Our next rule breaker is Manjarrie Saha, owner of PARIVA, formerly known as YogiBalls. PARIVA Yogurt Bites are small spheres of yogurt immersed in a savory mix of olive oil and herbs & spices, offering a creamy, spreadable yogurt to be enjoyed on crackers, as a salad garnish, or straight out of the jar as a healthy snack!
Know more about Manjarrie’s journey in her own words.
1. What was your inspiration behind this business?
I got very sick in 2015 and it started manifesting on my skin as Urticaria. Because of that, I started a company named Mayuur Naturals for everything that you apply to your body, including skincare, haircare, and make-up. All my products were beneficial for major skin issues like rosacea, psoriasis, alopecia, and eczema. A lot of these conditions are caused by the food that we consume.
Through my experience, I realized the importance of probiotics in these conditions. I observed that if I consumed a product that had additives in it, no matter how mild, I started breaking out. And I could not find any pre-made food product in the market that did not have additives. Therefore, I started to make healthy recipes and Yogurt balls were one of them.
Interestingly, whenever I made them for my friends and family, they loved it. So I took it to the marketplace and I got a good response.
2. How did you come up with the name ‘YogiBalls’ and why did you change it to ‘Pariva’?
I have been making Yogurt Balls and YogiBalls was just a cute, catchy nickname for them. However, I changed the name to Pariva because that was much more in keeping with my mission. Pariva is the extract of the Hindi word Parivartan meaning transformation.
Change is very important to me. Change in terms of eating good food and making healthier choices.
Another social mission I have is serving seriously underserved communities. And from where I am, there is a generational or cyclical issue of incarcerated people. People make mistakes and pay for them for a lifetime. They can’t erase them from their records, land a decent job, or treat their families and this passes on to the next generations, making it a cycle. I want to make a little bit of a difference in breaking this cycle by providing them an honest livelihood and wage.
3. What would you say are the top 5 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur, and why?
The number one thing in being an entrepreneur is persistence. It is about believing in your product and mission. Starting a small business is never easy but if you believe in your product and have a mission that you are passionate about, that will help you keep going.
The second is, welcome change. Change is difficult for people but you should know how to pivot.
The third is organization and preparation. If your livelihood depends on it, act like it. Many people have businesses as a side hustle and that’s okay but if your livelihood depends on yours, act like it. You wouldn’t party till 4 a.m. and then go to work the next day, so why do you do that to yourself? As a business owner you are not accountable to a boss so learning this discipline is very important and difficult.
Be prepared. If you have a meeting, be there half an hour early.
The fourth is to be prepared to work hard. Running a business requires a lot of work. I sometimes work 18 hours a day. So you need to be mentally prepared for that.
The last one and most difficult is, don’t get emotional. When we start a business we are financially and emotionally invested in it. Look at data points and analyze. If you think it is not going to work, learn to let it go. When you start getting successful, you will notice people around you will start changing. Ignore it, keep moving and keep shining.
4. For people who are trying to grow their business, what advice do you have for them?
Make a plan and follow it. Also, make time to review the plan. Sit down and ask yourself what can you do this quarter or this week. Don’t just make a plan and leave it, work on it.
The second is to keep learning. There are many resources available online. Make the most of it.
The last point is to never give up. Never believe people who say you are not going to make it. If you have faith in your product, keep going. And keep in mind, that pivoting with change is not the same as giving up.
5. How do you keep yourself productive and motivated the entire day?
In life and in business you will meet those who want to bring you down. And it’s up to you to either give up your powers or let it go and move on. It all comes down to emotional strength. To have that, build a tribe. You don’t need 20k followers on social media. You just need a few people who genuinely support you and back you up emotionally. This small little tribe will tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it.
6. How do you come up with new and unique recipes?
It all goes back to the mission for me. I wanted to build something that would benefit my customers. While working on my skincare products I made a list of all the skin conditions and then I asked myself how can I make products that will address these conditions and don’t have any harmful ingredients in them.
With food, I ask myself, how can I make it more enjoyable? As for my flavors, I have traveled a lot and I experience cultures with food. So I bring new things for people to try and perhaps expand their world a bit.