Keisha Smith is the founder and CEO of Sanaia Applesauce, a gourmet applesauce company. As an entrepreneur, she is redefining snacking with her dairy-free, all-natural applesauce company. With 99 percent of the market focused on children, she has made a push toward keeping the taste buds of applesauce-loving adults in mind too.
Sanaia produces applesauce inspired by some of the Bahamian flavors from her childhood like guavas, tamarinds, hibiscus, ginger, blackberry, lavender and pear. What started off as her mixing up a college snack to combat homesickness has now turned into a brand that can be found at Walmart and on Amazon.
“Being an entrepreneur is not just about hustle, but it's really accepting that you're breaking the mold,” Smith told BET. "And that means that every solution that you can come up with, no matter how unconventional you have to pursue it, because you don't know where the yes is going to come from, where the breakthrough is going to come from."
Smith has found success by capitalizing on trends such as the plant-based movement and the re-imagination of childhood treats for adults. After her appearance on ABC's "Shark Tank," she was struck by the misconceptions that some had around what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
"Their definition of what it means to believe in yourself is to give everything up in order to pursue this idea," she said. "While that's great for some people, the reality is many of us have obligations -- that as much as we believe in ourselves, it's just not realistic that you can say, 'I'm not going to pay the mortgage anymore because I have this great idea.'"
As Smith balances her growing business with a full-time Fortune 500 C-suite role, she's actually more like most American entrepreneurs than the anomaly.