preparing for that world I realised that it didn’t resonate with me all that much.” Instead, Dave moved to Aussie when he finished studying, working in hops and surfing. When he came home, he got a job with Nestle working in a sales role. “I thought I would end up in marketing but most of the roles were in Auckland at the time, and I wanted to stay in Wellington.”
Dave thinks he was reasonably naive going into business. Even though he knew he was going into corporate machines, he thought they would be human oriented on a day-to-day level. “I was quite optimistic. After a year or so I realised that wasn’t the case and the ethos of the company was money through and through. There was internal propaganda, where they made out like they were the good guys helping charity on the side but really it was just about money at any cost” Dave explains.
As a slow burning realisation, Dave both understood that he wasn’t going to get happier by earning more money at Nestle, and started to think about what he wanted to spend more time doing. “I reverted to my old plan of grabbing a surf-board and jumping on a plane. I bought a one-way ticket to Indonesia. I ended up meeting up with a nurse friend who was working somewhere nearby some great surf. While I was there, I got involved in helping out - doing the dishes, handyman stuff, being camp mother essentially. I had no medical training but I was able to get involved in helping the local community.”
While there, Dave saw people living in extreme poverty. He realised that New Zealanders had it good and he wanted to have a role in trying to even up some of the imbalances around the world. Dave soon also met his future wife, who was a friend of his nurse friend. After backpacking around Europe for a few months together, he and Alice returned to New Zealand.
Dave looked for a job in New Zealand in the not-for-profit sector, but found that he was up against over-qualified former CEO’s. Dave says it was tough because he’d thought that working out he didn’t want to be in the corporate world was the hard part done. “That was a bit disheartening so I started looking around for alternative ways of doing good.”
Dave then saw a business on TradeMe - a boat shed in Days Bay. Something clicked. “I met the current owner the next day, and a few weeks later I bought it” Dave says, laughing. He says he was idealistic at first, but it took three years to build up the business in a conventional manner to get to the point where he is now. “For all the ambitions I had to build an alternative model, I had to run it in a very generic way before it was possible to start to think outside the box. Now we get people who can afford this experience to essentially crowd fund the experience for others who are less fortunate. It is a pay it forward model where we don’t make distinctions based on class or income.
“It’s pretty unusual to lay your cards on the table and expose what we are making - and by the power of deduction what we are taking home” Dave says. He shares where the company is at raising money online on www.everyonesadventure.com. “We need other people’s help, and hope our vulnerability will help other people get in behind it” Dave says.
Dave loves Wellington because of the spirit of the city. People close to him inspire him and keep him grounded.
Get outside this Summer and on the water in Days Bay, cycle to the Pencarrow lighthouse or take a daytrip biking on the Rimutaka’s. You can book a trip with an Everyone's Adventure business on their site to get Wellington closer to free gear hire, or keep an eye on how the campaign's going.