The CEO of Chobani inspired me... with Benita Kasbo
Meet Benita Kasbo, founder of Kasbo’s Market, which sells curated Middle Eastern foods. Benita was born in Seria, and as an immigrant, she wanted to share her love of culture and food with others.
How did you start your business?
I launched it during the pandemic because it was something that was always on my mind, and it seemed like a good opportunity because we were all home and had more time. I took the time to get permits, a commercial kitchen, and get everything inspected. I launched my first product, which was a Syrian cheese that I made myself, and connected with stores to get them on their shelves during the worst part of the pandemic back in 2020.
Were you scared of launching a business during the pandemic?
Absolutely! I wanted to do the farmers market but handing out samples was a health concern, and I thought that nobody would want to buy something that they hadn't heard of before and couldn't even taste it. I also thought, why would a store want to carry a product that they have never heard of before or have a relationship with? So many thoughts came to mind, but I had to go out there and try because you'll never know until you try.
How did you get your products into stores?
Since I make a unique product, I went to stores that sold more unique products. I reached out to them and presented myself and my products. Typically people are perspective and open to trying samples. In the beginning, it was more strategic, I went and hired a food photographer to take pictures so that I would have something nice to show them.
Who is your inspiration?
A person who really inspired me is the CEO of Chobani, He is an immigrant from turkey and came to the US with 3,000 dollars. He ended up in upstate New York and bought the plant to make Chobani. He ended up hiring refugees, and that's one of my goals as well.
If you’d like to support Benita, follow her Instagram @Kasbosmarket, and watch the full story on our YouTube channel. If you are an immigrant-origin entrepreneur and would like to collaborate with us, email firstname.lastname@example.org.