Meet the loving force behind Miris by Islandmom – Shivani A. Tyronne
By Shakira Shareef
Have you tasted quintessentially Sri Lankan hot sauce? If you haven’t, you should check out Miris by Islandmom; they’re available on Instagram.
If you’re a spicyphile (a made-up term that describes those who love spicy foods) like me, you won’t regret giving this a shot. Before going any further, who’s behind Miris by Islandmom? What is so special about her products?
Shivani A. Tyronne launched her organically sourced, homemade miris sauce venture during COVID-19. The spontaneous business has taken an onwards and upwards road thereafter.
We spoke with Shivani, the compelling and humble businesswoman and mom who believed in herself, for this week’s story.
Q: What is Miris by Islandmom? It’s a unique business. How would you define it?
A: We are a brand dedicated to celebrating nai miris and its goodness. What sets us apart is the unique flavour composition that is inspired by this beautiful and resourceful island – Sri Lanka.
Our products are 100% natural, made without preservatives, additives, artificial flavours, and colours. All our sauces are vegan and all our products are gluten-free. Miris also has a sugar-free hot sauce that is one-of-a-kind compared to sauces available globally that add tons of sugar in them.
Q: Did you dream of becoming an entrepreneur, or was it spontaneous?
A: I dreamed of starting my own brand, but I didn’t have enough time to invest in my dream when I entered the corporate world.
After my son was born, I had to quit work. During my stay at home, especially during the first lockdown, I discovered my passion and followed my dream.
I would say dreams became a reality spontaneously.
Q: Do you come across challenging situations when dealing with customers? If so, how do you handle them?
A: So far, I haven’t. All of my customers are very supportive, understanding, and responsive. They’re darlings of this earth, I would say. Thanks be to God for giving me such wonderful customers.
However, in the future, if I do have to face a situation as you mentioned, I will accept my fault (if there is a mistake on my part) and carefully listen to their complaints and suggestions because those are the steps to growth.
Q: Your products have the natural goodness they claim to have. How do you make them? What is the procedure?
A: The secret is in making them fresh every time. Our moms always encouraged us to eat fresh, healthy, and home-cooked meals, right? It’s this simple concept that I follow. We personally visit the market, check the vegetables, and source fresh produce, just as we do for our home consumption.
That’s what differentiates a small business and a corporate brand. We take so much care and put a lot of effort into making each jar. Supporting small businesses means supporting a healthy lifestyle and supporting our economy.
Q: What are the hygiene measures that you take?
A: My family members and workers are fully vaccinated. We further ensure we wear gloves and factory caps for each production. Our workspace is right in my kitchen; hence, the water and air are safe for production.
Q: What’s the shelf life of your products? Should they be refrigerated?
A: Our products have an IDB-SJS Lanka-certified shelf life of 11 months for hot sauces and six months for chilli jam but we declare it as six months, as our products are all-natural.
Yes, they must be refrigerated once opened. If not, they can be stored out at room temperature below 24°C.
Q: Has the current situation taken a toll on your business as well? If so, how are you handling it?
A: Hahahahah… Big laugh! Yes, it has. Every small business is affected heavily.
We have been reducing unnecessary costs and finding new avenues of sales channels.
Good Market has been an excellent choice for meeting new customers and selling more products. Meanwhile, purchasing raw materials in bulk can help minimise the impact of rising costs, especially with the imperishable items.
Q: Moving forward, what’s your plan? Are you planning to expand?
A: Yes, we want to expand our presence in primary retail shops so that customers can purchase our products in person. Further, we want to expand our presence in other countries where Lankans live – allowing the authentic taste and heat of nai miris to ignite their taste buds.
Q: What’s it like to be a mom and a businesswoman?
A: It’s tough. I unknowingly spend more time with Miris than with my family because Miris is a two-year-old baby who needs food to grow. But thanks be to God; my husband is a banker and he ensures he spends time with Miris after work.
My five-year-old understands that his mom is following her passion and dream. He has been supporting me from the age of three, and my parents and sister indirectly help me in many ways. I’m truly blessed.
Q: What would you tell our readers if they were interested in starting home-based businesses?
Go for it! Don’t give up if you have started already. It might be challenging, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Find the gap, bring a solution to your customers, and be unique! Sri Lanka needs to revive by increasing productivity. Let your business support Sri Lanka.
PHOTOS © SHIVANI A. TYRONNE