Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ajay Bavle, Founder of SwahaLife, located in Phoenix, AZ, USA.

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

Seeds of Waterlilies (lotus) have been consumed in East Asian cultures for centuries as a superfood. Popped Waterlily Seeds is an addictive and crunchy snack that is packed with protein, has zero sugar, is naturally gluten-free, and is suitable for vegans as well. At SwahaLife, our mission is to bring you this healthful and tasty snack that is minimally processed without the use of any artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Our customers are those who value consuming clean, nutritious foods and for whom their family’s health is a top priority. These are the customers who carefully scan the back of the bag to make sure their food is wholesome and made without artificial ingredients. As a company, we are just as proud of what’s on the label as we are of the product itself.

Tell us about yourself

The founders (Aparna and Ajay Bavle) are techies by education, but health and nutrition is their passion. After almost twenty years in the tech industry, they decided to follow their core passion: to bring tasty and healthful food for all to enjoy, but more importantly, to add value to people’s lives. Popped Waterlily Seeds is something they’ve grown up eating. Given that this food is packed with nutritional goodness, it was a natural choice for their business.

When our customers come back to say how much they loved the product and how healthful it is for them, it puts a smile on our face and motivates us to keep doing this day after day. We take appreciation and criticism with humility and explore ways of making this experience for our customers even better.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

We would say the first accomplishment was stepping out of our comfort zone to follow our passion. The entire process of setting up a commercial food manufacturing business was totally new to us, and it was a very steep learning curve. Looking back at the sleepless nights, fears and frustration, now that we have a product in the market, the entire journey is a huge accomplishment!

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

The new set of challenges that came with being a business owner compared to being employed was very humbling. This could be anything from not having s steady paycheck or customer rejection or production issues. Each challenge required the retraining of the mindset to deal with it. Another realization was that, as a business owner, you are ultimately responsible for everything in your business, from product quality to customer satisfaction to profitability.

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

  1. Make a business of what you are passionate about, you will never get tired of it, and you will sleep well knowing you did something that truly matters to you.
  2. Take time to study the mechanics of your business, its regulations, and, most importantly, what customers want.
  3. Get out in the field, talk to your customers, get their feedback and work on them.

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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