Don’t stress the little stuff: everything will work out you’ve just got to keep going, don’t stop!
As a part of my series about the lessons of accomplished business thought leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ella Kajoyan, the mother of three children under 10, is feeling confident about the new hack she created for home cooks like herself who live with very picky eaters. After experimenting with spices inspired by her Armenian and Persian culture, she has created a line of seasoning blends called Mom Cave Foods. Ella had three priorities in mind while she was formulating her spices: 1) To ensure that the ingredients were vegan, organic and free of MSG. 2) To make them universal so that when they are added to almost any food, they became more nutrient dense and, 3) To make using them so easy that they yield interesting dishes.
Ella has launched four blends to start — Sour Lemon Pepper (the sour taste comes from Sour Grapes!), Fish Please, Queen’s Dressing and Exotic Steak. Mom Cave Foods spices add rich and delicious flavors to meat and meat alternatives, fish, chicken, lamb, tofu, vegetables, soups and casseroles.
Friends had always told Ella what a great cook she was until she found herself holding court nightly at the dinner table, hoping that her kids would eat what she prepared for them. Ella reached out to her community of busy moms and dads to see what they thought of her seasonings and they gave positive feedback. “In a time when people are so conscientious about food waste, I wanted to deliver a hack that could help get nutritionally sound meals on the table, FAST.”
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have three very picky eaters! It was always a challenge getting them to eat as they each liked different things, dinner time was always an ordeal. I started getting creative and combining my own spices with flavors I knew the kids would enjoy like herbs, turmeric, and lemon. I would call this my “Mom Cave” time, I would spend hours mixing and trying different blends until I got the right combination for the kids and they loved it!
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
Our biggest challenge has been sourcing farms that align with our ethical values and quality. We are focused on putting quality first! It is relatively “easy” finding spices and blends the actual hard part if sourcing the right farmers and ingredients that make sense. I want to ensure the farmers are receiving fair pay and that the ingredients I am receiving are quality. Every spice/blend offered at Mom Cave Foods is a spice that I would feed my own kids. Mom Cave Foods specializes in rare and exotic seasoning blends that are natural, vegan and MSG free. We are known for harvesting ingredients from all over the world using fair trade farms only.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I’ve always been passionate about everything that I do no matter the size of the project. I wanted to create something that no one has and my spice blends are just that! I constantly reminded myself how important it is to have spices/blends that your children enjoy because as a mom of three I know how hard dinner time can be with picky eaters. I kept focused on the end and motivated by how many other people out there felt the same as I did.
So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Mom Cave Foods is doing better than ever! I love my customers and the relationships I have been able to build with my loyal customers and getting to know the new first time orders. I remember customers’ names and preferences and treat them like a friend. People are really loving that we keep creating new blends and truly enjoy the quality of the products.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Mom Cave Foods has flavors no other company has! The unique blends and international flavors is really what keeps us apart from other competitors. Not to mention, we are proud to have products that are vegan, no MSG, and organic. We build a rapport with our customers and establish a connection. We are a small company with a BIG HEART!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Surround yourself with positive people. Don’t forget about your end goal and why you started your business because it’s easy to get burnt out.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My motivation and drive were my kids. I wanted to feed them healthy delicious meals that they actually enjoyed, and once I saw the smiles on their faces after eating I knew I just had to keep going!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
At Mom Cave Foods a good portion of proceeds go towards shelters and domestic abuse charities that we believe in.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. How to cut costs: you don’t need to have a huge office, keep costs at a minimum, work from your living room if you have to.
2. Don’t stress the little stuff: everything will work out you’ve just got to keep going, don’t stop!
3. Get sleep: we all have the same 24hrs in a day and you need rest to be able to keep a clear mind and have energy. Sometimes it’s ok to say, “I’ll get to that tomorrow.”
4. Remember your vision, don’t listen to too many people’s opinions on what you should do with your own brand
5. Enjoy the process!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!