Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Davinder Sawhney, Founder and Owner of Ma Ka Khana LLC dba Bebe's All Natural, located in South Amboy, NJ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
It all started with Ma Ka Khana LLC dba Bebe's All Natural (Indian Vegan Cooking Sauces). 'BeBe,' pronounced 'Bay-bay,' means 'Grandmother' or 'Mother' in the Punjabi Language from the northern region of India. This is where our Bebe's All Natural sauces and gravies originate from. For years, I, Davinder Sawhney (Bunty), have mastered the art of preparing rich sauces and gravies for the world. Whether it was for a quick snack or a gathering of family and friends, I always created some of the most authentic meals with love in each bite.
I quickly realized that my sauces and gravies were the keys to everyone's heart. To simplify the time-consuming process of making the sauces, I started preparing jars to offer. With this in mind, Bebe's All Natural was born. I worked on developing a product and a brand that stands out as an authentic, all-natural product, liked and craved by consumers. Since the launch of our product, we have moved from our home kitchen to develop our recipes and get our products tested and certified for commercial production and jarring.
We had a soft launch of our products at a local farmers market, where we realized that during the taste test, our "taste to sale" conversion rate was almost 95%, and we had a steady stream of repeat customers. Gradually, we added two more farmer's markets and approached a few local convenience and health food stores, where we started seeing a good and favorable response. Now, we are in the process of launching our products nationally at the Summer Fancy Food Show in NY in June 2023.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We realized that there were many entrepreneurs out there who were in the same situation as us, encountering numerous hurdles in understanding and navigating the process of establishing a new food/CPG business. As we developed a plan to build a production facility, we decided to construct it in a way that would allow us to utilize the resources for the benefit of the community in which we live and work. Hence, we developed a plan to start a sister establishment: South Amboy Kitchen LLC.
South Amboy Kitchen has a mission: to provide universal Sewa (Service to humanity) without considering caste, creed, color, nationality, or religion. It is a rental kitchen that aims to create an ecosystem of support services and infrastructure for culinary entrepreneurs with a dream to turn it into a reality. Starting any business has its challenges, but food-based businesses face a unique set of obstacles. One of the first and most common problems food-based businesses encounter is finding a suitable commercial kitchen space in their operational area or where they want to establish and grow their business. Our aim is to address that need by offering low-risk access to clean and affordable kitchen space, storage facilities, and other related services to help entrepreneurs establish and grow their businesses.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The biggest roadblock we encountered during this journey turned out to be obtaining financial assistance. We were genuinely surprised to discover that there was hardly any financial support available to help us get our masala project up and running, let alone build a production facility. With this realization, we made the decision to utilize our life savings and allocate them toward constructing a facility that would aid aspiring entrepreneurs like ourselves.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Believe in yourself, believe in your product, believe in and follow your dreams, and keep your eyes on your goal/target, don't let anyone distract you from achieving your goal, listen to everyone's advice, and evaluate every eventual outcome based on the advice and go with your gut feeling. Don't stop if you become tired; STOP only when you are done and have achieved your goal.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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