UCF student sees success in self-made healthy sweets
As founder and CEO of Earthy Creations, UCF business student Jasmine Yamini has made more pivots to her business model than she can count on one hand. But through the accomplishments and rejections she’s faced with her company, Yamini has sustained strong belief in one thing.
“We all have a story to tell, and that’s the significant part of living, is our stories,” she said.
Yamini’s story started in her mom’s kitchen as she grew up watching her cook Hispanic food with plenty of spices. Her dad’s emphasis on food from a Middle Eastern cultural standpoint also shaped her into the foodie she is today.
Family continued to be Yamini’s inspiration to create a business with healthy alternatives for classic candies as her grandmother went through chemotherapy treatment when she was diagnosed with cancer.
“What really tore me apart was the fact that she didn’t have a holistic treatment,” she said about her grandmother’s care. “I realized that there weren’t enough options for people that have illnesses.”
After studying the benefits of spices, such as thyme, cumin and turmeric, the senior business management major launched her company producing dehydrated zucchini chips.
Since then, she’s made a shift to produce a healthy alternative to the Sour Patch Kid, which she currently sells in retail and every Sunday at the Orlando Farmer’s Market.
Yamini said her ultimate goal was to create something delicious for her grandmother to enjoy, which is why she made her first fruit product, Sweet N’ Sassy Pineapple chips.
“We always tell people, ‘Have something healthy, a healthy dessert, a healthy sweet,’ but it’s harder to find than we think, so I figured, why not make that?” Yamini said. “So, I take something that has very low sugar, sweeten it, make it really tasty, free it of all the nasty stuff, and there’s a huge market for it, so I’ve really shifted all of my energy to that.”
Marketing intern at Earthy Creations Maria Camila Ortega said she has noticed positive reactions at the market.
“People really like the product and there have been a lot of compliments because of how natural it is,” the junior marketing major said.
The shift came after Yamini’s first application to the Orlando Farmer’s Market was denied because of a similar product at the market.
“I wasn’t going to sit around and wait for someone to leave whose business is clearly going well,” she said. “I knew I needed to find a way to get into that market because it has the most foot traffic in all of Florida.”
With the help of UCF resources, such as the Blackstone LaunchPad, Yamini restructured her model to make it successful.
“There’s a lot of people that have allowed me to be where I am today through their support,” she said. “It seems as if in college, we have low resources and we’re destined to be broke college kids, but to be completely honest, I didn’t start with a lot. I just took advantage of all the resources around me.”
Yamini, who started in her living room making only 10 bags for every 10 to 12 hours, has now increased her production time by 1000 percent and works out of a kitchen in East End Market.
“Behind every bag we put out there, there’s lots of passion, there’s lots of desire to make people’s day and above all, a lot of intention to give people love,” she said.
Daniela Marin is the Entertainment Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @dan__marin or email her at DanielaM@CentralFloridaFuture.com.