Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Manya Yeva, Founder of bklynsaus, located in Brooklyn, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Bklynsaus is a Brooklyn-based, woman-owned hot sauce company making vegan and preservative-free hot sauces. A portion of proceeds from bottles purchased go back to Brooklyn-based organizations that help the local community. Our customers are anyone who loves some good hot sauce and anyone who loves Brooklyn!
Tell us about yourself
Like many new businesses, bklynsaus was created during the pandemic. I got laid off from work, and I wasn’t doing anything in my career that felt fulfilling to me. This was the perfect opportunity to finally start a passion project for myself. I have always loved food and the art of cooking. Hot sauce has been an obsession of mine, so I started testing out recipes to create my “perfect” hot sauce. Slowly I gave it to friends and family to try, and before I knew it, bklynsaus was created. I saw my city get hit hard during COVID, and I felt like whichever business I started would have to have a philanthropic component that benefited my community. The biggest motivator for me is the good I can do with the money that is donated back to these organizations. For example, we have worked with local organizations such as Green City Force, a non-profit that facilitates urban farming to access fresh produce in NYCHA communities. Every day I hope the company grows more and more so that our donations can be even more sizable. Being a part of the community is the most important aspect of this business for me.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment was seeing my idea become an actual reality. There are so many roadblocks you face, and everyone who overcomes them and finds a way to follow their passion should be very proud of themselves. Seeing people try my sauce at markets and sending me messages about how much they love it has made it all worth it.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I believe imposter syndrome is a huge thing many business owners feel and one of the hardest things to deal with. Being a business owner means figuring out every day what you’re doing right and wrong. It is a non-stop trial and error. Comparing yourself to others in the industry is a difficult habit to stop, but it’s important to remember that everyone started out the same! It’s hard to celebrate yourself sometimes but know that your accomplishments are very well deserved and received. You worked hard to get there!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Don’t rush to get to the finish line. Building a business takes time and effort and can be draining. You have to do things at the pace you feel comfortable doing them. Slow and steady wins the race!
- Don’t listen to outside noise. It’s great to accept advice, but as you grow, people will have a lot of opinions on what you should be doing with your business. Do what feels right to you - your intuition will never guide you in the wrong direction.
- Have fun! This is the time where you’re learning and growing. The beginning stage of the hustle is the most terrifying but also the most rewarding and exciting part. Take it all in!
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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