10 out of 10 with Afshan, founder of GoNuts Qatar
Written by: Chereen
Dear Chereen is thrilled to have Go Nuts Qatar founder, Afshan, as this week’s highlight for the “10 out of 10” series. Let’s learn a bit more about this amazing brand and the wonderful person that makes it all happen.
Chereen: Thank you so much for creating such a wholesome brand that I absolutely love! What’s the story behind GoNuts Qatar?
Afshan: Thank you for your interest! As you know, everyone has a different perspective to life once they have kids. I started changing my lifestyle towards a healthier one and soon realized that there was a real shortage of healthy alternatives in the market, especially, local or affordable. Around that time I started experimenting in the kitchen and making my own spreads and preserves. The nut butters were an instant hit with friends and family. With a lot of encouragement and support, I started selling pure nut butters and the demand was so positive that there was no looking back, ever since.
Chereen: That is so great; your nut butters truly are out of this world. Tell us a bit about yourself!
Afshan: I’m from India and my parents moved to Doha about 30 years ago, and so, this is pretty much home to me. I also have four children. Besides my humble home business, I am a chef and recipe developer for Ideal Diet Cafe for their Vegan and Keto division.
Chereen: What inspired you to create the brand?
Afshan: When I first started selling nut butters, my brand was called Affs Healthy Kitchen. After a year, when I had a steady stream of customers and my market widened, I wanted to change my image to a more “professional” sounding brand rather than a home store. I wanted something that represented me: Young, funny and real. GoNuts was just so catchy and with a tagline, “Makes Everything Butter”, I just knew it was a name I wanted to stick with.
With this, I realized I wanted my customers to be able to relate to me with my logo and brand name. When I launched my business at the farmers market, the queue of people and the demand for my products was an indication I was ready to call my business a “brand.”
Chereen: I remember Affs Healthy Kitchen! How long have you been creating amazing nut butters?
Afshan: I’ve been making nut butters for the past 5 or 6 years.
Chereen: What motivates you to keep going?
Afshan: Constant orders and enquiries along with encouragement from repeat customers keep me going. GoNuts for me, as a woman, gives a lot of fulfillment as I feel like I’ve accomplished something and set an example for others to follow. Coming from an Asian Muslim background, women are usually expected to take care of the house, food and kids only. So I really hope I encourage every girl out there to live her dream and passion and pursue her talents. It gives me great satisfaction when my kids or parents tell others about me with pride.
Chereen: What’s the best compliment you received about your brand?
Afshan: I would feel like I’m bragging but I must say that every time a parent comes back to me with repeat orders, I know I’ve succeeded with the toughest critics out there, kids! And I have many regular and repeat customers, alhamdulillah.
Chereen: What advice do you have for anyone that is passionate about starting a small business?
Afshan: As cliché as it might sound, I would say just go for it. Start and you’ll learn along the way. I’ve seen far too many talents wasted because the person wanted a particular brand name and waited around, or, a particular time that never came.
Chereen: How are you finding your inspiration during this pandemic?
Afshan: Keeping myself busy is my escape from thinking too much. It gives me respite to be productive. Pandemic or not, things have only changed for the better as I’m finally spending a lot more time with the kids and we pray together all five times too! Like many others, we have new found appreciation of the life that we have and all the things we took for granted. To be honest, the only thing I really miss is being able to go outdoors with the kids. My toddler keeps putting on her swim suit and demanding to go for a swim!
Chereen: What do you feel is the most rewarding part of operating a small business?
Afshan: Starting and operating a business is not for everyone and it comes with its own challenges. However, the benefits for me far outweigh working as an employee despite the risks and uncertainty involved. The most rewarding part I would say is seeing your efforts bring fruits and knowing that it was your idea and your plan alone. You are not answerable to anyone and you are your own boss. Like I said, not everyone likes this due to the risk and insane amount of hardworking involved given that you are usually a one-man-show. But this is my passion and this is what I dream of.
Chereen: What’s next for GoNuts Qatar?
Afshan: Now that GoNuts is familiar to many, I would like to take it to the next level and launch into the bigger market chain so that healthy and affordable nut butters are within everybody’s reach. I am also in talks with a few hotel chains to supply my nut butters for their use and for sale as nut butter jars. I am also looking to production on a larger scale. Lots of love and duaas!
All the success in the world, Afshan! Thank you for being this week’s 10 out of 10! To get your delicious nut butter fix, check out: @gonutsqatar on Instagram.
(If you or someone you know would like to be a part of this series, send us a dm. We would be more than happy to share your hard work with the world!)