Aaron Chin, 29
Life Story: As a kid, Aaron Chin would make money by selling hockey cards outside the 7-Eleven near his Richmond home. Although he always wanted to work for the family business, he’s grateful that his father, Organika founder Thomas Chin, never forced him. The younger Chin joined the company in 2014, after earning a BA in political science at UBC and a master of international business management from France’s Grenoble Graduate School of Business.
Chin, who worked his way up through purchasing and sales before being named CEO last year–when his brother Jordan became president and COO–says Organika needed a shakeup. Five years ago, to appeal to younger consumers, it moved from supplements and vitamins to powders. The vertically integrated company, which makes its own products to control quality, launched Canada’s first collagen and bone broth powders. Unlike most of its rivals, Richmond-based Organika has grown as a result, Chin says. “We’ve been able to pivot compared to other brands we used to compete with that rely on pills and vitamins.”
In an industry where decision makers are typically Caucasians in their 50s and 60s, Chin says being young is an advantage because he’s quick to adapt and to recognize trends. Another plus: “You go into every meeting with the mindset that you have to prove yourself even more.”
Bottom Line: Designated an essential business, Organika has seen a big sales boost from COVID-19. “It’s rocking,” Chin says. Besides retailing online, the 140-employee company sells at more than 5,000 stores across Canada, including Costco and Shoppers Drug Mart. In March, it entered the snack food category with another Canadian first: a low-carb, low-sugar, high-fat collagen cookie.
Organika, which has posted 27-percent compound annual revenue growth for the past three years, is pushing to get on the shelves of a major Chinese grocery chain. It’s also kicked off the registration process in Europe, where French supermarket giant Carrefour and other retailers have shown interest.