Hey Ryan and Adam! How did you guys meet? What were you doing before you decided to launch NOKA?
Ryan: We met through a mutual friend. When we decided to launch a business together, Adam was General Counsel for an aviation company and I was doing media ad sales. I knew that Adam biked so I invited him to take a ride with me in the Santa Monica Mountains one day and that’s where the idea for NOKA was born. At the top of the ride I gave Adam a baby food pack of mango puree and he loved it. We both thought, “let’s put the smoothies we make for ourselves every morning in this awesome packaging.”
Given your experience with NOKA, what are your top tips for entrepreneurs out there?
- Find a partner and the right one because you spend more time with them than your significant other. We can't imagine doing this alone.
- It's so overused, but surround yourself with people that are smarter than you and people that have done what you're trying to do.
- Don't have an ego or take yourself too seriously. We joke with each other constantly.
- It truly takes a village, so show those closest to you love and appreciation because they're in the trenches with you.
What does NOKA give you more time to do in your lives?
Adam: Be outside. I take NOKA with me when I cross country ski, snowboard, and mountain bike.
It's clear you're passionate about food. What's your favorite food/ food experience?
Ryan: Indian food is our go-to. But, we've had a lot of great meals on the road mostly due to Adam's uncanny ability to mine Yelp. I'd take Adam and Yelp over an Eater or Infatuation list any day. When we launched in our first region of Whole Foods in the Southwest we road-tripped from Dallas to Austin to Houston to New Orleans to demo in stores because we couldn't afford to hire people. In Dallas we found a Syrian place called Afrah that has the best baklava you've ever had and in New Orleans we ate at an Israeli place called Shaya that was mind blowing.
You guys are based in different places. What's the secret to running a business remotely?
Adam: We're on the phone and Skype constantly. But, it's worth it to us because we both have roots and interests that made us settle in different places and we're both happy with where we are and that's the most important thing.