At the end of 2011, Kurtis Weins finished his degree in Mining Engineering in Canada at a time when it was very advantageous to be in the mining industry. Kurtis had a job offer in Australia prior to even finishing his degree and before he knew it I was working 50 hours a week. “My life went from living with my parents and studying to living halfway across the world on a six figure salary. Needless to say the first year was an incredible experience – partying every weekend with what seemed like an unlimited budget”.
Kurtis calmed down a bit the second year and started to think harder about what he really wanted with life rather than what everyone thought he should be doing (i.e. working full time). “Weeks seemed to fly by. I remember thinking “Yay, it’s the weekend! Wait, what just happened to the last five days?”. I realized my twenties were quickly disappearing sitting at a desk”.
After three years of work Kurtis decided to utilize what youth he had left, so he quit his job and hit the road. “At 26 years old, it seemed like this would be the last opportunity to go be a wanderer. I felt that if I didn’t take the leap of faith, I’d blink and all of a sudden there’d be a mortgage and 2.5 kids to worry about. I had a nice little sum of cash saved up with a rough travel plan and the prospect that anything could happen. I started my trip knowing at some point in my life I’d like to start my own business but I was still waiting to find inspiration for the right product to back”.
Opportunity sprung six months into his trip with some oddly timed food poisoning in Thailand. He found himself sitting in the bathroom for a few days and being very thankful for the “bum-gun” kitchen hose bidet next to the toilet. While still feeling under the weather, He flew back to Australia to see his girlfriend. “After two days and about five rolls of toilet paper, I thought “Why don’t they have more bidets in the western world?” and that’s when the light bulb switched on. I remembered the electronic toilet-mounted bidet seats I had tried previously in Japan, found a supplier, and got to work”.
That thought provoking moment came a couple year ago. Since then Kurtis has built, launched, and operated bidengo.com while continuing to travel the world. “I built Bidengo based on the knowledge that using a bidet seat or attachment can save you money on toilet paper while speeding up the bathroom process (especially after a bit of food poisoning). You leave the bathroom feeling fresher and cleaner than you ever would with toilet paper”. Kurtis wanted to find a product to sell that he actually believed in and bidet seats and attachments was what he found. “Modern bidets make a lot of sense in that they can save you money on toilet paper, they help the environment and they easily install on most toilets.”
It’s a tough life running a website while travelling. Kurtis compiled product descriptions while drinking beer between wakeboard rides in the Philippines, and wrote his most successful blog post
to date on a riverside deck at a B&B in Cambodia. Kurtis was able to put his whole drop shipping ecommerce business together for about $200 and about $100 per month to maintain. “This gave me the piece of mind that if the business didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be stuck in a big financial hole. When success comes, it’s also easy to automate the business for minimal input.”
Unfortunately after 19 countries and a year and a half of travel, savings are running low and Bidengo has yet to reach a point where it generates a sustainable income. “This means I will (temporarily) have to delve back into the regular working world, but at least there’s a framework in place to build my final escape from the nine-to-five life. I’ll put years in if I have to, but rest assured I’m not giving up on permanently living my own schedule. Once you’ve had a taste it’s pretty hard to let it go”.