Alexander Baharani is French speaking, Tunisian born with a deep rooted Indian heritage. His brother, Kumar Baharani and he co-founded Kinetic, one of the European leading companies in the natural products industry. He put my passion for organic and respect for nature down to his childhood environment. Even before Kinetic, he had an illustrious and varied career, including dj-ing on national radio in Tunisia as a teenager. At 20, he flew to England where he enjoyed a life of leisure, before gaining a degree in PR and Marketing. This led to a stint in fashion PR, which whilst exciting and fast-moving was also very cut-throat so he soon found himself looking for an industry that resonated with him. Travelling often to California, he saw the buzz around natural products there and was inspired to bring them to England. The first US brand Kinetic launched in the UK, JASON, remains one of the best performers in the Kinetic portfolio.
1 Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in? (50 words response)
I feel exhilarated by cities, be it the virbrancy of Barcelona or the electricity of New York, however ultimately I feel most comfortable and grounded when, like my childhood, I am surrounded by nature. In the UK, I love the lush green rolling hills of Gloucestershire, but I am also an intrepid traveler and love escaping to exotic islands to be close to the water.
2 What are your proudest achievements?
As two Asian guys coming from North Africa, not born here, my brother and I are very proud to have contributed to the massive expansion of the UK health food business. We were visionaries and pioneers of clean beauty and healthy living long before it became mainstream or fashionable! Today Kinetic acts as a growth engine for the European Natural Health Market. It has always been our wish to run a mission led business , to be kind to people and the planet whilst also having a ball!
3 What inspires you?
"Despite my business head, I am a creative at heart. All forms of art inspire me; whether it is an art fair at the Venice Bienale or a ballet production by Matthew Bourne, these forms of expression move and motivate me.
We have also drawn inspiration from our Asian background. India is known for its ancient tradition in wellness and wellbeing. This influence added to the Mediterranean and naturally focused environment where we grew up has reinforced the importance of natural and holistic health in my interactions with the world. "
4 What has been biggest obstacle in your career?
Always the optimist, I instead consider obstacles to be challenges and opportunities. That said, nothing is easy when are launching a new business, particularly if it is revolutionary . You need to knock on many doors, and learn to greet rejection with a smile. We did not have many contacts in this country initially, business or social, which made matters even more difficult. However, with my personality, sense of humour, perseverance, and can-do attitude, those obstacles were overcome.
5 Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
"My mother for her amazing energy, sense of humour and determination, my grandparents for teaching us the wisdom of life and strong business ethics.
Watching the genius of the businesswoman Estee Lauder was inspirational for me, and her motto ""I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard."" Is one I carry with me each day.
6 What is the best aspect about your current role?
I love the diversity of my role; no two days are the same. The dynamism we are seeing in the natural products industry means it is a very exciting time. We are known to bring innovative, ethical, niche products from around the world, and discovering science-backed products that actually work always sparks joy.
7 And the worst?
I don't think there is a “worst”, but when you are so passionate about your business it becomes a way of life and you never switch off. You are in it 24/7, eating, living, breathing it. It is a privilege to help people with all sorts of issues (health, skin, mental wellbeing).
8 What are your long term goals?
"Like most entrepreneurs, I would like to leave a legacy. I have dedicated years and made significant sacrifices in the name of my business, and I want to make sure that my mission is passed on and means something to the next generation.
9 If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?
I'd massively clean up the UK's act environmentally, increasing pedestrianised areas in city and town centres, whilst improving our public transport systems to make them aware of the impact plastics and packaging have on the environment. I would bring in a policy which made the arts more accessible to all by increasing funding and offering all citizens free tickets for theatres and museums. I believe this would make for a happier population, rule Britannia!
10 If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why.
Hmm it would either be Albert Einstein for his encyclopedic knowledge, as there is so much more I want to learn, or as I love history, Louis XIV le Roi Soleil, to tell me everything that took place in the Château de Versailles. If only the walls could talk.