Hey everyone! On behalf of my wife and I, we wanted to thank you for all the love and support during the past couple of days since airing on Shark Tank. The amount of emails, social media messages and phone calls of support we have received has been overwhelming and we are forever grateful!
I thought Id’ take the opportunity to just write a few (pretty personal) words here to share with you all about the process of why we went on the show. So if you have a few minutes, please read on…
For anyone here who runs a business full time, you know how challenging it can get. So challenging in fact, that any rational person would give up when times get tough.
Let me take you back to 2014 when Jimalie first arrived into Australia. At the time we were living in Cairns and although we didn’t have many products in the country, we were fortunate enough to have a few businesses at the time to help us contribute to the growth of Jimalie. Our family and friends also assisted us financially, especially at times when we required more capital to bring in inventory. For a while it was steady, establishing new partnerships through distribution and getting into retail stores across Australia.
By the end of 2014 we decided to move back to NSW as we felt our dear boy Rylan needed more assistance and had to be in an Autism specific school system. As helpful as Cairns was in assisting our little man, we felt that moving was the right decision for him.
So we sold up the existing businesses in Cairns and moved to the Central Coast and kept Jimalie as our main business. And this was when things got difficult for my family and Jimalie. Being a rookie at the whole ‘products’ business game (as we were always in service based industries) I quickly learnt that cash flow truly is king. Although Jimalie products at the time were selling well, I didn’t have a buffer of income to fall back on and was regularly using cash from the business to support the family. For the next year after that, the cash from Jimalie began to dry and I wasn’t in a position to be borrowing from anyone.
By June 2016 we hit rock bottom with the business. We had back orders from our customers, with no capital to move another container into the country to fulfil them. I got myself a job at a bottlo working at night to support the fam, while selling Jimalie products to stores during the day to support the business. By then we were reduced to eating less to save, and bills kept stacking up. So much so, that our family car was repossessed, the bank had creditors knocking at our door and small loans that were owing to family and friends were due, not only that but the threat of losing our house was very real! This all happened within a few weeks in June 2016, I will never forget it.
Thinking back, losing the business, our house and the car would have been very difficult to overcome but I’m sure I would have eventually recovered from it as life does go on. But knowing I was at a breaking point with pressures of supporting a growing family, this I probably wouldn’t have never recovered from. Any father reading this would know how heartbreaking it would be to not be able to support your young family. Call me old fashioned, but this was and still is my sole duty.
It’s those moments in life when you have to decide, if you want to keep fighting or do you want to give up? The two paths are just as painful as each other, but I had to quickly decide which path I wanted to walk down and do something about.
Overcoming a very difficult situation I have been very fortunate to have a great network of family and friends. Special mentions are; my mum who has always assisted our household spending time with the kids while us adults worked. Another factor is the ocean, keeping me sane, often hitting the surf most mornings, praying and being mindful with nature. And of course my amazing wife who has walked with me in the darkest of days, always supporting, always contributing with a positive attitude.
And then at those hardest of times both in my professional and personal life, I realised why we made Jimalie in the first place. It was created to not benefit only me and those I hold dear, but it actually exists because it has the potential to help so many people.
We were given an opportunity to create a business built on the foundations to help others. The business stemmed from my dad and his contribution at the farm in helping those less fortunate when he was alive and my son who reminded us to live a humble life, close to nature and eating only what our loving earth gives us. These two humans are the reasons why Jimalie exists. They carried a message for us to share with the world through what we now call our 3 F’s – Food, farmer, Family. A message I will elaborate more on another blog entry.
It was at that point I decided we needed to move forward and fight the battles ahead. I realised that true success is not based on how much we can take from our business, but will be measured by the businesses ability to give back. This was my fuel to move forward and that the business had to survive in order to establish what we set out to do in the first place.
By September last year, we had the opportunity to pitch on the first round of Shark Tank. In November we were able to pitch to the sharks themselves. Before I went on I hugged my family and I was already worn down from the many months of being on survival mode. I remember hugging my eldest boy Rylan and I whispered in his ear and said I will do this for you and for dad!
The rest from there you saw on TV. Fortunately Glen Richards saw value in Jimalie and us, by May 2017 we passed due diligence and by June another container arrived into the country.
If there is one thing I’ve learnt from Glen so far, is that I need to approach the business from a higher perspective. Often I only see what is around me, but when you elevate yourself higher, you will see more. The challenges ahead, but more importantly, the vision becomes clearer. This I have certainly observed though his business acumen.
With this, we have been given a wonderful opportunity to create a part of that vision on our family farm. We have finalised our plans to make our foundation a reality, to give back to poorer communities of the Philippines starting at our farm. Although I cant disclose everything now, I can tell you that hundreds, if not thousands, of people will benefit from it and all because we believe it is the right thing to do! It involves workshop and educational spaces, a gym, dorms and a manufacturing facility. We will cultivate an organic biodynamic intercropped farming system under our coconut palms. And it will be amazing, which I’m sure one day you would want to come and see!
I told someone about the plans, they laughed at me… from there I knew I was headed in the right direction!
For now, here is what it will (sort of) look like!
So if you are reading this blog, we kindly ask for your support by purchasing our products and letting everyone know our story. When you see the illustration of the farmer on our products, let it remind you what we are all about!
Although it has been quite a journey so far, I feel as though we have just begun…
– Jaypee Abraham