Core Trainee and Sports Trainer Asif Munaf, having had an inspirational experience at October’s Alternative Careers & Wellbeing event, recently launched a fresh new brand of delicious smoothies.
He shares his story on how the concept was born, subsequently taking his product (literally) to market.
I founded DATE Smoothie alongside my supportive wife in the fall of this year after many months of toying with the idea.
We both have had a passion for smoothies as we both lead hectic lives with tightly squeezed meal times. We travelled far and wide in the first couple years of marriage and it was our most recent trip to Bangkok when we were waiting in the airport and felt rather peckish.
We wanted to eat a meal when we landed at our destination but wanted something which would suitably refresh us in the meantime. We found nothing but sugar-laden beverages, even amongst the more ‘healthy’ smoothie alternatives. I was incensed.
As a qualified personal trainer with a Masters in Public Health and a special interest in nutrition, I had to do something about this. I wanted to create a product that would both by delectably delicious but was nutritionally sound and sat well with my beliefs and values. The time was right. If it wasn’t me, then who would it be?
I believed in my skills set.
On our return to the UK, we went all out. Many hours were spent burning the midnight oil.
As a result, DATE Smoothie was born; a no-nonsense, wholesome nutritious date-based smoothie containing nuts and seeds. Filling. Fibrous. Delicious.
We believe in our product.
Inspiration from the medical profession
I attended the Medic Footprints Alternative Careers & Wellbeing event in Autumn and that proved a fantastic opportunity. I learnt how start-ups can raise money and we as medics can use our transferable skills in any given endeavour.
I was inspired by the sheer number of doctors who had or were considering diversifying their careers and this still serves as a huge motivation for me.
I want to make other doctors believe in themselves too and pursue absolutely any other career they wish to.
Whether it is media, marketing, property development or indeed food and drink like myself, the world is absolutely our oyster with the extraordinary set of skills we have acquired and honed through the duration of our MBBS and beyond.
We began trading in the Xmas markets in Sheffield this year and sold out on our first ever day!
We even had an bulk order for 150 bottles of our smoothies from one sweet-toothed lady!
Interest was even generated from a couple of local businesses who are looking to stock healthy and nutritious alternatives to everyday smoothies.
The skills I gained as a doctor have been the biggest reason why DATE Smoothies has started off so strongly. The single-mindedness and ability to focus and work incredibly hard for hours on end was the real catalyst for creation. My communication skills alongside ability to negotiate are invaluable skills in business and they have all been perfected by years of speaking to thousands of patients and their relatives, sometimes at the most difficult and precious of times .
The ability to get things done in a checklist manner, the ability to delegate and designate responsibility are key skills in any business and they were all acquired through my work as a doctor.
Our future plans are to occupy prime shelf space at the big supermarkets and to trade internationally.
There is an emerging market of savvy consumers amongst the ‘millenials’ cohort who are looking at ethically traded, organic and dairy as well as gluten free alternatives to everyday eating. And having seen what obesity and diabetes has done to their parents, really are looking for a Delicious Alternative To Eating.
Professionally, I am currently the team medic for York City FC and would really like to my Personal Training career to the next level as the wave of clients inevitably enquire in January.
I a currently a Core Medical Trainee in East Midlands so nexy year I will apply for the Sports and Exercise Medicine Speciality training. I am hoping one day to become the team doctor for Liverpool FC, my childhood team!