My working week: Yoel Grinboim

Co-founder and CEO of Aroma-Life; Age: 41; Marital status: Married with three daughters.

Job description: Together with my partners David Frankel and Avishai Lahav, we founded Aroma-Life in 1997. Today, it’s one of Israel’s largest healthcare enterprises, marketing over-the-counter health preparations, nutritional supplements, vitamin and medical devices through thousands of stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and clinics both within Israel and abroad.
Education: A degree in business management, and also a PhD in alternative medicine.
Every year, though, I study something new – but that’s just for me, for my spirit.
How did you get into this? I had a shirt manufacturing company when David and Avishai, who’d been friends for 25 years, came to me, telling me about their idea for a new company and asking me to join them. A large part of our success is due to our very close relationship.
First job? At 12, I took a summer job cleaning a wedding hall – bathrooms, washing dishes, sweeping stairs. I worked from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., and suffered a little disagreement with my parents over it. My grandmother still hasn’t forgiven me, but I wanted to earn money and wanted to work.
Worst job? I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve done. Even washing plates and sweeping stairs I learned something.
What makes Aroma-Life different? We work to bring products to the Israeli market that haven’t been available here before. Six out of seven of our products were items we introduced to the Israeli market. We also focus on exports, bringing Israeli knowledge and creativity to the world. In Europe we collaborate in marketing with our strategic partner Teva.
Is everything manufactured here in Israel? We try. We’re a very Zionistic organization. All three of us partners are officers in the military and still do reserve duty, something we’re very proud of. Because of our Zionist principles, we do our very best to manufacture here, but it’s not always possible.
Who buys your products? Women, mostly. They’re the ones who make the decisions and buy for their families.
Women like some of our unique products, like children’s vitamins, which are probably the best in the world, made completely without sugar. Then too, all of our products are kosher and most have the Badatz hechsher, something else that’s very important to us.
High moment? In terms of business, when we signed the agreement with Teva to market our products in Europe.
But on a more personal level, it’s when I get calls from customers who just want to say thanks. Mothers call, saying that since their children started taking our vitamins, they’re feeling so much better.
Senior citizens call, saying their lives have changed since they discovered Peglax, a laxative. Those are the things that make me feel good.
Do you take any of your products yourself? For the last four years, I take Omega 3 and Phyto-Guard for my heart every day. That’s all I need.
Low moment? We’ve had products that we liked, that we believed in, but didn’t work in the market, so we pulled them off. We might make some changes and bring it back again, or maybe just write it off.
It depends. Not everything you do is successful.
Controversial? (Laughing) Yes. Everything. Everyone has their own ideas and sometimes people just go crazy because of the way I do things, but that’s the way it is.
How many employees? Twenty. Everybody works very hard, giving much more than 100%.
What’s your biggest selling product? Peglax laxative. It’s the only laxative that totally non-addictive, a very important feature.
Perks? Every day of every week, I get to meet interesting people, many from academia, who are researching new and exciting things, many of which will improve the lives of people all over the world.
From academia? Yes. That’s where many of our new products originate, things that have been studied and researched and have proven to be beneficial.
At Aroma-Life we believe we have the best experience in Israel in taking ideas and transforming them into products.
We pride ourselves on taking Jewish knowledge, combining it with solid research to create products that improve people’s health and well-being wherever they’re sold.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? Studying history.
What do you see yourself doing in five years? The same, but exporting more internationally, especially to the US.
What’s your dream? It changes all the time, but right now I’d say that I want a good and healthy life for me and my family and that we’d have the time to travel more, enjoying the experience together.