Our Story

Every business starts with an individual having an idea. Our story begins with Founder, Julia Charity - a Dunedin-based Entrepreneur, former scientist, mother and poet. What follows is her interpretation of how and why she started the 'Look After Me' accommodation network: 

"They said I was crazy and maybe it’s true,Former Scion scientist Dr Julia Charity based in Rotorua - Now Founder and Entrepreneur of Look After Me - New Zealand's on line peer-to-peer market place

To start my own business, in an Industry new.

A scientist I was, genes were my thing

But one day I had, a bolt from the blue….

To launch a new network, of homes with good cheer

A haven for travellers, with hosts who will care.

With hosts who will care – it’s not just a bed,

A place to find kinship, and rest for your head.Look After Me - New Zealand's best Hospitality and online accommodation market place

 

What should I call it? I pondered and schemed…

A name that was worthy, for all of my dreams?

I thought about what, it was destined to be

And after much musing, called it ‘Look After Me’.

It’s ‘Look After Me’, cos that’s how you’ll feel

Staying in places with people, so real.

So I chucked in my job and chanced it to luck

launched it in time, for the Rugby World CupJulia Charity launched Look After Me - an accommodation network for New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup in 2011. Seen here at the Rotorua Museum World cup road show.

                   [in 2011, that is….]

 

I sold up my house, to do whatever it took

Put everything I had, into making it work.

It wasn’t easy, starting from scratch,Basking in the sunlight on the New Zealand cycle Trails - accommodation by Look After Me

I was brave, I was fearless, with no safety hatch.

Within six months, I had my first crash and burn

Just one of the lessons, entrepreneurs learn.

See my website was built, by a white-collared crook

The platform unstable, too dodgy to book.

 

So I called up my Mum, some friends and a man,Work Placement team with Waiariki students working at Look After Me to relaunch the website on our first birthday

Please lend me the money, this time I’ll plan.

They invested and backed me to rebuild on-line,

Then I called up some students to relaunch on time.

Our new look was aqua, not green and not blue

Our logo was a hammock girl, christened ‘Ahu

With a life of its own, we started to grow

A network of homes with people who know

How to look after, where standards are met,

A network of places, where it’s not just a bed.

 

We supported the cycle trails, nearly all 23,Go cycling on the Rotorua Cycle Trail - stay with Look After Me providing accommodation on this trail and many other Cycle Trails around New Zealand

We popped up with events, and in every city.

We won some awards, big ones and small,

We made global history by hosting them all.

I’m proud of this network, its people, its places.

I’m humbled by the pride, in my shareholder’s faces.

You see we are kiwis, we’re the best on this planet

Manaaki (hospitality) - for us, it’s a habit.New Zealanders are the most hospitable in the world - No 1 in how they treat tourists. Photo shows Maori hongi (pressing noses) - symbol of welcome to New Zealand

 

Maybe you wondered, what happened to the man?

I realised I loved him and asked for his hand.

He still walks beside me, he’s the beat of my drum

Supports me with Alice, to be the best kind of Mum.

So this is our story, it’s humble, you’ve heard

You’d be welcome to join us, or just spread the word.

They said I was crazy, and maybe it’s true

But call us, when you want us, to ‘Look After You.’ "

 Julia Charity

 Founder

Look After Me Accommodation Network and 

The World's First Digital Hotel - Stay Dunedin

 

PS: Want to know the 'real' story? What really happened?  Contact Julia by email. She is looking for readers for her manuscript 'Secret Diary of an Entrepreneur' - it's the story of a Plant Molecular Biolgist's dream to revolutionise tourism in New Zealand. 

Read more:

Our Philosophy

About the Idea

How it works

Our People 

Our Places

What do others say?

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