Ayaso Concept Store: How To Launch A Business In Morocco
During our stay in Marrakech we changed our vision of food, and in part is thanks to Monika, Ayaso’s owner, who we had the chance to meet and interview. In this article she will talk about her life, her husband, Ayaso Concept Store and how to launch a business in Morocco.
How old are you?
Where are you from?
Where did you live in your life?
Poland, NY, Amsterdam, Paris, then Morocco, Ireland, France, back in Ireland, and then finally Morocco.
What did you do abroad? And what pushed you to leave your country?
First of all, I studied International business and management in NY, I then continued my NBA in Holland, where I was working as a night manager. I worked as well in the USA because I got a really good job: I was marketing coordinator in a language school. I met my husband at that time and we started traveling together. When I got pregnant, I decided to enjoy motherhood and I started working a bit for the Polish embassy. I gave birth in Ireland, where I was working as a freelancer for the Polish community, hiring Polish doctors for the Irish market. It was a very well paid job, but the weather wasn’t nice: at that precise moment we decided to come back to Morocco and a few time later, my husband and I launched Ayaso Concept Store.
“Monika And Her Husband”
Do you have children?
Yes, we have two girls, the oldest is 14 and the youngest 11 years old. And for who’s wondering, yeah: you can do business and family at the same time. The first years of Ayaso, family and friends helped us a lot with the children. We can say that Ayaso was like our third child. The key is having a good routine: my husband and I never work on Sunday, on Wednesday I go to the school of my daughters to help and create projects and the other days you’ll find me in Ayaso.
Which are your passions?
I love mountains, climbing, skiing, healthy food and healthy lifestyle.
Which is the choice that changed the most your life?
Leaving Poland at 21 and by myself. That was definitely a life changing choice.
What’s your job?
I would say I’m a customer advisor here in Ayaso and also a team manager. At the same time, I’m very versatile: I can cook and be a PR, if it’s needed. My husband is the head of the bureaucratic and legal stuff, luckily. Lately, a very good stuff is accompanying us in Ayaso and they’re really making our job easier.
Ayaso Concept Store
How was the idea of Ayaso born?
That’s mainly thanks to the amazing people we met in our life. When we arrived in Morocco, my husband and I had a farm where we were completely autonomous regarding vegetables and fruits. We were vegetarians, even if we had some chickens. I personally always had the right advice for a healthy way of living, herbs, healing teas, the right remedy for the most varied things. But the game changer was meeting the pioneer of ecological agriculture and writer, Pierre Rabhi. He showed us that everything was possible, and at that moment the idea of Ayaso was born. Everything started by the wish of sharing what we had with others. Before Ayaso, there was no bio shop in Marrakech. We needed healthy products for ourselves and that’s why we decided to create the place that would have filled our needs. At the beginning we started to work with Moroccan cooperatives, but it lasted only one year: we realised that they were not having the right bio certifications and that the quality of the products was not high enough, due to corruption. Now we work only with four or five cooperatives and we started having bio products from Europe.
“Local Organic Market Every Week”
What is Ayaso and when was it born ?
Ayaso was born on 7 June 2014 and it’s the mix of the names of our children: Maya and Sonia. Osaya, the name backwards, means “recognition” in arabic recognition. Ayaso is a way of living, a place where people in the same mood of life can meet: vegetarians, vegans, yogis and all those weirdos come here and have founded a real movement.
What’s the ethic of Ayaso?
“You are what you eat”. Our ethic is food respect, but not only that. In fact, it’s a biggest concept of the word respect: respect for the food, but also between each other. That’s also what I want to pass on to my employees.
How long did it take you to open Ayaso?
Around 8 months. We did everything step by step, without asking for a loan, but growing slowly thanks to our resources and Ayaso itself.
“Natural Products In Ayaso”
How to launch a business in Morocco
How is it to create a business in Morocco? Is it complicated, especially for a foreigner?
I, as a not Moroccan, wouldn’t choose to open a business in Morocco because here law is very unstable and not precise at all. The key is to have a great accountant, alias the ring between the law and us: that’s it. There’s no need in having a lawyer, but a good accountant is more than enough. It cost us 6000 dirhams to open an official company here in Morocco, but thanks to that you can have Moroccan residency. After this first the only other expense is paying the accountant every month.
How is it to create a business in Morocco? Is it complicated, especially for a foreigner?
Ayaso has been the yoga center of my mother in law for 40 years. So, we didn’t struggle to search the place. Actually, my mother in law is the living proof of how a foreigner, a French to be exact, can open a business in Morocco.
Do you have a business partner ?
Yes, my husband. I love to work with him, we have the same vision and we managed to divide private and professional life. In this way we are two, but we produce the energy of three people. We created this business after being together for 12 years, but we worked together on other projects even before Ayaso.
Can a person open a business if he/she speaks only English and not Arabic or French?
Yes, if you have a lot of money. You’ll always need to pay an interpreter to translate for you and, even more important, you’ll need to trust the interpreter. What I would recommend is to know a minimum of French or Moroccan Arabic to really build a successful business and become a local.
Did you raise funds thanks to banks or did you use your personal savings?
As we said before, we only used personal savings. At the beginning, we made a collaboration with the deliverer and we had the products for free, but we had to pay them back once we would have sold them. In this way, we have been pushed to sell the products way quicker than if we had the money of a loan. For what concerns the interior, I believe people come here for the quality of the products and not to find a fancy place.
What about some Ayaso's insights?
Were you not scared to open such a revolutionary business for the Moroccan society?
We have never been scared, because without risks you don’t have anything. At the beginning our clients were mainly expats, but then Moroccans joined them. The thing Moroccans loved the most was seeing a foreigner talking about Moroccan traditional products. And I loved that!
How do you manage to get organic products to sell here in Morocco ?
Local producers are coming to us to sell their products, so after that their proposal we need to make a selection. For the bio European products, we have a distributor that deals directly with the producers. We became famous almost immediately because we were a unique concept in Marrakech. We have never had to pay for publicity also thanks to people and clients who talked a lot about us.
How do you recruit your employees? How do you manage your team?
We always ask friends if they know someone who’s searching for a job and that’s how we found all our team. For the cooks, they all come from the non profit association “Amal”, which helps girls and women in difficulty. A game changing thing is having decided to pay our employees a right salary and treating them well. In this way, they work better and they love coming here to work.
Which are your business models?
The main objective of Ayaso is connecting customers to good and healthy products. Of course, I’m always here to share my knowledge about food and a healthy lifestyle. Ayaso is not only a shop: events, nutritious dishes and consciousness complete it making it what it is today.
“Moroccan Organic Oil”
Spice up your vacation with a seductive blend of crypto expertise and Tulum's tropical beauty?
Tulum Crypto Fest 2023 is the perfect opportunity for you to immerse yourself in 4 days of active learning, socializing, and networking, all in the breathtaking backdrop of Tulum. Join other like-minded individuals and gain insights from over 30 renowned speakers on the latest blockchain technologies, AI, tokenized real estate, and more. Participate in engaging workshops and a thrilling hackathon, pushing the boundaries of what's possible in today's technological landscape.
Experience the perfect blend of cutting-edge innovation and Tulum's vibrant expat community. Be inspired by witnessing groundbreaking projects at the captivating Whale Tank pitching session and forge invaluable connections with thought leaders from around the world, all while enjoying the unique charm of Tulum.
Register now to secure your spot and access exclusive discounts before they're gone!
Use the promo code WELCOMETCF to receive a 20% discount on your ticket purchase.
Hurry – spots are filling up fast! 🙀 We can't wait to see you there!
If you liked it, PIN IT!
Give us some love!8