One of the 40 healthy vitamin products manufactured in Richmond.
Photo courtesy Herbaland
Herbaland co-founders Musharaf Syed, on left, and Aisha Yang.
Photo courtesy Herbaland
Richmond Stories: Herbaland’s journey
Published 11:45 PDT, Fri May 12, 2023
Last Updated: 12:19 PDT, Mon May 15, 2023
Aisha Yang was born in Taiwan and immigrated to Canada 20 years ago with a background in marketing and sales. Musharaf Syed was born in Pakistan and he immigrated to Canada 20 years ago with a background in engineering and nutraceuticals. They started a business in their kitchen and together they built one of BC’s fastest growing businesses.
Richmond Sentinel host, Jim Gordon (JG), recently sat down with Aisha Yang (AY), co-founder and chief executive officer and Musharaf Syed (MS) co-founder chief operating officer of Herbaland in another Richmond Story series.
JG: This is the kind of story in our series that we like to share. Aisha how did you and Musharaf create this successful company at your kitchen table. It is a cliché beginning, but it does happen, and you’re proof of that.
AY: Going back to the beginning of our story, I was born and raised in Taiwan and Musharaf was born in Pakistan and we moved to Canada twenty years ago. We are both grateful to a country that is multi-cultural and peaceful. We were fortunate that we both had good jobs but with a third child on the way it was pretty hard back then, to send our children to day care, so we decided to take a risk and start a business known today as Herbaland. With Musharaf’s background in engineering and nutraceuticals and my background in marketing and sales we created Herbaland together.
JG: Musharaf let’s talk about the brand. Today you offer forty different products to forty different countries. Gummy is big word today; can we talk about your first product you created – the vitamin gummy.
MS: We had the ingredients tested and approved and that underwent a lot of trials and research, then we decided to manufacture the product ourselves, so with a background in engineering I was able to research where we could buy the machines.
JG: The customer is very educated and knowledgeable, they can go online and find what they want, and what they do want is a product that is high quality. I must point out that all your gummies are: non GMO, allergen free, gluten free, vegan and no palm oil. That must have been something you wanted to target from the very beginning.
AY: Absolutely, we know Canadian products have a high standard in Canada’s marketplace and the international market. When we created our products, we wanted them to be very niche, sugar free, vegan and gluten free so that all different cultures could enjoy our products. That decision was set very early when we were in the development stage.
JG: Musharaf let’s talk about the brand. From your small beginnings to all these years later you went from one product to 40 different products with sales in 40 different countries.
MS: First of all, with manufacturing our products here in Canada, the Canadian Health Standard Act has extremely high standards that we must meet. Then we built a fully equipped lab, with a Research and Development team of eleven employees, all graduates or have a masters degree from UBC or McGill University. They are all working daily on new product development.
Herbaland’s Quality Control department employs nineteen employees who check daily to ensure that our products maintain Health Canada’s Standards.
JG: I think it’s important for our readers to know that these products are made in Canada. Herbaland has also earned the recognition of being one of the top ten fastest growing companies in BC. But your story has an equally important story in your journey and that is your community work.
AY: We are grateful to be able take care of our team and respect the many ways we can give back to the community that continues to support us. In 2012 we received the New Business of the Year Award from the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. It had a big impact on our business. That’s when we started looking into who we can give a helping hand to, give our heart to, and inspire our team members to join our journey. Today, we are proud of the list of groups that we have been able to support. We don’t do it to be famous, it’s something that really triggers our heart to give back.
One particular project that happened during COVID-19 was recognizing those that worked long hours to take care of our community. We donated more than 40,000 bottles of immune gummy vitamins for the “front-line heroes” who took care of all of us during the pandemic.
JG: And I understand that you were also involved in the recent CARHA World Hockey Tournament which the Richmond Sentinel was a big part of. Together we welcomed a lot of tourists from all over the world.
Let’s change the subject and talk about the next five to ten years. No one can predict the future, but where do you see the company going?
MS: We have at this moment 150,000 square feet and four locations and all these locations are in Richmond. We plan to expand to 300,000 square feet. We currently have 250 employees and plan to grow to 500 employees.
AY: We have a good team, we want to continue growing together. We believe the most important pillar in our foundation is heart – always be grateful and give back.
To watch the filmed interview in full go to richmondsentinel.ca/videos.