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How did you go about building your audience for @foodsinthe6ix on Instagram? What makes you stand out among the food influencer accounts?
Well Foodsinthe6ix first started as a personal food blog page where I just started posting dishes that I would eat exploring the Greater Toronto Area. With a catchy name and the love for food amongst many already in the foodie community the audience grew itself. When I started @foodsinthe6ix, the number the hashtags was at 11 (which was just my posts). Currently it’s at over 11.5K tags with hundreds of people tagging the page daily to be featured. I’d like to think I stand out from other food influencer accounts because the term “foodsinthe6ix” is more of a brand now that is partnered with multiple businesses.
How does @6ixkitchen fit in the picture? Have you been able to monetize your Instagram following? If so - how?
When I started @foodsinthe6ix, I envisioned it to serve as a medium to help promote other businesses I had in mind including 6ixkitchen in the future. 6ixkitchen is a hot sauce, marinade and dry rub business which I started recently promoting heavily on @foodsinthe6ix and now it currently has its own large following which I was able to monetize. Social media marketing is by far the best marketing platform. 6ixkitchen started late December 2020 and in just 4 months, I've sold over 600 bottles of hot sauces, released 3 flavours, got our products into 3 retailers and it was all because of brand recognition on Instagram.
How does your full-time job at TD fit in with your aspirations here? Is the work you're doing on Instagram something you would like to build into a full-time income? Why or why not?
To be honest, TD does not fit in with any of these aspirations at all. TD is more of an opportunity for me to learn how a corporate environment works while gaining professional skills to better myself. The Instagram brands and businesses are more of a passion, something very close to my heart. I would definitely like to build this into a full-time income and I’d like to believe I’m already on my way there. I start every vision I have with an abundance of potential for growth, and that’s the path I’d like to take with these brands.
What is something about being a social media influencer that you would say could be viewed negatively? Anything about being an influencer that has been unexpected?
Being a social media influencer gives me a certain first impression of me based solely on what they see on social media - good or bad. Something that was unexpected, was the overwhelming love and feedback I got for the 6ixkitchen products. Although I don't look for it, the external validation was did give me more motivation to inch toward my future big goals for it.
What’s one goal that, if you were to accomplish it over the next three months, would feel like a big win for you?
If I were to tell you, it would ruin the surpise no? I have a few ideas and goals in the upcoming months under the 6ixkitchen line, so keep an eye out! What I can tell you is that I will make it a priority to get the products I currently have to more retailers so that it becomes easier to access. I want sure as many people as possible have access to my products.
How have your family and friends supported you through your journey? Did you have any doubters?
Family and friends were very supportive. They encouraged me right from the beginning when I started with my food blo page and helped spread the word via social media platforms. My family and friends have always lended a helping hand in whatever was necessary to ensure the success of my products. Yes, I do have doubters as well, but I do my best to focus on the positive.
Where do you see yourself personally in the next 3-5 years?
I see my various brands hitting their respective peaks. I have a plan that is quit detailed (with exact dates) on how I plan to roll out everything in the next 3 years. I believe it's important to plan ahead as a business owner, especially since what I want is to create a full-time gig of my side hustles where I wouldn't need a 9-5 job anymore.
What is a failure you’ve experienced in the last 5-10 years that you’ve learned the most from?
This question made me laugh because if I wrote out all my failures it would be a novel. I fail all the time and probably more than a lot of people because I try a lot of different things. There is no way around failure if you want to learn. One lesson I would say I benefited from, is not to repeat the same mistakes over and over because of the toll it takes on your will to keep pushing forward.
In terms of your personal legacy, in a few sentences, describe how you want to be remembered by your family and friends?
This is easy - I want to be remembered as a nice and caring individual. Beyond this, I want to be remembered as a person that worked for everything he has and built a dream out of nothing but his own imagination and will.
Who is one person from the global Tamil community and one person that isn’t Tamil that you admire and why?
I admire a lot of people and to just narrow it down to one from the Tamil community and one from outside of it doesn’t do justice to all of those people that had a part in influencing me. What I will say is that admiration is that something I believe only comes totally from a person's achievements but other areas of their life as well. For example, I admire the people that wake up at 5 am just to have more hours in the day, to the mothers that work 2 jobs to help support their families, etc.
What do you think you would tell 16-year Piriyanth looking back?
I don't think I would give him any advice. Life has a course and its not perfect. If I gave him advice to avoid the same challenges I went through, he would avoid the process of character-building that I got to experience. I am happy with the man I am today and I wouldn’t want that to change. If I were to tell him anything, it would be one word - “BITCOIN”, haha!
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What is your favourite book(s) you've read recently or a podcast(s) that you've listened to recently that's had an impact on you?
My favourite book is "Lord of the Flies", mainly because the story illustrates the fine line between being civilized and savagery. There is also a real struggle for survival as kids are stranded on this island with no guidance from adults to tell them how to live or what to do. This had a huge impact as me as a kid growing up because I didn’t have any guidance from any adults with respect to school, friends or jobs, telling me what I should do and how I should go about it. I always had to learn everything on my own by making mistakes. As a kid growing up, I grew up around the wrong crowd which resulted in a struggle to be seen, noticed or heard. There was a complex balance between the groups that I hung around with versus my school mates, as I was a gifted student.
What is a new belief, behaviour or habit that has most improved your life?
I think the belief that helped me the most in life is that I can make it or extreme self-belief. Don’t get me wrong as everyone has goals and dreams throughout your life with these things constantly changing depending on the what was happening in your life at any given time. Everything changes once you discover the recipe for success and are able to apply it to all aspects to your life..and it works! Right now, I feel like if I put my mind to something in the context of business, I know that I will be abel to manifest success, and this feels like a superpower in itself.
If you were given $1 billion, how would you allocate the money to change the world?
I would gamble it all to try and double up. I'm just kidding haha. Its hard for me to fathom allocating resources to such a large amount as I feel like by the time I would be in such a position, the problems that exist now may be obselete. Personally, I feel like I shouldn't have to worry about racism or poverty, but I think the cause that should have a lot of money pumped into it would be education. I believe that this is the blueprint to solving a lot of the world's challenges because too many people out there who want to learn don't have access to education and people that do have the means to get educated, don't.
How would you describe the impact that the Toronto Tamil community has had on you personally and on your business?
The Tamil community has been amazing and without them, I would not be where I am. The support I get from those out there promoting and marketing my product, literally helped me so much. I think its very important to support those you believe in from your communities because that’s how word of mouth spreads. Personally, I met so many new people which then lead to new promotions and business opportunities. I cannot stress how important it is to help each other grow.
What is your favourite Tamil food (meal or dessert)?
My favourite Tamil food would be chicken biryani which I get from Nantha’s Take out in Scarborough. I mean I would get chicken biryani from literally anywhere but my mother's home cooked chicken biryani is also amazing. I don't think many meals hold up to home cooked meals - can't duplicate the love & care put into these.
What is your favourite Tamil movie?
My favourite Tamil movie is a a classic - Annamalai.
What does Tamil culture mean to you?
It represents perseverance and endurance. This not only applies to my family’s personal experiences, but it pertains to many families in the Tamil community who have had to endure unbelievable amounts of loss and pain to get to where they are now. These accomplishments, whether small or big, through all the hurdles that were thrown their way, brings joy to my heart to see how much the Tamil community as a whole have accomplished. This is one of the many reasons which makes me proud of my roots.
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