Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shifa Begmohamed, Founder of Dear Snackers, located in Toronto, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Dear Snackers is focused on bringing delicious and nutritious traditional snacks from countries across the world and bringing them to the foreign consumer. We started out with popped water lily seeds, a little-known superfood that hails from India. The light, crunchy puffs are packed with fiber, iron, protein, and potassium. While at the same time being vegan and gluten-free. Our customers are conscious of their impact on the environment and seek us out because water lily plants are grown naturally without pesticides or chemicals.
Popped water lily seeds, or "makhana" are a diet snack popular across the Indian subcontinent, where they're touted for their ayurvedic health benefits. We buy our seeds from a small farm in Bihar - a northern Indian state nestled at the foothills of the Himalayas. We hire mainly female farmers, pay them a fair living wage, and trade with them directly. This allows them to support their families and communities and raise themselves out of generational poverty. It's a really virtuous cycle!
Tell us about yourself
I was a flight attendant traveling the world when I discovered these delicious puffs! When I couldn't find them anywhere back home in Canada, that is when the lightbulb went off! Bringing sustainable food to a market of mainstream consumers originally fuelled my passion because I am an environmentalist at heart. However, after traveling to India and meeting the farmers first hand, and seeing the impact we can have in their lives, that is what keeps me motivated each day. In the near future, I hope to build a school in the rural village where our seeds grow and provide local children an opportunity to education for free, so that is my North Star.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Having a readily available product on grocery store shelves that absolute strangers are buying and enjoying. That still hasn't hit me!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Riding the ups and downs. It can get very lonely often. If you're like me and don't have a co-founder but are 100% all in, then it is terrifying at times when you're taking big risks, but no one really understands what's on the line except you.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Research, research, research. I cannot stress enough how much you need to learn about the industry you're about to venture into. Once you think you've done enough research, that is when you're just getting started.
- Lean in on your support system, friends, family, or whoever that may be. When the hard days of entrepreneurship kick in, they will be the ones to see you through!
- Spend your money wisely. Be tight with your wallet. But do take action to get started - starting is the most essential part!
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you let a good idea simmer for too long, someone else will act on it first, and it will become their good idea.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.