Name: Sufia Hossain
Business/Location: Silly Chilly Hot Sauce, Hoboken, NJ
What makes your business unique: Our handcrafted hot sauce is vegan, gluten-free and made with fresh ingredients from local farmers.
What's your story: During the summer of 2015, while working a hectic job in Manhattan, I sought comfort by exploring the culinary roots of my native country, Bangladesh. I grew up eating foods made from classic South Asian peppers and spices and decided to try my hand at making hot sauce. I knew that my love for heat and spice was not enough, so I embarked on an epic pepper exploration. Chili peppers, vinegar, salt, citrus, and canning jars took over my weekends and weekday evenings. My first attempt at jarring my hot sauce was disastrous. But through countless trials and errors, I gradually perfected my product. What started as a way to de-stress, transformed into a passion and a new business.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Start [your business] before you are ready.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business: It takes time to build a business.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it: My greatest challenge is not having enough manpower to run the business. It's not just about making a healthy, delicious food product; I also spend lot of time doing product demonstrations at area events. I am thankful to have run two successful crowdfunding campaigns. Part of the funds raised will be used to hire additional staff to help grow the business.
What are you most proud of about your business: I am extremely proud of the fact that I work with local farmers, print shops and bottle makers. I like that whenever a customer purchases a Silly Chilly Hot Sauce product, it supports the community.
What's yummy about being a food entrepreneur?: I love that I am able to provide everyone with hot sauce made with the healthy and fresh ingredients that I grew up eating.
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