Lara Noujaim and Vanessa Zuabi speak about how Mint Basil Market helps customers discover, learn about and purchase healthy and natural products
Tell us about your company.
Mint Basil Market is on a mission to make healthy living easy and accessible to all. We make it easier for customers to discover, learn about and purchase healthy natural products and we do this through a content-driven online platform hosting a wide-range of highly curated products ranging from food, natural beauty, and cosmetics to eco-friendly household cleaning products. We partner with health experts to curate unique content like recipes and health tips around our products, and we make it easy to search according to your specific diet and health needs.
What services do you offer on the market? Who is the target audience?
Our target audience is typically between ages 25-40 with a university degree. Someone who absorbs a lot of their content and information through social media. Most of our customers are juggling a lot at once and have limited time to spend finding and discovering the right healthy natural products for them and their families. We also have many sub-segments of customers ranging from mothers, vegans, keto-diet, gluten-free, natural beauty lovers, environmentalists. We customize our product selection and search options based on the needs of these communities of customers.
How and when did you startup? How did you arrive at the idea behind your company?
Almost a decade ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition and forced to follow a very strict diet and healthy lifestyle. I spent years learning how to regain my health. When I moved to Lebanon, I faced two challenges. First, all the products that I needed weren’t in one place and there was a lack of local content about the brands and products to help me make more informed decisions.
I realized that I wasn’t alone in this challenge. There was a wide community of people that were seeking healthy natural products and spent hours trying to learn and discover what was good for them and purchasing these products from different places. My co-founder Lara and I teamed up and very quickly in January 2018 launched Mint Basil Market.
Tell us about your team? How many members? Who is involved in the day to day operations?
Our team is me, Vanessa Zuabi, CEO of the company, focused on our business and partnership development strategy, Lara Noujaim our CMO focused on digital marketing and website development, and a new operations coordinating handling our day to day operations.
Did you come across any challenges during the initial days?
In the early days, mastering our operations and logistics was difficult and required a lot of trial and error to learn the best system. This continues to be a work in progress as we grow and expand, especially as we integrate automation and technology to streamline our efforts even further.
How is your company different from similar companies on the market?
There are ways we stand out from our competition, which is currently mostly bricks and mortar health food stores. We offer filtration and categorization of products according to ingredients, nutritional facts, and categories by diet and health needs. The options include gluten-free, keto, vegan, and so on, to make it much easier to search.
When did you join the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre?
We joined Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre in February 2019. We saw Sheraa as a launchpad to prepare for new markets such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
In what areas has Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre helped you in your startup journey?
Sheraa helped us put in place a strategic plan to scale not only in Lebanon but also in the MENA region, specifically UAE and the Gulf.
What are your future plans with your company? Any new markets/target audiences you plan to reach?
We’re currently focusing on building out our technology to further meet the needs of our customer base and laying the foundations to scale throughout the region.
What is your advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Always be open to learning and know that there is always something for you to learn. Every step of the process will humble you and teach you something.