Jia Wertz - Contributor
Entrepreneur and documentary filmmaker
In an economy filled with countless examples of struggling industries, the wellness industry is quite healthy — booming, in fact. With an estimated worth of about $1.5 trillion globally, wellness products are consistently sought after, and the future looks bright, with predicted annual growth trending at 5 to 10%.
Durana Elmi, Co-Founder and COO of Cymbiotika, a leading provider of supplements and other wellness products, shares her top four strategies to bringing your entrepreneurial vision to life and turning it into a successful business. She and her Cymbiotika co-founders are on a mission to change the way consumers embrace their wellness and transform the industry.
Identify A Gap In The Market
Originally from Afghanistan, Elmi grew up in a family that embraced Eastern medicine, and she grew to develop a deep appreciation for holistic well-being. This appreciation — and disappointment with what was currently available in the market — drove her desire to create a different kind of company focused on alternative healing and Eastern medicine.
“Identify where there is a gap in the market, and cater directly to that market. Be original and authentic to ensure success,” says Elmi. “When I looked at what was being offered by the wellness industry, I was disappointed by the low quality and harmful ingredients in existing products. We set out to make a difference. Today, our company is proud to offer high quality, meticulously sourced products, free from fillers, synthetics, or toxins. Our products empower individuals to regain control of their health and live with intention,” she says.
Be Diligent With Your Research
“Do the necessary and thorough research to understand how your brand or product will be received by different cultures and people as you expand. Do your values align? Are your ingredients ethically sourced or acceptable in this country?”
The company prides itself on their ingredient sourcing. The process is meticulous, requiring certifications from manufacturers and suppliers to ensure products can meet specific consumer needs and preferences, such as Kosher, non-GMO, and certified organics, and that they are sourced sustainably. “We work hard to find the best source for the company but also keep in mind what is happening in that geographic area or location,” she says. “For example, we source our DHA from Nova Scotia and Iceland to ensure quality.”
In today’s consumer-driven landscape, transparency is key to building a lasting relationship with customers built on trust. “It’s critical to know what we put in our bodies because it’s the fuel we run on.”
Create An Interactive Hub And Inspire Change from Within
“Create an interactive hub that takes your product-based business and turns it into a movement, a social outlet, and an educational hub for like-minded people,” advises Elmi.
Education is at the forefront of Elmi’s mission, particularly education about one’s health, and she’s woven educational opportunities into the company’s website to turn it into a hub for transparency and insight, offering a knowledge center, live streams and personal interactions with experts as well as an interactive quiz to help customers personalize their online experience and find the supplements that best fit their lifestyle and wellness goals.
“These provide valuable insight into the products and even specialized tips on how to optimize wellness,” she adds.
“My daughters and the women in my office inspire me daily. In Afghanistan, women don’t have the same opportunities that we do here in the United States.” Elmi is dedicated to nurturing a culture of empowerment and providing positive role models for other women. “I know the power that I hold, and I must be a strong role model for the women around me.”
She advises others to practice discipline daily because it’s essential to success. “I love the quote ‘Excuses make today easy but tomorrow hard, and discipline makes today hard but tomorrow easy’.”
Despite its high standing and continuous growth — or maybe because of it — the wellness space is constantly in flux, and trends come and go. For Elmi and other leaders in the wellness space, this poses the constant challenge of navigating a sometimes-unpredictable market. Without a resilient leader who understands their costumes and is still willing to take risks, a company can struggle.
Stay True To Your Mission And Values
So what’s the secret to Cymbiotika’s success in an industry filled with momentary trends? “As a company, we’ve always prioritized remaining authentic to our message and products. We will never compromise on quality,” says Elmi.
“Turn inwards to the mission statement and values of your company rather than solely rely on trends that come and go. Find inspiration in the people and the problems they face that are around you. A successful brand is one that solves a consumer dilemma.”
She is optimistic about the future, with plans to keep growing and expanding globally. “We recently expanded into the UAE market and plan to build our global footprint.” She also has plans to expand the product line into other aspects of life. “Health goes beyond the supplements you are taking.”
What advice does Elmi have for other up-and-coming leaders? “Remain genuine about your passion, and remember why you started in the first place,” she says. “Embrace change because change is inevitable, but remember your ‘why.’ Trends come and go, but your audience will know when your brand comes from a place of sincerity.”