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From Syrian refugee to 7 figure entrepreneur with Magic Dates Founder Diana Jarrar

Welcome back to the show, it’s Doone here - your host and hype girl.

If you’re new here - I am so happy to have you joining us - in these incredibly inspiring episodes we meet successful founders - who happen to be women - to deep dive into their story of building a business. We love to dig into things like money and marketing and the challenges we face in the hopes that by sharing the blueprint it’ll help others in the journey. In today’s episode we’re learning from Diana Jarrar, founder of Magic Dates.

Diana is a former Syrian and Palistinian refugee who immigrated to North America to find a new path for herself, and launched her business in 2018. Magic Dates celebrates the cultural heritage and rich history of the Middle East, while reclaiming the date as a symbol of cultural connection.

Rooted in Middle Eastern culture and tradition, Magic Dates offers indulgent and nourishing snack bites made with real dates and nutrient-dense, whole ingredients and no added sugars or sugar alcohols. Magic Dates is the perfect bridge between healthy and indulgent, with delectable flavors and good-for-you ingredients including naturally derived polyphenols.

And we’re covering so many good things:

  • Proving out your product and idea with real customer feedback

  • The importance of bringing Middle Eastern culture to the western world

  • A crazzyyy mistake that cost her $50k

  • Getting rejected from Sharktank 4 times and

  • The importance of relationships in business

If you learn something in this episode or you love it please do shout about it from the rooftops and send it to someone else who would benefit from hearing it.

And if you want more of all things Female Startup Club, we send out a juicy newsletter every Monday with industry news, job opportunities at the world’s coolest starts led by women and a bunch of tactical insights that can help you if you’re building a biz or dreaming about building a biz.

Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!

Yes, so with Magic Dates, my idea was always to use dates as symbol of cultural connection. I grew up eating dates in the Middle East, I'm Syrian Palestinian and it's such a staple in our culture and like my household specifically, you know, we take boxes of dates to family gatherings just like you would with chocolate here. And so it's just such a big part of our culture, all Middle Eastern cultures. And so to me that was just the perfect vehicle for communication and to really share about the Middle Eastern culture, which can be so elusive to a lot of people. We don't have a lot of representation in the West, especially here in the United States. Um and so to me this was sort of like the vehicle and the way to share more about where I come from and my people vis a vis this delicious fruit that is just nature's candy, wow, wow, so cool. I love dates by the way this, so I feel like we need to see more dates everywhere, Their vibe. Yes, they're gonna, they're gonna save us because honestly we're just eating so much refined sugar and then all these like sugar alternatives. Now I'm just not a fan of, it's so funny, I just had something with Monk fruit today for the first time and both me and my husband had the same reaction where we had this like really weird blood pressure dropping and I started sweating and I think it's because your taste buds register something sweet but then your brain doesn't actually get the nutritive value of sugar and it's expecting sugar and it like releases insulin or something in your bloodstream when it shouldn't. And that's why I'm also like so against, you know, so many different sugar alternatives that are being used now we don't have like super solid research on them yet, but in my mind it's like just have sugar directly from its source from the fruit, it's the whole fruit that has the fiber and that has all the micro nutrients and phytochemicals that really offset any negative impact sugar might have, wow, that's so interesting. So you grew up with dates, you grew up this, you know, having this as part of your culture, were you always wanting to start a business or or when did this kind of light bulb moment go off for you and where does your entrepreneurial journey actually start? I think like any entrepreneur may may tell you, you're always an entrepreneur at heart, you may just not know it yet, it's just something you're discovering rather than becoming, you know, I think it's just something that's always there that you then, you know, fall into and I didn't know that I wanted to start a business all along, I did different things, I studied marketing um in college and from there, I did different things, I always wanted to be in food, like in the food space, I wanted to either become a chef or, and I did that for a little bit, some catering, I did some private, like, personal stuffing, I just wanted food to be a bigger part of my life, I'm a super taster, I cook, I love to eat and so how can I make this my career as well? But having tried all those other things, it just wasn't quite it, I didn't just want to be in the kitchen, like cooking all the time, I wanted something that was not that not that cooking isn't challenging, but something more challenging, like a cerebral cerebral and more intellectual level and I started doing real estate, and that was also something that was not my calling, I mean it just was not something that, like my heart was into, but the reason I wanted to do real estate was because I felt like it was that perfect medium between being in a corporate space, but then also being independent enough, like an entrepreneur, I guess, I was just too scared to jump and dive completely into what entrepreneurship is and from there, I felt that I just wasn't contributing the way I wanted to in the world, I wanted my life to have purpose and for me to like have work, that meant something and that was like helping people. And so I actually wanted to go to law school, I wanted to study international human rights law and I took the Elsa which is an exam here that you've taken the U. S. That you might be familiar with um to help you get placed in law schools. So I took that in 2016. I was studying for for a few months. And at the same time I had a friend approached me, he had invested in this paleo ice cream sandwich company and he said, will you help us make a recipe vegan? Um we're doing some recipe testing and just some like formulation in R. And D. Because he knew I, you know, I was in a food space just in terms of like my skill set and just that little bit of like double I had in the in that world that was like just a little bit of a, you know, a little taste. I'm like, wow, what if what if I do this? And so that same person goes to me, what if we start a business together? So I was at a fork in the road where I was either going to go down this path of becoming a lawyer or going to law school and studying, you know, for that or starting this business. And so it just was this very like intrinsic thing. And I had to trust my instincts and I moved forward with magic dates. Oh my gosh, wow. Yeah, you're really at the crossroads. That's crazy. Your life was really going into pulling you in two different directions. How did you come up with magic dates? Like how did you know that was the idea? Like, were you riffing on all sorts of different businesses to get to that or were you like, I know what it is straight out of the gate? Yeah. You know, I think, you know, it's a bit difficult to think that something screams at you immediately. Like, this is what it is, maybe that's true for some people to me that never believe in my experience, it was like this one thing that was so black and white and clear cut. And so that's what we have to trust your intuition and listen more to that and do your homework and do your research as well. Of course. So initially for me, I actually wanted to potentially do something in food and food tech, which was more about like preservation of food. I shopped organic a lot and I would go to the farmer's markets and those that produce goes bad very quickly. And so I thought, you know what if there was something that you can store the produce in that would make it last longer. And so I was thinking like organic ways to do that using rosemary extract and different things and starting a snack business was sort of on the back burner and like specifically dates. And again the date did pop up in my mind just because of my upbringing with it. But I had that on the back burner and then one time my partner and I we went to this meeting here in L. A. It's like a food scientist meeting and they have all these branches and just different like chapters all over the U. S. Um it's called Skiffs. So I was at this meeting and he and I were there like super early. So we got to choose like R. C. And then this woman comes and she ends up being the keynote speaker and she sits next to me and we started talking about different things. It turns out she's the one who created the nutrition label here in the US and just has done so much for like produce and crops and whatnot. Then she told me, well if you have any questions just you know give you know give me a call, here's my card and she gives me her card and it says date research institute on it. And I had not said anything to her about dates at that point. So I'm like wow, you know I believe in science and I believe in just life guiding you in a certain direction and I'm like you know what? I think we need to explore this data idea a little bit more, wow that's serendipity right there, that's cool, I love that. So this happens you have this kind of moment, you decided to explore this as you know a business idea, how do you actually get started? Like what kind of capital did you need to invest to get the brand kind of off the ground? And what were those early days like? So my partner and I at the time committed to investing $50,000 us $100,000, it was honestly a number I pulled out of my but it wasn't necessarily, I'm gonna have had such little experience at the time and like such little knowledge that that's just what I knew I can do you know at the time and everything just when you speak about serendipity I feel like when you make a choice, things either gravitate towards you resources people or you just start seeking them more so therefore you notice them more. And so mentors started coming in my path at the time and again like this very serendipitous thing in a way of of things happening. I was at a coffee shop and we were talking about innovation, what we wanted to do with dates that would have been different and then like we caught someone's ear and he happened to be an innovation consultant who works with like mattel and Red Bull and all these like super multi, you know global companies and that's sort of how it started where I got the first, my first mentor for the first several months to help me along the journey of doing our research and figuring out what do customers actually want. And I started interviewing customers, we didn't have any customers yet obviously. And so we would go on like forums like Facebook group groups and we would find people that were enjoying other products and we'll reach out to them and say like, Hey do you have 30 minutes like talk to us about an idea that you know that we have um we spoke to acquaintances not friends but acquaintances. So they were more comfortable sharing more with us. And we just started gathering data and creating something called the consumer journey map which basically really gets to the core of why people do what they do and buy what they buy and like consumer behavior, you know, it's not just for sustenance, you know, with food, it's, there's so much more emotion, especially with food product, wow gosh, so interesting. And I think that's one of those things that like one of the pieces of the puzzle that Sometimes people can't forget you have this great idea, you go out, you go 50 million miles an hour, but you forget to actually stop and interview people who could be your potential customer and get that feedback and kind of let that spark new ideas and kind of build on the idea that you already have. Once you go through that kind of phase of customer interviews and you know feedback. How do you come up with your product? Like how do you get to the stage of being like yeah I've got a manufacturer or like you know I don't know what we call here, what we call it here, a manufacturer developing the product more like a kitchen or you got it. Yeah I mean manufacturing is correct, manufacturer great finding this person and being like okay here's what we want here is what we need. Let's get you know a batch done. Yeah so you know first we started doing some R. And D. So we can land on the flavors that we wanted to use. So first so we can with our values. I wanted it to be plant based. No out of sugar was like the most important thing and then using very nutrient dense ingredients so that you feel like you're eating something that is not only a snack but it also satisfies more than that for you. So it actually can hold you between meals and it becomes like a not a meal replacement but a snack that actually sustains you and gives you the energy you need throughout your day. And so once we landed on those values, I started recipe developing this is the part that I was good at. I was comfortable with that. I was excited for. And we started off with like a dozen and a half flavors and slowly narrative down and did like taste testing all over. I have some friends who worked in different companies and we go to their lunch room and just set up some flavors and just get some honest feedback and we finally landed on four flavors, Our hero, our hero flavors. This was our line that was not covered in chocolate. So this is our uncoated line and we have the coconut, the chocolate and the lemon. We also had a match to at that time and we pulled that one, we decided that would be more of a seasonal item. So we decided to launch with three and you know, it's your question about manufacturing. This is where the research really comes in. Um, at this point I knew that I needed to find a turnkey partner meaning somebody who would charge one fee with everything included in it versus something called the tolling agreement, which is where you source the raw materials and you're just paying for the labor and so early on you really wanted to just be as smooth as possible because there's so many moving pieces like sourcing your own raw materials, it's just can be a lot and turkey was just ideal thing for that stage of our business. So there was a lot of research that needed to be done because manufacturers don't really advertise themselves in the same way that you know like a brand does. They're not really they don't really work that way. And so you really have to do some digging. Some some referrals are very helpful. But ultimately I use the platform that specifically was a search engine for co manufacturers and that's how I found ours. And you need to find someone who's gonna just, what's it called? It was called. Um it's on the tip of my tongue, something with a P. And will either come to me, come to maybe maybe we'll put it in, put it in the show now. Yeah. At some point it's not palette it's not something with a P. Because I haven't used it in a long time. I haven't needed to use it in a while. But it comes to me and if not, you know, it's okay. I'll like email you what it was. Good Lord. It's a good it's a good resource because it has a lot of manufacturers on there and we did find ours there and then like subsequently the manufacturers were with now also happened to be on there. We just didn't use that search engine for them. Don't worry. I'll follow up with you afterwards and we'll put it in the show notes for anyone listening who wants to check that out that would be great. Yeah for sure. So yes so having someone finding someone who's willing to do low M. O. Q. S. For you minimum order quantities is really important especially for perishable products. You just don't want to be sitting on a bunch of inventory so early on when you don't have an outlet for it and you haven't started selling it yet. So we found that and I did R. And D. My kitchen initially so it was just here you know at home I wasn't selling that product it was okay that I was doing it in my kitchen. But then we produced it in the facility and we would just put it in homemade bags or bags so I can hand pack nothing. Um Super professional. I didn't have our packaging at that point and I started selling it at the farmer's market. So farmers markets are very popular in California. So I was lucky that way to just have this very quick turnaround outlet for for our bites and I would go every sunday you know from like 8 to 2 and it was I just remember my first sale ever it was like this woman named Diane and her mom Betty I'll never forget and they were actually wearing purple. It's my favorite color. So I remember that and it's such a special moment when you're like wow I just created something that someone like wants to actually pay money for and we just got feedback from there. Do you like it? You don't like it just to really find out what people were interested in how the price point all that. So again more listening, more research, more talking to customers which is something you always want to be doing. So you're in the market every Sunday eight till 2 you're learning you're listening. How do you kind of keep getting the word out there and how do you grow outside of the markets? Yeah. So I mean this is where now in hindsight you know I've learned that like an omni channel approach is really you know the the ideal way this is back in 2017 where yes the internet of course was around but sales of food were was not such a big thing yet that really expanded during covid, you know more so than any time before where people were like okay buying their food online. And so in 2017 we really were not set up for D. C. Um basically. Whereas now in hindsight I would have set us up for that much sooner. We started offering DTC in 2019. And so I think I would have just gotten that going a little bit sooner so that we can actually start running ads and really capturing people where they were. But we took the traditional approach of brick and mortar and was actually going door knocking to like all my favorite Like retailers and coffee shops and yoga studios here in L. A. Because this product is great anywhere and just meet so many snacking or fulfill so many snacking occasions and that the 1st 30 accounts we've got, we're literally just from me going door knocking and asking them if they want to buy magic dates. Amazing wow. And then did you kind of like start working with a distributor to kind of expand that or was it more just you hired a sales person? Like how did you kind of keep growing on those 1st 30 people accounts rather? Yeah. So we do a lot of demos early on, which is really great because then you get people to try it. There's nothing like just a taste test to sell your product, especially if it's actually good. And during one of my demos, I actually met a person who was coming in to like stock the shelves and it turned out it was like a local distributor here in L. A. And so we started working with them and they got us into like another 100 locations and we still work with them today. I mean five years and it's super small scale. So this is not really a way to scale per se. But it was definitely a great way to get started um For you now. Like in 2022. Actually before I get onto the kind of what's working for you now at some point you get on shark tank, let's talk about the shark tank experience and what that impact was like for your business. What are we talking like 2021 or 2022. Well we aired this year, we aired March 2022 and we actually taped last year, we take September 2021. Okay. I read that you like applied four times before getting on. You was super passionate about being on shark tank. Tell me about the experience. What was it like? Yeah, So we would definitely were not ready and I say we, by the way like the royal we there's no, it was just me. So it's it's I but now Magic dates that collectively we were not ready for shark tank in 2018, 2019, 2020. And those were the years that I applied that I did not get on. And actually as a matter of fact, when I did get on finally in 2021, 1 of the producers came up to me, she's like finally you made it. I've seen your application so many times. I was really glad that you finally made it. So it was so funny and I've seen her name in email correspondence because she would email me back when we were just kind of going back and forth early on all those other castings. And so I recognized her name and I was like, oh my God, I'm finally here, it's like so surreal to actually have it happen. And I think the reason we were not ready. As a matter of fact, I know that's the reason is because I was not fully owning our story, like everything I shared with you about dates being a symbol of cultural connection where I come from and my connection to dates was not something I was embodying with our brand. So if you look at some of our old branding from when we launched up until really 2021 it looks completely different. I don't know if you had a chance to look at it, but it's a great case study in branding now is it's amazing and it's like, and I feel it like you just, again, I feel like your body sends you messages where for the 1st 34 years, I didn't feel aligned with it. I'm like, I don't feel something, doesn't feel right here, I'm going out, I'm selling my product, but like, I have anxiety about it for some reason and it wasn't until the shift happened with the branding and the voice was what it was supposed to be, that I actually felt like so excited and elated to share more to sell it because I felt like I was now truly selling the vision. I feel like you've shared just two really good, you know, lessons that people really need to remember the first is persistence, never give up. Yes, you're gonna get rejected, you're not gonna get that thing that you're aiming for, but if you keep trying, like, good things will come to you. And the second one is where you start isn't where you finish, everyone wants everything to be perfect at the very beginning and you know, amazing, but your brand is an evolution and where you start isn't where you finish, it's okay to change, to evolve the brand and kind of like come into it as you, as you go through it and as you build it, that's amazing. I feel like you have to treat your brand like a person. I mean it truly is, is what it is because even when we first started, even with the old branding, even though I didn't align with it, I just understood that a brand has a voice, it's going to evolve like a person. There are archetypes that we were using to decide what our brand was going to embody. So archetypes are basically these like symbol characteristics of, you know, adjectives and just different personality types that you want either your brand to represent or like people can have archetypes to. So for example, there's like the magician, there's like the everyday person, there's a lover and so one of our archetypes was the magician and that's how, you know, magic dates ended up coming about, I initially thought it was going to be, it was just like a tester name and then the more I studied it, I'm like, oh, that's actually really fits for some reason, I like this because we wanted to be an aspirational brand and you know, when they say perfect is the enemy of the good or something, I forget what the exact saying is, but it's so true. It's like you just cannot get stuck and not cycle of like something has to be perfect. It never will be what, what even is that like what even is perfection? Like what are you comparing it to? So it just has to be good enough and then you can iterate and like keep making it better. 100%. I totally agree. Back to shark tank, I digressed. You get offered a deal from kevin O'leary. I think it was 100 and 50,000 for 33% or something along those lines. What's it been like kind of after the show working with him and then following that, what was it like when the show aired? So yes, he's very particular about saying that it was 33% in authority because I say that on the show, I'm like. you're going to take a third of my business and he says no 33 a third. So it's like a very, very, um specific, yeah, 33.33. I'm like, okay, got it. So our experience, you know, it took us a while to close the deal just because just the nature of things, there was a lot of back and forth. And it was like almost 10 months in before we actually think the deal, which was just a couple of months ago. So we actually had a first strategy call recently. So everything is truly in its infancy, but where I see kevin, you know, fitting in, where he, you know, he sees, you know himself and his team fitting in is really just opening those doors for us because, you know, as he says, it's like we're working hard, we're doing our thing here. But having someone like him with those relationships backing us and and and having his name on basically, like it offers so much credibility to what we're doing that someone like him believes in our mission or vision. He's half Lebanese, so I believe he truly gets this story and what we're trying to do really is the value that I see in addition to, you know, the pr opportunities that will have. So for example, he was on a podcast a couple of months ago before we even signed the deal and he was talking about female founded companies and the businesses he's invested in and then, you know, our name popped up and like immediately we saw a spike in sales that day. So just yeah, I mean, I wasn't even expecting, I literally woke up and I don't even know who the podcast host was. Honestly, it wasn't um I should have targeting females, but my brothers know about it and they're like, have you seen, you know, Kevin O'leary talking about you on so and so podcast, I was like, I didn't know that's so cool. I love that you Yeah, I know it's awesome. I love surprises. Yeah. Nice surprise. Yeah. And then now you were talking about airing the airing of the show and how things were, you know, after that. So we were expecting a huge spike in sales. It's something that you absolutely have to be prepared for. Um we erred on a friday you immediately. I mean just to my inbox, you just watch the scales like coming in. It was insane. I mean thousands and thousands of orders, Just thousands. I think we ended up getting like 3500 orders or something in total. I mean it's thousands of orders that continue to trickle in for like two weeks after because people are, you know, fans are watching the show, you know, in hindsight, they're missing some episodes, they're going back and catching up its streams on hulu here in the US. So people are catching up there, they're catching it on different streaming services like amazon prime and so for two weeks it was just nonstop, which was awesome and we're prepared for it. We produced enough inventory at the time. I actually went to where my co manufacturer is located because it's not, it's not in Los Angeles and I was there for 34 days expecting that spike. So I can also help fulfill and get orders out the door And we, we, I think almost orders at the door on time, like 90% of orders and then just had some a little bit of lag time for the next batch. But it was great wow. And since then like since that's it and you kind of had these like you know, pR experiences and things like that. What are the things that are shifting the needle for you now in terms of your marketing and kind of leaping forward? Yeah. So growing our email list has been a really big, big thing because it's such a great way to directly communicate with our customers in a more nuanced way than these like short form videos that you can that you find on like social media. And so shark tank helped us do that. Social media helps us do that as well. And so for us really harnessing that email list and that direct communication where we're able to share our message on a deeper level to share cultural content, to share the value of you know, having a snack like magic date that really helps you bridge that gap between wanting to stay healthy but still indulge in something sweet and delicious and that's been a big piece for us. And then also really figuring out that the machine of meta, you know, it was something that I was intimidated by for a long time and it definitely has changed. We we came in at a time where meta has changed because of the data policies that Apple has uh has, has has instilled in as a customer. It's something that I appreciate. It's an Apple customer. But then as a business person it's made it a little more challenging to find the right the right people. And so it's ever changing. I mean these are our marketing channels. Something I've learned about marketing is that consumer behavior and psychology does not change. We're We're wired the way we're wired. So if you read marketing books from like the 50s and 60s, the principles still apply. It's just the tools change. So whether it's now a real or an ad or whatever it might be. It used to be radio, used to be TV it's the messaging is the same at the end of the day, customers are here, they want to get here. And then how do you help them? How do you help them get there basically is what your product is doing. Um and so that's just something that I think is core to any marketing effort. Mm Yeah, absolutely. Gosh, the meta facebook Apple, it's a big, it's a big shift. I feel like people are really still kind of like trying to find their feet after that all happened last year. I know for sure. I think for us, you know, we sure we have a short thank ad, you know, going that has been doing really well for us showing magic dates and recipes. So you really have to test and iterate a lot. Some things just didn't work like straight up product trucks for example for us didn't work for us for other companies. It does you have to find out what works for you and it's all about testing and really finding the right team or person or maybe doing it yourself. I actually like I taught myself the meta machine from an Australian course, funny enough Maybe maybe you know the guys but they have this course all about Facebook ads and I took the course back in 2020 but then ultimately felt like it's not something I wanted to spend, you know time doing. So I hired someone but at least I can have an intelligent conversation with that person and I can understand. Yeah it's so important to have like informed conversations. So even if you teach yourself the basics so that you understand when things aren't working or not working because otherwise it can be so frustrating if something isn't working, you're spending money on it. And like then you feel like a lack of trust because you're not sure if this person is actually as skilled as they say they are. And so for me just having that base knowledge and that foundational knowledge helped me just become more trusting in the different, you know freelancers that I hire and being able to have a conversation with them about that Thing. I totally agree with that 100%. How have you approached the money piece of kind of, you know, we all know in D. C. And and retail and things like that. The working capital piece is really important in the beginning you were bootstrapping, you were funding it yourself. How is that kind of progressed and what's your plan at the moment? Yeah, we actually boots are for a long time. I mean really up until shark tank, that was the first time we raise money. So it was so like so nimble. It still is. And so you get so creative when like you don't have that much money to spend. You become so creative and like things also come in your path and resources come in your path if you will believe in your stew, they want to help you and you know in different ways, but at some point like more capital is just absolutely necessary. And so this is actually the stage route right now where we raised money from Kevin. But then in order for us to really launch the brick and mortar strategy, like the traditional retail strategy next year that we're planning on, we're going to need uh you know, more capital. So that's something that I'm exploring right now. There's so many options, you know, equity crowdfunding is really interesting to me, I'm not sure who would go to a. V. C. So this is a conversation that I'll be having with our team and with Kevin's team to figure out the next step. Very exciting new learning curve, new stuff to learn totally. Yes it is new for us. So this is something that is not exactly in my wheelhouse yet, but that's what happens to be an entrepreneur. Is that something new will always come up that you have to figure out and learn and and you will because you're an entrepreneur and you're gonna figure it out. We have talked about so many of kind of the highlights to your story and you know what's been going really well and that's what we all love to hear. But being an entrepreneur, there are also so many lows and so many challenges that we face that I think it's important to also talk about and bring to the surface. So everyone listening who's going through highs and lows can relate. Are there any sort of challenges you've been dealing with recently or any challenges that come to mind that you've had to overcome in this journey of building magic dates? Yes. You know, relationships are so important, like not just, you know with mentors or with partners but also especially with the with consumer goods just finding the right distributor and broker partner is so key. And we had just a terrible experience in the past in 2019 with a broker that ended up costing us money of like wasted product and just like time of you know them saying that they're gonna deliver X, Y. Z. And then they didn't and then you put all your eggs in that basket because the relationship you're investing in, your investing resources, time energy and you're expecting things to go a certain way, you make certain predictions about your business based on that relationship and what they say to you and and it didn't didn't pan out. So I would just say it's so important to you partner with in that regard. Um distributors and brokers love to bring on new hip products that, oh my God, I'm sold what they say, hip, I'm a millennial, I swear, but like trendy products. But at the end of the day, if they don't have the infrastructure to really support your brand, the way that it deserves to be supported, it's just going to fall through the cracks. So I think for us that was that was a big thing and I wouldn't say it's a challenge now. It's just something that we're working on is like finding those right partners and, and I think we have, but it's just a matter of giving it a little bit more time to see how it actually goes with the current brokers and distributors we're working with. So TBD TBD very cool. What does the future look like? What are you excited about that you can shout about. Yeah. So I mean I'm excited to see what else we can do with dates, you know, we have them, we launched this date flight in the summer and it's the first time that customers have gotten a taste of other varieties. Most of our customers say they've only ever heard of medjool dates and they were excited to know. First of all, they're like over 60 varieties that are domesticated now. They were like hundreds of varieties historically and so we're just sharing for here, but then there are like dozens of others. So it's so exciting to know that there's so much more, um, that we can share with our audience and yeah, what else can we use dates and what can we make out of them? What, how else can they fulfill our sweet tooth? Um, and like new and interesting ways. That's what I'm really curious about and like excited to try. I'm excited for you. I'm excited for everyone excited for me. It sounds amazing. We gotta bring it over to Australia. You got to bring it here, launch it here. It'll be great. What advice do you have for other founders who are early on in the journey and just getting started? I would say, really do your homework. I mean, it always feels like things are moving at such a fast pace that you just want to catch up and make sure that you're in the game and to a certain extent, that's, that's true. You have to pull the trigger on things, you know, at the same time, execution is really important. And so from the get go, just really do your research on, first of all, is this going to do well in the market. Do people want this? That's really the most important thing. Like do customers want this? Don't be so attached to the idea and like don't let your ego get in the way just because you're, it's your baby when they say, you know, kill the baby. I hate that analogy, but just take your ego out of the way and try to think of it as objectively as possible because if you don't prevent you from coming up with other better ideas or really just veering and taking a different path. And so I would just say be as equal as possible when it comes to that. And really consider that retail is very expensive. That's something that I've learned. You know, we do Have a national launch in 2020 and it didn't go as planned because COVID happened. And so things come up that are just outside of your control. We got this new account, maybe I won't say their name, I don't throw them under the bus. It was, you know, it was all good. But it's this retailer here in the United States and we went national with them. We actually created the four chocolate covered skews for them expecting that it was going to be a repeat item and they were on the shelf for about two months. They said it was the fastest moving date product they've ever had. And so we were excited for those reorders and then since they were not a traditional grocer, they basically shut down for Covid for about 66 or seven months. And so that was like a big chunk of business that we were expecting to have that year and then we didn't and you know, just keep that in mind that like, things are very difficult in in retail and that if you are going to be in stores, like don't be attached to this like romantic idea that you're gonna be in thousands of stores and just be all over the place. It really is just about focusing more on the retailers that are key for you and supporting them as much as possible. You know, demos, promos, being having, you know, feet on the ground in store is so important because it is absolutely 100% true that it is difficult to get into stores and it's more difficult to stay on the shelves. That is absolutely like 100% true true wisdom that any perishable CPG brand should be aware of great advice. Yeah, and I love that, it's like focus on all of your foundational stuff first. Like just one at a time, like build on like you're building blocks and and keep stacking it.

So question number one is what's your why? Why do you wake up every day and work on magic dates? That's an awesome question because it can't just be about what it is like for me it's not just about creating delicious snacks. Culture is so important for me and connection and empathy and really getting to know others. Again, even if it's not consistent with your own ideology and maybe if it goes against your own beliefs or values or whatever it might be, this is how I live my life. I'm always open to conversations with people who I don't understand, especially people I don't understand. And so for me that's my why with magic date is really opening up that conversation around culture, around my culture on the Middle East and having people have this glimpse this misunderstood culture and like how much beauty and wisdom and you know innovation and like great food and love and family and all these great values that we have in the Middle East and the diversity and that's what keeps me going and I just also love the freedom that I have honestly within my business, it's like we can do anything. Like we're just creating like we're creating and if there's something I want to create, I can so I just love that freedom also within within my business. Absolutely! That is so cool. I love that Question. Number two is what has been your favorite marketing moment so far. I mean I think shark tank would have to take you know take the win on that one, that's I think a big thing for a lot of companies, it's so funny the second you start a company, everyone tells you you gotta get on shark tank. So it's almost like you apply just because they need your reaction. It's like, oh, I have a business, I should apply to shark tank now, But it's, I think it's perceived by a lot of people is like the ultimate thing you can do for your business. It may or may not be true. You definitely do get a lot of credibility being on that show. It's such a cool show. 14 seasons and still have so much respect from um from like the audience for such a long, long time. So I think that's been our biggest win. A 100% so far. Exactly more to come so far. Question number three is what's your go to Business resource. If you have to think about a book or a podcast or a newsletter that you consume. Yes. So I don't know if you can get everything from like one place, but I'm definitely on a bunch of newsletters and I get to bits from, from all of them. There's just one newsletter called DTC by many social that I love that kind of gets more than Nixon crannies. I love startups CPG, they have a lot of resources, like lists of things like brokers and website developers and just different services that you know, this may need amongst other things, rodeo CPG is another one. And for me personally, like, you know, kevin O'leary's team, that's something that if I, you know need advice or like big picture stuff and then of course my team who I work with, who are just industry like experts, I kind of go to them for like decisions and strategies. Amazing. So many good ones there. Love that. Gonna link him in the show notes, question number four is, how do you win the day? What are your AM or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated? Yes. So first of all I've been to therapy, I love therapy. Every entrepreneur should do therapy or every person should do therapy and that's been very helpful for me for creating boundaries and just really re shifting my mind to take care of myself and not fall for this culture of like go go go and like working myself to the bone. Like I really do not ascribe to that at all. Sleep is so important for me And so all my rituals revolve around my waking up and then my going to sleep. So just sleep hygiene, I'm not looking at my phone an hour before. Um I'm reading something inspiring. So I'm reading a book called real magic right now. So even if it's a few pages, it's just like the last thing that's in my mind before I go to bed, I try to focus on my breath a lot because at some point it was something that I was having difficulty with with like anxiety and like panics and whatnot. And so really reconnecting to my breath and connecting to my body any time of the day is something that's important. And again, because I love food, I think nutrition is so it's so important and so just eating things that are just like fulfilling my soul and nourishing me and I cook a lot and so home cooked meals for me um for dinner are really important. Um even when I'm tired, that's just something that nourishes me and in the morning, just that cup of tea, I don't drink caffeine, I don't drink alcohol. That's why sleep is so important because I don't drink coffee. So I need to get to bed early, 9 30 10, 10 30 for me to just really get those, you know, 7 to 8 hours of sleep. So it's like really basic, it's nothing crazy. I don't think you need to be getting too deep into, you know, supplements or make things complicated. I think if you keep it really simple and just take care of yourself and take a break when you when you need it. I love that. All good ones. All great rituals in there, love it. Question # five is what's been your worst money mistake and how much did it cost you? So yes, I think I mentioned this relationship we had with with a broker in 2019. That was I think the most costly mistake because it's just you just see it being wasted. It was like two pallets of product I think worth like $30,000 aside from the money that we invested in them, you know in the retainer fee for six months. But that was something that 30 40 $50,000 was what it cost us and for a bootstrapped business that like did you know didn't raise money as I mentioned earlier, it has been very resourceful. It was definitely a painful experience and a learning lesson question number six. Last question what is just a crazy story, Good or bad that you've had from building magic dates. Crazy story, good or bad. So many things I think you just like can't be afraid to get your hands dirty like just doing whatever it is that you need to do. So for me when I was expecting a shipment on a Friday was supposed to arrive at 3:30 p. m. And I actually paid for guaranteed shipping, like guaranteed delivery. So I get to my warehouse facility and they don't arrive 3 33 45 4 o'clock. I call them and then they say the shipment is on the truck but the driver is not going to make it, it's going to a like a like a warehouse, the freight warehouse about 20 minutes away and that it's gonna get delivered Monday. So I absolutely could not have had it sit over the weekend because we have chocolate and they leave product in trailers unless you actually get a refrigerated trailer. And so I rented a truck, I went to that warehouse, I located my palettes, I picked them up and I took them to my storage unit and like unloaded them and by then it was like 10 p.m. And I was there from like three o'clock and it was just like a no brainer. Like there was not even a moment. I was thinking like what's happening? What am I doing? It was like, you just need to get things done. I mean that's like one of honestly like dozens of stories where like things like that just happened all the time and you just get it done. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty coming to a city near you soon totally. We need to get one of those like food trucks and sling dates from that from the back. Oh my gosh, 100% Diana. This was so much fun. Thank you so much for coming on the show to share your journey with magic dates. I'm so excited for you. You're gonna be cheering for your success. Oh, thank you so much. Thank you. I love chatting with you and I hope I have some fun and exciting updates for you over the next few months.



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