How my love for makhana and healthy snacks, led me to start my own business!

How my love for makhana and healthy snacks, led me to start my own business!

Dear Snackers,

I have always been a really curious girl. So it only made sense when working as a flight attendant, and while on a layover in New Delhi I ventured out into the local markets to see what I could find. Naturally my inner foodie was curious about the many delights I was seeing, and it was on that hot day in December that I found "phool makhana", the Sanskrit word for water lily seeds that changed my snack pantry (and unbeknownst to me at the time - my life!) forever.

The light little airy puffs caught my attention, so I bought 200 grams to try it out. When I got back to my hotel room I opened up the pack. They were crunchy and delicious, and as I scarfed them down I had to find out just what I was eating. With my phone in one hand, and my other hand buried deep into my newly purchased popped water lily seeds, I started Googling and what I learned lit a fire in me!

Here's what I found about makhana:

  • Makhana are naturally vegan and gluten-free
  • They are grown without pesticides and fertilizers 
  • Makhana are non-GMO
  • They have low fat and low calorie scores
  • Makhana also score low on the Glycemic Index
  • That water lily seeds are packed with fiber, iron, and plant based protein
  • That makhana are light, crunchy, and delicious! - Admittedly this came from first-hand experience at the time.

As a yogi, foodie, and health nut - I was hooked!

It wasn't long before I realized this incredible healthy wasn't available for sale in Canada, and I knew I had to share this with everyone back home because they were missing out on something fantastic.

 

Two pictures, one with a hand full of makhana, popped water lily seeds, a healthy snack.  The other picture is of the Dear Snackers business owner holding a pack of turmeric makhana, popped water lily seeds, a healthy snack, a low calorie snack.

 

Given I had no idea what my first step would be to bring a product to market I decided embark on doing some research... okay, A LOT of research. I continued working as a flight attendant, and during my free time and days off I would research, read, learn, talk to people, make cold calls, attend free webinars and conferences; anything to learn more about how to develop a consumer packaged good. In those early months I was like a sponge soaking it all in.

Sure, it took months to develop, but I recently read something profound. Look around you, the entire world is filled with other people's ideas. Every. Single. Thing. Is someone else's thought - so why can't yours have a seat at the table if it serves people in a way they want to be served? 

On the journey to bring these healthy snacks to life, I learned so much about entrepreneurship and myself. When I look back now, sometimes it is really hard to take stock of how far I've come, because I'm always so focused on what's next - and that's part of the excitement!  Here are some lessons that I learned along the way with bringing these crunchable healthy snacks to the world:

  1. There will be mostly challenging days, but when the good day comes it'll feel so amazing you'll be energized to keep going
  2. Putting your idea into the world is scary, I mean after all, it's like sharing a little piece of you with the world
  3. If you believe your idea is something people WILL want, and it's different enough from what is already out there, then go for it with all your heart
  4. Put honesty and love into everything you do
  5. Do things with purpose.

I want elaborate on #5 a little bit. Because when the hard days come (oh, there will be plenty), it is that sense of purpose that sees me through. There was always a knowing inside me that I want to serve the Earth and it's inhabitants by putting good into the world. This is my sense of purpose and I am able to do that with Dear Snackers in two key ways.

Firstly, we operate on a direct trade model with our farmers. Meaning we cut out the middle-man and brokers to buy our seeds directly from the farmers, and in doing so we are able to pay them a fair living wage.

Secondly, water lily plants grow naturally without the use of pesticides and fertilizers, meaning their cultivation doesn't harm the earths natural ecosystem the way many modern crops do. Protecting the environment for future generations means a lot to me.

So yeah, that's a little bit about my story with building Dear Snackers. I hope it inspires you to keep doing what you're doing, or take that step you've been going back and forth on.  If you think that this may help out a friend, feel free to share this post with your social circles.

Life is meant to be lived to the fullest, and like Dr. Seuss said - "your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!"

Love & light,

Shifa

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