Interview with Shez Shaikh: putting wellness at the heart of your business

February 16, 2023

As part of our industry leaders interview series, Holly Stone sat down with Shez Shaikh – Co-Founder of London Nootropics, a business that produces coffee blends with the highest-quality natural adaptogens to support wellness and help customers “flow through their day”.

If you’re a BBC Dragons’ Den fan you may have seen Shez and other Co-Founder, Zain Peer, wow the judges – going on to receive offers from Deborah Meaden and Sara Davies!

To find out more, we asked Shez a few questions about his business.

Can you tell us about your business and position?

I’m Co-Founder at London Nootropics, a wellbeing company I launched alongside Zain in March 2020 after developing our adaptogenic coffee blends for over a few years.

“I developed my passion with my Co-Founder Zain, launching our bootstrapped business on a shoestring budget.”

We aim to make the highest-quality adaptogen extracts easily accessible, convenient and delicious, helping more people benefit from their balancing properties and find their flow.

My role in particular is running our business and B2B operations, working with businesses in the retail, hospitality and corporate spaces.

Shez and Zain in a Finnish mushroom farm, learning about a process that yields high-quality mushroom extracts.

Can you tell us about your career to date?

After university, I joined a global insurance firm and grew the best performing sales team in the company. I also further developed my role into performance marketing.

“Running your own business has incredible benefits but can come with challenges.”

I grew a love for adaptogens whilst taking herbal extracts with coffee for a natural boost before the gym. I then developed this passion with my Co-Founder Zain into London Nootropics, launching our bootstrapped business on a shoestring budget. We started by hand filling and sealing each sachet!

What have been your greatest challenges and how have you overcome these?

Running your own business has incredible benefits but can come with challenges. Depending on the day of the week a new one arises – whether it be our ingredients stuck in customs or Royal Mail issues.

“It’s important to keep our lovely company culture and vibes as our team grows.”

But I’m fortunate to have an amazing Co-Founder – we always work through challenges together, bounce ideas and think about ways to overcome each obstacle.

As a founder, how will HR play an integral part in your business?

It’s important to keep our lovely company culture and vibes as our team grows. We make sure our entire team are cared for by ensuring a good work-life balance and the support they need. HR is key to ensuring our team values continue to flourish as we grow.

As a business owner, how do you inspire your direct team and the wider workforce?

I believe a crucial part of being a business owner is leading by example and going the extra mile in everything we do. We want our team to find inspiration directly from me and Zain – we don’t ask them to do anything we wouldn’t be prepared to do ourselves.

“We’re an adaptogenic wellbeing company, so wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do.”

We make sure we show understanding to each individual. We’re all unique and have different motivations, so it’s vital to give the team the tools they need to the smallest detail.

How does your business support wellbeing in the workplace?

We’re an adaptogenic wellbeing company, so wellbeing is at the heart of everything we do – from adaptogenic coffee and yoga mornings to a healthy work-life balance.

And of course, our entire team enjoys our adaptogenic coffee on top – which is designed to help you stay balanced and flow through your day, helping our team be their most productive selves.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? 

Go for it, put everything you have into it and manifest your dreams. Make progress every day and keep going – there will no doubt be many obstacles along your path and every one of them is surmountable.

As you grow, always think about how you can manage your team to focus on what you’re best at. Networking is invaluable, learn from your peers and grow together!

Get in touch today to discuss your hiring needs or career.

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