What inspired you to start your business?
The idea of offering dry spice blends developed over many years. People who tasted my mom’s cooking rave about it decades later, saying it’s the best Indian food they have ever tasted. Many of my friends who love Indian food tried to prepare it but didn’t know where to start because of the number of spices (at times 10- 15 spices) and the complexity of cooking Indian food. I realized that there was a need from people who love Indian food but didn’t know how to make it at home. My mom has generously shared her most popular recipes with me along with the secret “sauce” which is our special blend of curry powder that was handed down to me from grandmother. This is what gives our food its unique delicious homecooked flavor. I tweak each recipe for many months as I wanted to make it really easy for anyone to make Indian food at home. I wanted to make sure the spice mixes and recipes had the following attributes:
Consistently delicious authentic homemade taste
Simple to make
Family size portions
Ingredients that were easily available in the regular grocery store without having to make an extra trip to a specialty Indian grocery store
I’m thrilled to say that our customers rave about our delicious flavors and how simple it is to make good Indian food at home.
What challenges have you faced as a woman entrepreneur and how did you overcome them?
Fear of failure and success: I had a fear of failure and of success. If I failed then I would lose my dream, if I succeeded, I would be too busy for my family. I overcame this issue by reading and listening to a lot of motivational books, seminars and podcasts. I realized that the universe is always listening. What you focus on expands, so focus and intend on what you want to bring into your life and you will have it.
Balancing family and business – This is a work in progress. It’s the internal guilt I have that I’m the one who should prepare dinner or should help with my son’s homework or make sure our household is running smoothly. I’m learning to release this guilt. Mostly, because I have a wonderful supportive husband who constantly tells me not to worry about these things and shares equal responsibility for household chores.
Being in an industry that is dominated by men: It can be intimidating to walk into a room or talk to all males on a Zoom call when you pitch your business. I’ve overcome this by setting my intentions on what I’d like to accomplish with this meeting, practicing what I am going to say and just being my authentic self.
Feeling you are all alone working on your dream by yourself: It is SO important to have a support system that uplifts you, particularly one that supports women, who understand what we go through each and every day.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Follow your passion, be persistent and believe in yourself. Don’t ever give up!!
What three traits define you?
Focused, Persistent, Resilient
What women inspire you?
My mom for her positive outlook, Oprah, Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?
Being a WBENC-Certified WBE has immensely helped my business by offering a range of resources that helped me grow my business. I was able to find my frozen food copacker through a networking event at WBENC-East and 2 MBA consultants Annie Hosler from Harvard Business School and Lin Zhang from Dartmouth Tuck who helped me the entire 2020 summer through the MBA’sfightcovid program.
What do you see as the coolest or most important trend in your industry?
There is an increasing minority demographic and market demand for cultural authenticity and quality in food. With the spotlight on inclusiveness for minority-owned, black and brown women-owned businesses, we now have much more opportunities available to us.
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
Making sure my business is sustainable and that I’m offering the best possible product to my customers.
What are the biggest obstacles you see for young female entrepreneurs?
I see the biggest obstacles as not even knowing how to start a business. There is so much to do and so many ways to do these tasks that it can be overwhelming to sift through the information.
What do you love about being a business owner?
I love being my own boss. I love following my passion and believing that I can help people with what I do. There is no bureaucracy or having to adhere to rules that you don’t agree with or don’t make sense.
What’s the hardest part about being a business owner?
The long hours I put in to achieve my dream. At times, it can be exhausting knowing the next day you have to pick up right where you left off.
How do you define success?
Success is having a happy healthy family life, financial freedom and bringing joy to people whom I help through my talents and business.
What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Believe in yourself.
What’s your favorite career moment?
So far, it was when I saw my products lined up on the shelf of the local Whole Foods store.
What are you reading or listening to now?
I’m listening to a motivational series by T. Harv Eker on “Secrets of Inner Power”. It’s fantastic seminar to overcome your fears, access the strength within you to be persistent in following your dream.
What’s the best way to start your day?
I find the best way to start my day is to express gratitude for all the wonderful people and things in my life. Then I set my intentions for all the things I want to accomplish during the day.
How do you unwind after a long workday?
Having dinner as a family and playing games with my family after dinner. Then I listen to guided meditations as I go to sleep on whatever subject I choose to focus on.
What do you like about your workspace?
It’s mine, set up just the way I like it.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I... ask the universe to help me.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… be patient with myself and not to sweat the small stuff.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my sweet, loving and quirky family.
By this time next year, I will be… celebrating achieving financial freedom with my family.
The best thing that happened to me last week was… I sold my newly launched frozen food entrée to two boutique stores.
anar gourmet foods
Anar Gourmet Foods is a family owned boutique company founded in 2016, near Pittburgh, PA. Their vision is to share the joy of blending cultures & spices. They offer all natural, gluten free, MSG, nut & preservative free gourmet spice blends and frozen food entrées based on the family’s authentic & fusion Indian recipes. Many people are intimidated to cook Indian food at home. They simplify this process by pre-packaging seasonings with simple recipes that customers use with their fresh ingredients. Customers love our delicious flavors, simplicity of preparing food, customizable spiciness, and generous family sized portions.