Romanians have become interested in their health and well being and try to get more information about it by choosing to see a nutritionist or running specific tests, and what they don't know about a balanced life they compensate by asking specialist advice. Turkish – owned Gaya Health Boutique tapped into this way of thinking and targeted health-aware Romanians by launching a food intolerance test called York Test on the Romanian market last year.
One year after launch, around 300 people- mostly Romanians- visit Gaya Health Boutique each month, either to get tested or just for nutritional advice, Amira Syoufi, country manager of Gaya Health Boutique told Romania-Insider.com. The company's target this year is to increase the business volume in Romania by 30 percent on the first year of activity. “Romanian people are educated, they ask for information and they want to be sure they pay for something of quality,” said the country manager.
With two products for food intolerance testing, the EUR 39 pre-test and the EUR 399 full test that provides results for 113 food items, the company says it used the product core from London, but adapted it to the Romanian market.
Most Romanians who got tested so far discovered they had food intolerance they had not known about. The country manager herself discovered her intolerance to gluten, meat and yeast. “On average, most people who take the test are intolerant to several food items. I have always had a sensibility to certain types of meat, but the intolerance to other foods took me by surprise,” she says.
Amira Syoufi, a Romanian-Syrian who grew up in Damascus and moved to Romania when she was 9, says setting up this business in Romania was her biggest accomplishment so far. After two years or living and working in Istanbul, she returned to Romania to oversee this startup. She now runs a 15-staff team.
Syoufi's stay in Istanbul was a leaning experience, she says. “The business environment in Romania is slower than in Istanbul. The way they negotiate, the strategies they have in negotiations, I learned all about these there. […] But in many areas we (in Romania, e.n) have specialists and we go towards the direction we should,” she says. She would like to see a better client service in the country, and a better use of the country's potential. With an MA in Oriental studies, Syoufi says Romanians should use more the oriental way of looking at life. “Orientals enjoy life even when things get tough, they smile and hope for the better tomorrow. We Romanians look more on the negative side,” she adds.
(photo source: Gaya Health Boutique)