The NYU SPS Hospitality Innovation Hub (HI Hub) had the opportunity to host a virtual roundtable with Tariq Farid, founder and CEO of Edible Brands. The discussion was moderated by the director of the HI Hub Incubator program and NYU professor, Dr. Richie Karaburun - aka Dr. K. The event was open to members of the NYU community and provided insights into Farid’s journey and experience as an entrepreneur, and his recommendations for those wanting to develop their own startup business.
Tariq Farid is the founder and CEO of Edible Brands, best known as the parent company to Edible Arrangements, a leading business in innovative gifts and treats. Farid credits a lot of his success to the generosity and efforts of his parents and mentors and stressed the importance of finding a good support system in the right environment. Farid’s family comes from an agricultural background and as a first-generation immigrant, he did not have a strong business background - but he was determined to succeed and launch his company. While his family was hesitant and his proposal was initially rejected twice for funding, Farid said he “always had a good feeling”. And over the years, Farid met many people who saw a lot more potential in him than even he did. Farid made it a point to “Shoot for the mountain-top instead of the next base camp”, and with a good idea and good mentors, he was able to see fast success.
Farid concluded the discussion by speaking to industry trends and the impact COVID-19 had on his business. Within the first few weeks after COVID hit, Edible Brands’ business was down 70-80%. With a new obstacle, they had to expand their national website and take advantage of e-commerce channels to revitalize their business. Many products and features that were still a few years away from their intended launch were developed within only a matter of weeks. However, through these challenges, Edible Brands remained true to their mission statement that they “promise to WOW our guests and our Franchise Owners”. It is easy to fixate on what went wrong but Farid emphasized the importance of always sharing and appreciating what went right.
The discussion offered many insights in terms of advice for rising entrepreneurs and best practices when developing a business. One of the greatest pieces of advice is to remain determined and learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Great entrepreneurs do not have to learn to master all facets of business operations, but no aspects should be intimidating either. Farid also noted the benefits of starting a business early and having the opportunity to learn business operations and jargon while still in school - or even enrolling in courses, later on, to help develop these understandings. Farid recommended building a network and including friends that are ahead of you and will help inspire your own journey. It was an honor to have Farid speak virtually and his success and positivity will continue to inspire entrepreneurs around the world.