Exotic Snax by Ahmed Jaafar: A Kuwait-Based Ecommerce Website Providing Exclusive Imported Snacks

Ahmed Jaafar describes the journey to starting Exotic Snax with his three partners: Abdullah Al Ghanim, Humoud Al Sabah and Mubarak Al Sabah. Exotic Snax is a Kuwait-based ecommerce website providing the most exclusive, exotic, imported snacks on the market, from renowned brands such as Red Bull, Pepsi, Cheetos, Nabisco, etc.

Interview with Ahmed Jaafar, CEO of Exotic Snax

Ahmed Jaafar, CEO of Exotic Snax

What is your scope of business within the sector? What was the journey to starting Exotic Snax and specializing in imported and luxury snacks and these very specific niche foods?

When we started importing, we started looking into luxury snacks, food and beverages. We saw that there was a gap in the market itself. We were college students back in the States and while we were there, we realized that there was a huge variety of products that had not reached to our market. I used to ask myself why those products had not reached Kuwait and what the reason behind it could be. Was it logistical issues? Was it just the fact that there was no one tapping into that market? My three partners, Abdullah Al Ghanim, Humoud Al Sabah, Mubarak Al Sabah, and I all came together and thought, why not have it be us introducing such a thing, especially since we have some knowledge coming back from the States. That is where Exotic Snax came into place. We started realizing that there were gaps in keto, gluten free, etc. We started differentiating ourselves between others because we carry those products. Not only that, we created categories for people to reach these products much easier and to become more cautious on what they are eating and what they are not eating. In the past in Kuwait, there were not a lot of people that used to test themselves if they were gluten free or not. Now, there are a lot of people that are more cautious about that and they are more cautious when it comes to their kids. We are providing a platform where it is more accessible to reach those products and at the same time, diversifying ourselves with the market itself and what it provides. You can either find a health store to get those products or you can go to coops or corporations of supermarkets, but they unfortunately do not differentiate that if it is not located on the packaging itself. People in the past were not as educated when it came to those issues, but we are seeing a huge change currently and it will continue increasing. That is why we are here to set that forward when it comes to these categories.

What are you doing to differentiate yourself from your competitors? What are your competitive advantages?

Our sector is built based upon the suppliers. Whoever supplies the products are the people that are providing the sorts of products that stand with the supermarkets themselves. We stood out by importing our own products. Our product differentiation helps us compete with the market itself which has also helped us grow. We are always staying up to date on the trends which is also why we are considered a youth company. All of our partners are considered middle aged. On top of that, we concentrate on social responsibility. This helped us with the marketing to outsell other companies. Unfortunately, when it comes to social responsibility, it is not a must here, compared to the States where companies stand out with their social responsibility activities. Also, thinking outside of the box was something that helped us compete with the sectors that are available in the market as well as the untraditional marketing that we are currently using through social media platforms and indirect marketing. This has helped us in a very short period of time to gain market share in this huge market.

What specific CSR activities are you active in?

We have worked with a certain charity through GoFundMe where we helped a lot with animals. There are a lot of cautious people here in Kuwait that are trying to change the way of thinking and it is very important for people to start concentrating on animals, specifically dogs. We have a huge amount of street dogs that need to be sheltered and need a home. Abdullah Al Timimi was a one man show that really helped us. He was doing funding through Change.org and GoFundMe pages targeting dogs. We helped fund those projects and that was the beginning of our social responsibility.

What is your international reach?

We carry over 1500 products, so we try to hit every single age group and every single gender. This has helped us boost our sales. If you are looking for a certain snack, whether it is keto, gluten free, or if it has a specific amount of sugar needed, you will find it at Exotic Snax.

We are one of the only companies that ships abroad. We have a huge variety of customers that are abroad, specifically the countries that are next to us in the GCC. We have some customers that have ordered from Germany, which was quite exciting for us as a team. There were even some orders that came from the States. The best part is that we deliver in three business days, wherever you are in the world, through DHL. By accomplishing that, it has given us an upper hand. Rather than only concentrating on the Kuwaiti market, we can expand based upon that fast delivery using our ecommerce website itself. We ship everywhere in the world, but what we saw that was very amazing was with Iraq, for example. Iraq was not a country that Kuwait does a lot of business with, but when it came to snacks, we had a very huge customer base there. That was amazing seeing the change of different countries coming in on different platforms. We can tap into our customer base using only our website from where we are located in Kuwait. This provides us with more analyzation on where to expand, where to reach out more, where to market more. This has helped us a lot through the Shopify platform and more by making life easier using third party apps and minimizing the costs on the company itself. We stood out because of the name Exotic Snax. CRM is that backbone of the company itself. We believe that the more you spend on CRM, the more you are going to get back. It gets reflected in your ROI. Currently, people here are becoming more cautious when it comes to CRM. If they do not see the service that they expect, they might not put any of their money into your business and this can affect your word of mouth, etc. This is one of the most important marketing tools that you have as a company. The best part of having ecommerce and using online platforms is that you can reach a wide variety of people that you would not be able to reach otherwise and that is something that we are capitalizing on.

What are some of the brands and products that you specialize in at Exotic Snax?

The brands or products that Exotic Snax chooses are very specific, but straightforward. We concentrate on imported snacks that spend heavily on marketing rather than us spending on marketing. Pepsi, for example, offers a wide variety of flavors that Kuwait does not carry. Kuwait only carries the generic flavors. We concentrate on carrying the other flavors that the official distributors here in Kuwait do not carry and we play upon that. Another brand that stands out is Red Bull. We carry different types of flavors that are not available in the Kuwaiti market. Not only that, we distribute for other companies as well. Cheetos is another important brand that we deal with. We carry Nabisco and all types of Nabisco brands, such as Nutter Butter. Nutter Butter is another important brand that is not carried anywhere here in Kuwait and we are the only ones that sell it currently. We get into what the trends are. Another brand that is trending currently is Rap Snacks. Rap Snacks are chips and they represent a certain rapper, for example. Currently, R&B is booming, especially in the Middle East. So, when it comes to a certain rapper that is very well known and he or she is into the chips, it sells more than you expect. These are the very important brands that we deal with currently, but we do have a huge variety of products. We have over 1500 products currently that we carry.

You carry such brands as Red Bull, Pepsi, Cheetos, Nabisco, etc. What are some of your most popular brands or products currently? What are you seeing trending right now seasonally or for the upcoming back to school?

What is trending currently with us is, for example, Rowntree’s which is a UK brand. It is a vegan brand, so there are no artificial colors, no concentrates, and that is very beneficial for the younger generation and the kids that are going to school and sugar rushes that kick in. This would help in choosing the right products for your kids when you shop with Exotic Snax.

Who are your customers?

We cater to the younger generation, from kids to adults. We carry over 1500 products, so we try to hit every single age group and every single gender. This has helped us boost our sales. If you are looking for a certain snack, whether it is keto, gluten free, or if it has a specific amount of sugar needed, you will find it at Exotic Snax. That is something that has helped us differentiate ourselves in the market.

Are you targeting native Kuwaitis, expats, or those that have lived abroad and found a taste for these products?

If you look at the breakdown of the population of Kuwait, the number of expats is about four times higher than Kuwaiti citizens. High end, luxury, high class or middle class is our target market. It varies whether you are an expat or not. We do carry a lot of Indian products that are considered high end. We carry a lot of American products that are considered high end. But we do target other high-end customers that are looking for their products and they are not able to find them anywhere in the local supermarkets.

What is your vision for the company in the medium term, the next three years?

In the next three years, I really want to see my brand spread in every single region in the world. I do believe it is a dream, but I do believe it is something that we can accomplish, especially with all the tools that are available. I believe it is very doable and the achievements that Exotic Snax has already seen provide me with the confidence that we are able to accomplish such a thing.

What is your inspiration? What drives you to do what you do?

What I believe inspired me is the responsibility that I have as a man, as a person, towards my family, towards my friends. I believe that I have the responsibility of taking care of whoever is with me, whoever is next to me.

For more information, please visit: https://exoticsnaxkw.com.


This material (including media content) may not be published, broadcasted, rewritten, or redistributed. However, linking directly to the page (including the source, i.e. Marcopolis.net) is permitted and encouraged.

Scroll to top