Entrepreneurial business favors the open mind. It favors people whose optimism drives them to prepare for many possible futures, pretty much purely for the joy of doing so.
Mrs Esiri Athina Ajiamah is one the entrepreneurs who started a unique agribusiness during the Covid-19 pandemic as part of creating awareness for Living a healthy Lifestyle.
Eleni’s Pantry is a food company that started in Lagos in 2021. It is a subsidiary of Eleni’s Pantry Foods. They produce spices and dry foods for local and international communities. They unveiled recently their product such as Cool Medley (Curry), Sahara (Suya Barbeque Rub), Sweet Fire (Seasoning Barbeque Rub), Black Heat(Seasoning Barbeque Rub), smoked catfish & fillet which is sourced from the farmers. In a virtual interview with Zivang team the Ceo of Eleni’s Pantry who studied Forestry and resources from University of Ibadan, spoke intelligently about her brand, challenges and future plans.
Kindly tell us briefly about yourself
My name is Esiri Athina Ajiamah, a wife, mom and business woman. I am sociable, hardworking and easy-going.
What inspired by you to start spice business?
I took a career break after having my daughter and for some time I was toying with the idea of starting my own business instead of working fulltime for another organisation so I can spend time with my family. I used to work in the food industry but I wasn’t really clear on the area of business I should focus on then I read a book titled “The Ten Pillars of Wealth” by Alex Becker. And I got ideas from the book. I had so many ideas but decided to stick with spices and food because of my experience in the food industry.
Another reason for going into spice was the reactions I got from family and friends when they tasted my barbeque.
What is the unique selling point of this brand?
My spice girls are hand blended to perfection with love and all the goodness of natural spices and herbs with no preservatives. For now my spice girls are Cool Medley (Curry Seasoning Blend), Sahara (Suya Seasoning Rub), Thyme Seasoning Herb, Sweet Fire (BBQ Seasoning Rub), Black Heat (BBQ Seasoning Rub) and Steam (Pepper Soup Seasoning Blend).
The responses so far from customers?
The feedback has been amazing. No negative comments have been made about my products. Everyone who has tasted my spices have been impressed. A customer once said “Sweet Fire tastes like my family reunion barbeque in Baton Rouge”.
What keeps you going in this pandemic?
Starting a business in the pandemic, seems crazy but Alex Becker said “You must believe you are great and beliefs drive our actions” so I took a bold step and started the business. The love and support of family and friends motivated me to forge ahead. The support has been overwhelming and I’m grateful. Our customers are keeping us in business as they keep coming back for more and we don’t want to disappoint them so we make sure we deliver.
As a new brand, how have you been able to penetrate into this competitive market?
As an unknown brand, our first phase of interacting with our customers is through creating awareness on social media platforms.
What makes your brand stand out from other brands?
Eleni means Light or Glorious Woman and we try to project that on the content and packaging of our products. We desire to make our packaging noticeable on shelves.
Your favourite business quotes?
My favourite business quote is by Colin Powell “There are no secrets to success, it is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure”. Another favourite is from Vidal Sassoon “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary”.
Aside work, how do you relax yourself?
I love watching foreign TV shows like Power, Peaky Blinders, Gangs of London, etc.
How you juggle being a mother and an entrepreneur?
It’s quite challenging but I figured out the best way for me was to create a schedule flexible enough to have more time with my family.
Where do you see the brand five years from now?
I’m very excited about the direction of the business, the growth prospects and what I will learn from it as a business owner in the coming years. I’m eager to become the best at what I do and hopefully be able to keep our customers happy as their satisfaction is key to the progress of any business. I see Eleni’s Pantry expanding beyond where it’s currently and with dedication and diligence, we aspire to be a household name within the next five years.