Interviewee Name: Nadja Piatka
Company Name: Nadja Foods, Owner
Avil Beckford: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Nadja Piatka: I’m a food entrepreneur. My company is called Nadja Foods and I also do the women’s event called Ultimate Girls Getaway where I raise funds for women survivors of war. That’s what I call my hobby business but it keeps me a lot busier than a hobby should. I also do consulting for women who are starting or trying to get into the food business, or growing their food business from kitchen to retail and I also do motivational speaking. So that’s it in a nutshell.
Avil Beckford: How do you integrate your personal and professional life?
Nadja Piatka: When you have your own business or businesses, if you are not doing it you are thinking about it. And I do try to have some “me” time, but I also like to talk to my husband about my business though we sort of have a casual conversation about it. I do try to turn it off and do other things that take me away from it. But I’m very lucky because my husband is very supportive of my business so when I do have to vent, or I have a question here and there, he is willing to share in it, so there is an integration, especially when your business is such an important part of what you do.
Avil Beckford: What are five life lessons that you have learned so far?
- I wish I had visited my parents more often. When I moved away, my parents lived in another city. A life lesson is that you get very busy and do not stop to visit your parents, and I would have liked to have visited them more.
- As much as I love to take time for myself, I try to do more if I can. I am not very good at trying to get off the treadmill, and that’s something I’m trying very hard to do.
- Forgiveness – because the alternative takes too much energy.
- Aging, it’s inevitable so try and do it gracefully.
- Don’t love anything that can’t love you back. I learned this when I lost my beautiful home and Mercedes Benz.
Avil Beckford: When you have some down time, how do you spend it?
Nadja Piatka: My favourite way is to cook because you cannot cook and worry at the same time.
Avil Beckford: What process do you use to generate great ideas?
Nadja Piatka: I find that I get the best ideas when I’m exercising. If I’m on a treadmill or I’m walking or on the stair-master, my mind kind of zones out and those are the times I end up with some good ideas, or ideas that I’m going to use.
Avil Beckford: What’s your favourite quotation and why?
Nadja Piatka: My favourite quote is by Thomas Edison and I love this quote. He said, “If you did all the things in life that you were truly capable of ,you would literally astound yourself.” And I really believe in that because sometimes people just don’t do everything they’re capable of. I think we have so much potential and there is so much that we are capable of. There is so much talent and there are so many people who have not realized their potential yet, and sometimes adversity brings that out. I think that for me that’s how I learned more about my potential was through adversity.
Avil Beckford: How do you define success?
Nadja Piatka: Freedom!
Avil Beckford: In your opinion what’s the formula for success?
Nadja Piatka: One of my favourite philosophers is Goethe, and he has great clarity about success. “Just make that decision to go with your idea, define clearly what it is you’re going to do and the universe will follow through,” and it’s such an interesting thing that when you have this unshakeable belief, and you’re going to do what it is you have planned or destined to do. When you make that decision, this sense of urgency that you’re going to follow through on it, it’s almost like the universe falls into place. People come into your life, opportunities present themselves, that otherwise would not have been possible, and I really think that is truly the formula for success.
Avil Beckford: What are the steps you took to succeed in your field?
Nadja Piatka: Because I didn’t have the resources to go the easier route, the first step was to start small in my kitchen. I would get up in the morning 4 o’clock and start baking and I would sell to little coffee shops in the city I lived in.
After I was on the Oprah show people contacted me because they had this product, this idea, and they would give it to friends and family for free and everybody loved it. But when you are giving things away for free you don’t have a neutral or unbiased focus group. You have to test the market with your product, and have people who are willing to buy it, and buying it more than once then you have a product that the market will sustain.
If you’re just depending on friends and family, if they like it, it really isn’t a true sense of what the market will do in this very competitive business that we’re in. And every business has to have the ability to rise above everyone else’s, so what I did was tested it in the field with smaller shops, and then grew from there. That is one of the ways that I would recommend to people is to find out if the market will sustain their products.
A lot of people have an idea, they have a product that they want to get out to the market and they spend an awful amount of money on the packaging. By the time you have something that you haven’t even sold, I see people have put hundreds of thousand of dollars into a product before they have even sold one dollar of it. There are ways to do that without such a huge investment with your product and I try to advise people that there are ways to do that. There are many steps to be successful in your field and one of the biggest steps is controlling and having a handle on how much money you’re spending. I’ve seen people run out of money before they made one sale.
Avil Beckford: What advice do you have for someone just starting out in your field?
Nadja Piatka: Test out your products in the marketplace and don’t just rely on friends and family.
Avil Beckford: If trusted friends could introduce you to five people that you’ve always wanted to meet, who would you choose? And what would you say to them?
- I would love to meet the Pope. I think it would be amazing to talk to him.
- In the entertainment world, I wanted to meet Oprah Winfrey and I have met her so I’m very privileged to have done that. It was a great experience.
- I would love to meet my grandparents. I have heard wonderful stories about them, so they are people who I’d love to meet.
- I would also love to meet Maya Angelou, Warren Buffet, and Matt Lauer.
Avil Beckford: Which one book had a profound impact on your life? What was it about this book that impacted you so deeply?
Nadja Piatka: The book that really impacted my life was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. That’s a book that was written decades ago, an old, old book. The theories, the stories, the philosophies, the lessons in there work today just as they did many years ago. It’s not a very big book, but it was a great book to read, and it is one of favourites.
Avil Beckford: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what are five books that you would like to have with you and why? Summarize the book in two sentences.
- The Bible.
- The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra.
- The Book of Poems by Taras Shevchenko.
- A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
- The Great Gatsby by Scott F Fitzgerald.
Avil Beckford: What one music CD and movie would you like to have with you (on the deserted island) and why?
Nadja Piatka: The movie would be a comedy, okay. If I’m going to be on a deserted island by myself I would like to laugh, and it would probably be a Lucille Ball movie because I think she was hysterical, especially the one where she is eating chocolate in the chocolate factory. It’s food related, she is on an assembly line making chocolate and she ends up having to eat most of them. For the music CD, It would be any romantic CD, by Steve Tyrell, a romantic singer, great voice and since it’s a romantic CD I hope that my husband would be with me on this deserted island, but since I’m stranded I would have to be thinking about him I guess.
I Love Lucy – The Candy Wrapping Job
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Avil Beckford: What excites you about life?
Nadja Piatka: There are so many things that it is so hard to put my finger on any one thing. And I thought about this and it was funny it was almost like a flood of thoughts. What excites me is the possibility of being a grandparent. I can’t wait for that to happen. I don’t thing it’s going to happen soon. What excites me is we adopted a rescue kitten from the SPCA at Christmas, and I love animals, and the thought of having one purring in my lap now is such a comfort that I would hate to miss out on having that privilege. What excites me is a good meal and a bottle of wine. What excites me is a beautiful, sunny day where I can be outside. So there are just so many things. I think after being diagnosed with leukemia and thinking about our mortality, it gave me such an appreciation that I get excited easily about everything.
Avil Beckford: How do you nurture your soul?
Nadja Piatka: Prayer.
Avil Beckford: If you had a personal genie and she gave you one wish, what would you wish for?
Nadja Piatka: I would hate to waste it on one wish. And this is going to be one of those conventional, traditional answer, but it would be I would wish for good health for myself and my family.
Avil Beckford: Complete the following, I am happy when…..
Nadja Piatka: I’m happy when my kids are happy!
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