Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tetyana Barbosa, founding partner of Sokolova & Barbosa SCP, located in Badalona, Spain.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is about providing healthy alternatives for any snacking and eating moment of the day. In our current world, we are overwhelmed by over processed food products rich in sugars and fats. Frrrutiz, my brand, is based on 100% natural products made from fruits and vegetables, gently dried and without any added sugars or preservatives. We have a wide range of fruits, vegetables, condiments, and fruit rollers that are delicious, easy to use, and light to transport.

Tell us about yourself

In a previous work life, I was a Human Resources Senior executive for large multinational groups. I was, therefore, in the front seat to experience the different effects of our current lifestyle on all colleagues, from the workshop to top executives. Managing the work-life balance is in itself a challenge, and being able to balance health and family wellbeing as well in this equation is becoming increasingly difficult. Just by looking at statistics, our eating habits are creating massive risks, especially for children. One of the major behavioral causes of cancer, according to the WHO, is the lack of fruits and vegetable intake. And increasing obesity among children, in particular, is worrying. As time is becoming scarcer every day, we need to make sure that everybody can have access to tasty, balanced, and healthy food. This is how the idea of Frrrutiz came to me. I felt I could have an impact there.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I started my business in the summer of 2019 with my workshop, a brick-and-mortar shop in Barcelona region, and with e-commerce in three languages. For a solo entrepreneur (I was supported by my husband for the launch), the number of administrative processes you have to go through to be able to start your activity can seem quite overwhelming. But I managed to start as foreseen in July.

The business started as forecasted, and I was quite optimistic about the development as well of a B2B line for bars and restaurants, including sales to other EU countries. However, less than nine months after opening, Frrrutiz was faced with the lockdown and, more generally, the COVID crisis.

My biggest achievement as a business owner is to have survived this long and very tough two-year period and to be able today to resume my development with new customers across Europe. Entrepreneurship is about resilience and adaptation to changes.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Today my business is still in an initial development phase. I am recovering from the COVID period and looking optimistic about the future. However, I feel today that the hardest for me is to be able to deal alone with uncertainty. Our world is experiencing dramatic changes and events, which all affect, in a way or in, other small businesses like mine. Take Europe, for instance. We faced two years of pandemic, and now we are entering the third month of the war in Ukraine. The pandemic brutally closed all businesses, especially bars and restaurants, affecting all the value chain, including me. The war is now provoking inflation, uncertainty, and supply disruptions that will affect my business as well. I often feel that I am like on a small canoe in a middle of a giant tsunami, trying to avoid wave after wave.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Do it only if he/she is passionate about it and has a clear vision of what he/she wants to achieve. Indeed, starting a business is like having a new baby. It will take effort, energy, and love to grow it up. It will show weaknesses at the beginning but will get stronger with age if properly nourished and cared for.
  2. Be ready to be resilient, learn, and be open-minded to changes. A lot of unexpected obstacles can appear along the road, and it is essential to be ready to adapt and constantly find solutions. One finds itself doing things that we never did before and gets to become an expert in very different areas, from digital marketing to accounting, health regulations, carrier services, purchasing, etc.
  3. Do not hesitate if you really feel that it is what you want to do. I totally changed my life and the level of comfort I had with my new project. I gave up privileges, life standards, weekends, free time, holidays… But I do not regret it one second. I am sure it was the right choice because I am still waking up in the mornings excited about the new challenges and progress to be achieved. It’s certainly not easy, but so rewarding.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

It is important when launching such a project to have the support of your beloved ones. It will indeed take, as mentioned above, time, energy, and effort, and one needs support. People around you must understand the project, the idea, and how important it is for you. Having your close friends and family with you is essential to keep moving.

Be careful to be in love with the issue you want to solve, not with a specific solution or product. Indeed, no matter how good you have made your market analysis, samplings and prototypes, in the end, customers might not react as you would expect to your foreseen solution. Be ready to change and adapt. In my case, for instance, while I was convinced that fruit rollers would be the line of products that customers would prefer, it turned out to be dried fruits as snacks… You never know beforehand.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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