ASTANA – As far as the Axartov sisters are concerned, there’s nothing like a clean eating regime and a juice fast to repair and renew the body.
Sisters Maya and Zhanna Axartov believe in the practice so much, they’re building a new detox business, all the while raising two toddler sons.
Maya, the younger of the sisters, is the mastermind behind the venture. She has long been interested in health and wellness. She follows successful nutritionists and wellness coaches on social media, reads health and fitness books, and makes sure her family eats healthy. With the arrival of her son Karim, her interest has grown stronger.
During one of her long sleepless nights, the young mother gathered all her courage and made up her mind to start a business in the industry in which she had so much interest, but where she had never worked before. A morning phone call to Zhanna reinforced her determination, as her elder sister supported the idea at once.
A few months later, the sisters, an accountant and environmentalist, decided to pursue their dreams and co-founded AxDetox (www.axdetox.kz). Maya, 28, became the chief of operations and Zhanna, 30, took over marketing.
“We all want to have more energy, sleep more deeply, think more clearly and feel more vibrant. Giving the body a rest from solid food and nurturing it briefly with easily digested, nutrient-dense juices can improve health by healing and renewing the body, mind and spirit,” Zhanna told The Astana Times.
The industry newcomers currently offer one-day and three-day cleanse programmes. One detox day includes seven types of beverages. A client is delivered four bottles of different smoothies, two bottles of fresh juices and one bottle of protein-rich almond milk in the morning after placing an order the evening before. Besides these, customers are recommended to drink plenty of water during the day, as well as the home-made herbal tea that comes as a bonus from the producers.
“Whether the customer’s goal is to boost the immune system, slim down or detox after a few too many cocktail parties, we can create a unique juice cleanse programme tailored to meet the client’s specific needs. The beverages do not contain any artificial sweeteners, colorants or genetically modified food. All the juices are cold-pressed. The fruits and vegetables are organic and fresh. They are soaked in water for a few hours before use. That’s how we ensure they are nitrate-free,” Maya said.
The two women stand by their products. “We test the products and menus at home with our sons, family members and friends. I am a proud mother. My 22-month old son has already developed healthy eating habits. He will choose spirulina over a candy any day,” Maya commented.
The variety of ingredients the beverages contain is really wide. One can only imagine having such a diversity of nutritious ingredients in a day’s menu. On average, seven types of vegetables, eight types of fruits, three varieties of berries, greens, spirulina (a biomass of blue-green algae), chia seeds, Jerusalem artichoke syrup, cinnamon, vegetable protein and chlorella are used to prepare the beverages of just one day. The drinks are not repeated within any of the programmes.
One of the competitive advantages of AxDetox is that they provide comprehensive information about cleansing with additional guidance for wellness practices. The company has partnered with famous Russian wellness coach Yekaterina Koval (@detoxickate), who shares her expertise with the novice businesswomen. Every AxDetox client is offered a promo code to log into Koval’s website (www.detoxickate.ru/axdetox) and learn much more about their cleanse and wellness as a whole.
The sisters are continuously learning and exploring opportunities to improve and expand the business. “We recommend a cleanse with a juice fast at the change of every season, so now we are developing three-day juice fasts for winter, spring, summer and fall,” Maya shared.
Other than juices and smoothies, the company makes superfoods, which they sell in local stores. For a deeper cleanse, the entrepreneurs are also looking into introducing a 21-day menu after building a solid client base and monitoring their needs.
When asked how they combine motherhood with business, Maya jokingly responded, “by not sleeping at night.”
Despite the challenges, the family business is thriving. The sisters’ parents, who live just outside the capital, grow the vegetables, fruits and berries used to make the juices and smoothies. Maya’s husband Adlet delivers orders in the morning before going to his main job. Others are involved in tasting new products.
“We have recently hired our first staff member who is not part of our family. Now we can take orders in four languages: Kazakh, Russian, French and English,” Zhanna said.
The small family business has almost 4,000 followers on Instagram (@ax_detox) and a few dozen regular clients. A one-day cleanse costs 8,500 tenge (US$26) and the price for the three-day fast is 23,500 tenge (US$70).