Written by Hannah Mladenovich
For the last five years, brothers and co-founders, Asim and Qasim have navigated the world of entrepreneurship. Managing the business world from the other side has been no small feat for these two and they have certainly faced many lessons and growing pains in addition to their accomplishments.
As ZYN continues to grow and expand, it is important to reflect on the journey that got the company to where it is today. Brothers and Founders, Asim and Qasim, discuss what this journey means to them, what they have learned, as well as what to expect for the future of ZYN.
Q: What Inspired Your Launch of ZYN and How Has That Inspiration Brought You to Where ZYN is Today?
Qasim: “We have grown up with natural remedies our whole life. Our ancestors used it, our parents used it for us growing up, so we depend on nature to heal most of our ailments. The personal incident that happened with our father developing terrible pain in his foot from diabetes after a long flight coupled with the fact that we depended on Turmeric and other plants to heal our stomachaches and headaches, sprained ankles, and sleep issues was the genesis of launching a healing, all-natural product that we could share with everyone.”
Asim: “We believe in the power of mother nature. We want to spread the goodness of all-natural healing versus the massive push of pharmaceuticals that have the potential for massive side effects. We want to put the power back into humanity through the use of what is provided to them by the Earth to help lead healthier, better lives.”
Q: Looking Back at the Last 5 Years, What Has Been Your Greatest Accomplishment?
Qasim: “Well for starters, Asim and I haven’t gotten into any fist fights! That would be a major accomplishment to mention–no physical altercations…yet!😂”
Asim:Creating a family business and products that we are proud of, as well as teaching my kids what goes into that process and the amount of work that it takes, has been a huge accomplishment.”
Q: What Has Been the Most Frustrating/Hardest Part of Owning a Company?
Qasim: “The frustrating and exciting part, for me, is that this is a new industry that we didn’t have experience in. We came in very green. Learning how the industry works, trying to navigate it, and putting our own outside perspectives on it has been a challenge but also a very exciting journey.”
Asim: “For me, it's everything that is outside of our control. As a business, we can do everything right and the minute that our product leaves our dock, we’ve lost control. It’s the constituents in the middle that can sometimes cause waves that we have to solve for and plan around to ensure the product arrives at its end location safely, on time, and in the best possible condition.”
Q: What Did You Do Prior to Starting ZYN? How Has That Experience Helped You As Owners?
Qasim: “I spent 20+ years in finance and the skills that are required to build a consumer-focused business are very different from a finance perspective. I’d say my life experiences, outside of my previous career, have played a larger role in building ZYN.However, I have learned a lot having been in finance which has served the business well in terms of maintaining a financially-healthy company.”
Asim: “Same here!I was in the finance industry as well for 20+ years wearing a suit and tie every day (now it’s trucker hats and flip flops).In a start-up, entrepreneurial environment, there is no structure, no processes. We have to figure everything out ourselves. Having our foundation in finance has helped with the technicalities of this business, like Qasim mentioned, but our new mindset is the ‘learn as we grow’ approach.”
Q: What Did You Expect Running a Company Would Be Like?
Qasim: “I expected a lot of hard work, growing pains, and looking at everything with an eyes wide open approach in terms of the challenges. Like any business and life itself, it's the unknowns that you have to be prepared to navigate with common sense.We are passionate about growing this business, passionate about our product, we know it provides results–while it has been challenging; it has also been extremely rewarding and that motivates us to come in every day and work harder.”
Asim: “I always knew there was going to be a lot of hard work. That is something that I always look forward to–the stress, problem-solving, daily tasks–it has become a part of my everyday life and something that I have come to appreciate and enjoy. The hardest part for me has been understanding the different elements that make up a business and how those pieces fit together to help everything grow. Learning about the ins and outs of marketing, advertising, trends, consumer behavior and how those elements contribute to the success of the business when it is infinitely changing has been a fun, yet challenging venture.”
Q: If You Could Offer Yourselves a Piece of Advice When You First Started, Knowing What You Do Now, What Would It Be?
Qasim: “I am glad we are doing this now, but I wish I would have taken bigger risks and challenges earlier in my life. I would have told myself to follow my passions sooner as opposed to waiting.”
Asim: “I should have pursued my passion earlier in life, too. It is a scary thought to go from a security blanket to being completely naked and blind. Which is basically what you are as an entrepreneur or a start-up company. You don’t know how things are going to turn out, but it is always worth it when you are following your passion–it can be scary but it will always find a way to work out.”
Q: What Do You See For the Future of ZYN? What is Next?
Qasim: “We want to continue to share what we believe in and what has worked so well for our parents and ancestors within our culture to more people in the west. We are looking forward to growing our business to further give back in our community which is part of our B-Corp mission. ”
Asim: “We always strive to bring nature’s goodness to humanity. We are going to continue to lean into our blend of Turmeric and Black Pepper (for absorption) and create channels with that through the use of new product launches, including moving out of single-use plastic.