Meet our People: Stuart Kwan, Astrid’s Head of Procurement

A picture of Stuart at Astrid Dispensary Byron Bay

Stuart is Astrid’s Head of Procurement where he is responsible for managing commercial relationships, supply chain, inventory and products that support Astrid’s daily operations.

He oversees vital aspects of Astrid’s day-to-day functioning, including managing business partnerships, optimising the supply chain and maintaining inventory.

At the start of his career, Stuart had several years of experience in the export trade sector. Stu began his journey with Astrid in January 2023, where he was struck by Astrid’s unwavering dedication to values and ensuring quality patient care. He found Astrid’s commitment to ethical practices and prioritising patient well-being commendable, which spurred him to join the team. Inspired by Astrid’s mission, Stu enthusiastically embraced his role and sought to make a positive impact within the organisation.

Despite his remarkable accomplishments, Stuart remains a picture of tranquillity and humility, and his positive presence at Astrid is truly cherished.

Stuart’s determination and passion for the plant industry inspires us every day.

We admire his calm, can-do and quiet-achieving attitude towards all things thrown at him. 

Learn more about Stuart and his role below. 

What is your role at Astrid? Can you describe a typical day?

I mostly work from our Melbourne HQ and my days consist of sourcing and communicating with our product suppliers. I am responsible for all products that we offer and dispense at Astrid. I’m also responsible for ensuring our suppliers comply with Astrid’s legal and company policies. 

I dedicate three days of the week towards meetings with suppliers, procurement, checking in at the dispensary, any process improvements and ad hoc requests. The remaining two days of the week I work on business development, reports and administration tasks. 

What do you love about your role?

I always look forward to working at Astrid each day as it provides me with an opportunity to network with all of our suppliers and create long-term business relationships.

There are hundreds of brands and products within our industry and for our patients. It’s a privilege to be able to connect with our suppliers and source the best products for Australians. 

At Astrid, we aim to only work with the best brands and cultivars who are dedicated to creating superior products for our patients. 

Within our dispensaries, it’s been fun to help source more lifestyle products like vaporisers, skincare, supplements, candles, and exclusive Astrid products. I help source all our Astrid merch – clothing, hats, and (recently by popular demand) Jibz too. 

Why did you want to work with Astrid?

For me, it’s all about the work culture. For most of my professional career, I’ve been a part of startup teams and I like working in fast-paced environments. Astrid has been the epitome of fast-paced supporting Australians since 2020 and the Australian industry is still evolving since the law changes in 2016. Within this industry, there are always product updates, new suppliers and changes to rules that keep me engaged with my work. I knew this role would be a good challenge for me to try to find the best quality and natural products for Astrid’s patients and customers. 

What do you like about the Astrid team and culture?

I admire the Astrid team’s unity and accountability. Each and every one of our team members’ work really hard to deliver the best experience for our patients. Each of us takes ownership of our work, and at the same time supports one another. I like to compare us to an NFL team – everyone’s a star performer, we’ve got great coaches to support us and we’re here to play a big game.

Stuart with the Astrid team at Astrid Byron Bay

What do you think people need to know about the natural therapies industry?

I think Australians should know that the industry is still in the early stages – especially in comparison to overseas markets. Patients need to find individual care that works for them and that there is a wide range of clinics and dispensaries now. I love working at Astrid because we’ve always been dedicated to doing the best for our patients. 

Because the Australian market is still in the early stages, we’re still developing the long-term frameworks and regulation for the industry to be sustainable. I’ve been grateful for Astrid to be able to support progress in Australia through real stories and advocacy as we have a specific role on our team dedicated to advocacy, patient stories and providing feedback to  the relevant regulatory bodies. And we’ve got a long way to go. 

Have you faced any stigma from working with cannabis?

In 2020, when I first entered the industry, my mum was unaware of the law changes for medical use in Australia. So when I shared that I landed a new role in this new industry, my mum mistakenly believed that I had started a new career dealing in illegal substances. When in reality, I was joining the healthcare industry. 

What do you hope for the future of natural therapies?

I would love to see natural therapies be perceived as a first line treatment rather than an alternative option. At Astrid, I’m always on the lookout for the most natural, often plant-based, and nourishing products available. It’s fantastic to see more brands pop-up with those values too.  

How does Astrid support you, your work-life balance, and your overall well-being?

Astrid provides me with all the support and tools that I need to carry out my tasks effectively. The management team, Lisa and Hansen, are always approachable, available, and very supportive. They have a great way of empowering their team to take ownership of tasks and support me to find the best natural therapy products for our patients. Our monthly team bonding over Korean BBQ is also a highlight. 

How do you stay up to date with the latest industry updates as well as the product or supplier updates?

I aim to stay up to date with the latest developments and updates by attending industry events and speaking with our current and potential new suppliers regularly. I love hearing feedback from patients about products they’ve tried, they’ve got benefit from, or that they didn’t like. So I also try to speak with as many patients as possible and also use review sites. 

Complete our Questionnaire to find out if you’re eligible for natural medicine with Astrid Clinic: astrid.health/astrid-clinic-services