Meet Veneise - Owner/Operator of YAWDI's
Veneise’s entrepreneurial journey began as a way to spend more time with her kids. YAWDI’s lineup of condiments came about because of Veneise’s passion for travelling and her desire to try food wherever she travels. YAWDI’s is a collection of unique internationally inspired condiments that are versatile, consisting of all-natural premium ingredients, without compromise on taste.
How would you describe your company in five words?
Innovation, passion, transparency, mentorship, and giving back.
What made you choose your career path?
My path to manufacturing was not a straight line. I don’t even know if I necessarily chose it. My journey to manufacturing began because I’ve always had a passion for food, and I’ve been experimenting and developing my ideas in my kitchen for years.
When I realized it was my dream is when I knew that I wanted my creations to be shown and given to a wider audience. Once I understood that, I had to develop the confidence to take that leap and I was determined to find my way and a place in the sector.
Since then, I’ve learned that manufacturing is an evolving industry, and the potential for continued growth is just enormous.
What are the biggest barriers you have faced and how did you overcome them or are overcoming them?
My entrepreneurial journey has had a steep learning curve. Sometimes I wish that I had a black mentor or female mentor, who understood the landscape, and could help me to understand what to expect and what I’m going to be going through. To be quite honest, I’m still looking for mentors. I’ve made it part of my mission to become a role model for others. Just by sharing my journey allows other women to know that they’re not alone. If you have a dream, sometimes you need someone to help guide you, and for you to not give up.
Another challenge that I’m still experiencing is accessing loans, grants, and funds from major financial institutions. As a start-up, you often don’t meet certain criteria’s – including where your profit margin is supposed to be. For me, my only option was self-financing.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would say to myself – be bold, be curious, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to explore. The skilled trades and STEM are not heavily promoted with females. I would have looked into these options. We need to do a better job, starting at the elementary school level to encourage females to explore these options.
Why would you encourage young women to enter careers in manufacturing?
Manufacturing has given me a chance to bring my creative food creations to life. I get to see my ideas, from experimenting in my kitchen to the actual production, to my products on store shelves, and then in the customer’s hands.
We still have a long way to go when it comes to encouraging young girls to be able to tap into their explorative nature and seek career paths in sectors like manufacturing. There’s so much room for all of us in this sector.
I have a daughter and I encourage her to explore manufacturing. I encourage her to explore STEM subjects. It’s so important that we help young women recognize that possibilities in manufacturing do exist for them. My daughter also has me as a real-life role model in the field. I think the chance of her exploring the sector is far greater than most.
Let’s try to get rid of the box of what females can do and make our own path.