The story about NJIE
Hello! My name is Assan Njie and I grew up at Guldheden in Gothenburg together with my mother and my two siblings. Early on, I learned that everyone in the family needed to pull their straw to help mother who needed three jobs to support us. As an 8-year-old, I therefore started to sell newspapers and the happiness I felt every time I supported to something at the dinner table cannot be described. It was the feeling that came to reflect everything I would do in life. My mother taught me to believe in hard work and that nothing is impossible only if you decide.
ALOE VERA DRINK
At age 16, I set my goal to be the best in MMA, Mixed Martial Arts. Three years and thousands of hours later in the gym, I became Swedish champion. To finance my professional career, I took a job at a warehouse and switched tough training periods with intensive work at home. The stubbornness yielded results and I managed to enter the top 10 rankings in Europe. At that time, I was thinking a lot about what I wanted to achieve with my life. During competitions in the Netherlands I tested an Aloe Vera drink that I drank after the workout and realized that there was nothing like this in Sweden.
The start of the journey
In 2008, I started NJIE and managed through a bank loan finance the first order with Aloe Vera drink. It was a great day when the truck backed in the container with 1,650 cartons (33,000 bottles) on the pavement outside the mother’s apartment in Guldheden. The neighbors were not as happy as I can say! During the next 24 hours, family and friends helped to carry and borrow spaces. Mom’s living room was filled from floor to ceiling, as well as storerooms in basements and friends’ rooms. Since there was no money for marketing, I had to find other creative ways to reach out. I put my last money on a red moped that I drove around to local gyms, salad bars and cafes. All to as many as possible could try the good drink. Business went well and the new drink was very well received. Apart from several challenges in the initial phase, it didn’t take long before NJIE Aloe Vera- Drycken had retailers all over the country and was soon available not only in Sweden, but also in Finland, Norway and Denmark.
PROPUD – a big success!
In 2015, the next product – ProPud protein pudding – was launched – a lactose-free protein pudding without added sugar with 10% protein. The idea for protein pudding I got at home in the kitchen when I, as usual, stood and mixed protein powder with milk to get my daily dose. There must be an easier way to do this, I thought. And there was – ProPud protein pudding became our absolute biggest success! It is today available in several flavors and is also sold in countries outside Sweden. During the spring of 2016, ProPud protein milk shake was launched, which had the same properties as the pudding. I was very proud when the milkshake won the prize as the 2017 Grocery of the Year.
Ready for the next step
Today I am no longer alone and the product portfolio continue to grow. Together at NJIE, we are over 60 employees who develop and sell exciting concepts with a focus on health. As you understand, I love challenges and my challenge to you all is to take the next step towards a healthier lifestyle. You have everything to gain and I say like my mother – nothing is impossible only if you decide!
Founder and CEO at NJIE AB