Aya Assaf of Koala Picks tells us about koalified spreads.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Aya Assaf: We are adapting, and I guess everyone is used to the NEW Covid life. It’s been definitely challenging, especially with my kids, homeschooling, running a business, and taking care of the family, but still thankful for everything.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Koala Picks.
Aya Assaf: I’m a mother of 2 boys. I’ve studied business management during university and always loved the entrepreneurial life. I’ve worked for 6 years in one of the largest FMCG companies and gained a lot of marketing and sales experience. But once I had my first son, I decided to follow my own passion and start my first business, which was decorating and styling kids’ birthdays. In 2019, my husband and I decided to found “Koala Picks,” a brand that makes healthy snacks for kids, as it was a personal struggle of ours to find clean snacks for our own boys.
How does Koala Picks innovate?
Aya Assaf: Our innovation comes in reinventing snacks that kids love but in healthier and tastier versions. Our promise is No refined sugar, No preservatives, and No Artificial Ingredients.
We like to challenge the status quo in some categories and create healthier versions that parents can access easily.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Aya Assaf: It has definitely affected us financially. We had to put our life savings in to survive 2020; however, we made it through, and we are only hopeful things continue to pick up moving forward.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Aya Assaf: We tried as much as possible not to change a lot regarding our employees. Thankfully we didn’t have to let anyone go. We were keen on maintaining a positive work environment to keep our team happy during those tough times.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Aya Assaf: We don’t have specific tools for customer relationship; however, we pride ourselves in always maintaining a great level of customer service by ensuring excellent communication with our customers throughout our various channels and being flexible with their requests, especially during the times when no one knew what’s going to happen.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Aya Assaf: No, we didn’t benefit from any grants. It was all self-funded.
Your final thoughts?
Aya Assaf: Despite the struggles, COVID has given us, we are still grateful as it was a turning point for us to think and act fast to launch new products that will fit the needs of kids and parents during those times. During the lockdown months, we developed a whole range of breakfast cereals so kids who are staying home can still enjoy our healthy products, something that would have taken us a long time to develop, but we knew we had to act fast to get through those months.