Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Vasanti Bhadkamkar, Founder of d'lish Foods Inc., located in Foster City, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
d'lish Foods Inc. is a woman of color-owned small business offering sweet and savory artisan food products with an Indian touch and a global customer base! The "Sweet" line was launched in Jan 2023 and includes Indian fusion desserts and sweet treats and are available for pick up or home delivery all over the San Francisco Bay Area through Shef.com.
The "Savory" line was launched in March 2023, featuring Savory Peanut Butter, a blend of smooth and chunky textures, with a gorgeous orange-red color from Kashmiri red chilies, a wonderful warm flavor from the cumin seeds, and a nice kick of heat from spicy red chilies. It is shipped all over the state of California and makes an appearance at food pop-ups and farmer's markets. In addition, I have my food blog that was launched in 2008 - Signature Concoctions.com, my cookbook- Authentic Indian Cooking with your Instant Pot, and the cooking classes that I have been running since 2012, all focusing on simplifying Indian cooking and making it accessible to anyone!
Tell us about yourself
I'm an SF Bay Area-based food blogger, cookbook author, cooking instructor, and content creator for brands in the food industry. On my blog, Signature Concoctions.com, in my cookbook, and in my cooking classes, I share my take on modern Indian cuisine that is cooked at home for family or guests, prepared using fresh ingredients while staying true to its authenticity. I have been formally trained in the techniques of fine cooking from the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. I apply those techniques to Indian home cooking and play with a few non‑Indian ingredients, reinventing and taking Indian cuisine to a whole new level that fits the modern lifestyle and is easy to entertain.
I launched d'lish Foods Inc. at the beginning of 2023, featuring a few of my very special sweet and savory "signature concoctions" that are sure to tickle your tastebuds! I'm grateful for the continued support through the years and hope that my new food product business will receive the same love that my cookbook, my cooking classes, and my blog have received over the years!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
With a corporate HR Technology background for over 18 years, I'm a newbie in the food industry, and I feel like every little step I have taken and continue to take toward launching and establishing my small food products business is a big accomplishment! I also LOVE it when I hear positive feedback about my offerings, be it the food products or the recipes from my blog, my cookbook, or the experience at my cooking classes, but I value constructive feedback more. I believe there's always room for improvement!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing for me as a new and solo entrepreneur, especially in a totally different industry, has been balancing different aspects of life - self, family, and the new business. Unlike my corporate job, there are no set timings for working on your business, and there's no team to rely on, at least during the initial start-up phase. However, I am now focusing on planning, prioritizing, and managing the timelines by breaking things down and, slowly but surely, checking off the to-do lists. I'm now getting very good at inserting "breaks" in between to stop and smell the roses and also to give myself pats on my back!
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find your niche and do thorough market research to see if your business offerings add value to people's lives (for which they will be ready to whip out their credit cards and happily pay you for your products/services).
- Believe in yourself and stay true to yourself. Keep the end goal in mind and stay focused. There will be lots of obstacles, disappointments, and failures - but know that they are all a part of the process, helping you learn invaluable lessons. After a fall, get up, dust off, and just keep moving forward. It is a marathon and not a sprint, for sure!
- Don't forget to celebrate small victories! Each and every little win is a building block for your overall success.
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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