Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Radhi Fernandez, Founder of The Faiya Company, located in Philadelphia, PA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I manufacture artisanal hot sauces without the use of sugars, additives, or artificial preservatives. The majority of my recipes are, in their own way, inspired by my Dominican background. I created a blend of fruits and peppers to make a line of tropical hot sauces, such as my "Sweet Summer Heat," which is a blend of jalapenos, limes, and pineapples, giving it that bright tropical taste.
In the beginning, my customers were my friends and family, but it soon included friends of my friends, extended family, and then the general public of people I didn't even know. Now the company participates in several local farmers markets, which has helped us obtain a loyal customer base in those areas who keep coming back week after week to support us.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Radhiner Fernandez, but I go by Radhi. I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and when I was 18 and going through my first year of college, my family decided to move to the states. My dad had a job opportunity in Philadelphia, so we moved straight here, and I have lived in Philly ever since. It might not be too known out there, but Dominicans don't really eat spicy foods. It wasn't until I met my now wife that I got introduced to spicy foods, thanks to her Mexican background.
I developed a liking for hot sauces and spicy foods, and while working at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals, I joined our community garden and started planting Carolina Reapers and other produce to make hot sauce every summer. It wasn't until the beginning of the pandemic that I decided that I wanted to start a business and do something for myself rather than work in the corporate world. In May 2020, I created what today is known as Faiya Hot Sauce.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am still trying to decide this myself. In the two years since starting Faiya, my life has completely changed. If I had to pick, I'd say opening up my own manufacturing facility is one of my biggest accomplishments so far.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Learning how to actually run a business. The idea is all fun and games in the beginning, but once you start to grow and things get more serious by the day, it gets quite complicated and can some days be a lot.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Do it. That's all 3. There's no time like the present. If you have a business idea, don't wait until tomorrow to start working on it. Start now, start today. If you are going to do it, you have to be fully committed to this thing if you want it to run successfully. And growth doesn't happen overnight. At least for most of us, it doesn't, so don't get discouraged if things take a little bit of time.
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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