Founder and mastermind behind the NOX recipe Cinta Abell – an interview by 53°N
In the middle of P.C. Hooftstraat, one of the most expensive shopping streets in Amsterdam, we met Cinta, an entrepreneur with a background in Pharmaceutical Science and a strong ambition to get sleeping problems out of this world. This story is about NOX sleep drinks… not Tech this time, but a very interesting product.
Wrong industry for a start-up…
Maybe you can call it a miracle that NOX is about to enter the shelves of the Dutch 2nd largest supermarket chain, Jumbo. “This is a very hard market to start from scratch and scale a new product” Cinta tells us. The beverage industry is dominated by players like Coca Cola and Unilever, producing millions and millions of cans daily. Moreover, sales are too a large extend depending on two or three big supermarket chains and if it is not a hit at launch (if you are already allowed to put your products on their shelves) it is going to be very hard.
Nevertheless, Cinta and her co-founders Fanar and Simon found a way. Having worked almost 1.5 years on getting the recipe right, which includes only national plant extracts like Valeriaan and Passiflora, the tricky part still had to come. “It took some time to get to the conclusion that it is much more deal making in this business than getting the product perfect.” Luckily, they had some private investors from the industry and people helping them to make the right connections. Now sales start growing, it is a matter of finetuning the value proposition and getting the look and feel right; where it now feels more like an energy drink, the association should be more around well night rest and an energetic day.
Cinta is, believe it or not, doing this job part-time. The rest of the time she is working in real estate, where she is also having her own projects. “I don’t know what I find more exciting. The product NOX is much more interesting, but my real estate business is also fun and much less risky.” Together with her business partner, who is taking care of the Marketing & Sales and Operations, she is running the business. They have dedicated sales people in-house that try to get the products on the shelves, and the production is outsourced. You could say it is a very lean business.
If things go well in the Netherlands, Cinta is thinking about going to other countries with this product rather than diversifying their portfolio. We wish you all the best Cinta! And of course, everybody a wonderful night with NOX.
And finally, our two wacky questions…
…If NOX was an animal what would it be? “An animal that sleeps well and is as lively as humans during a day. First though: a dog.” let sleeping dogs lie!
…And if you can hire anyone in the world for NOX who would it be? “The CEO of Unilever.”