Just Begin Magazine highlights the creative spaces of extraordinary women through inspirational stories. Each issue will inspire and motivate creativity.
First & Last Name
Yamilet and Cristina Correa
Tell us something interesting about yourself most people don’t know.
Yami: I used to not eat cheese until I got to culinary school. I still can't have it "raw".
Tina: I am very into fashion. Also, I strongly dislike truffle oil.
How did the idea for your business come about?
Our business began around 2014. We knew we loved food and wanted to be part of the industry but didn't know how. We started out as a meal plan service. Did not enjoy it. We catered. Did not enjoy that, either. We then, offered nutritional consultations with short cooking classes at the end of the sessions and felt like we were up to something there. We wanted to take it more seriously than our previous projects, so we contacted a creative agency to develop an app that would help us manage our clients. The SisterYard was born when we realized we did not need an app. Instead, we needed a bridge that connected people to food in a hands-on environment that was not intimidating. We realized that a space to cook in nature, using fresh ingredients and making them taste GREAT, did not exist and that this was -and still is- keeping people from cooking and eating real food. So, the cooking classes came about and that was our gig for the past two years. Once COVID happened this year, we had to cancel all events and the cold brew coffee that we had been making at home, saved us in the most unexpected way.
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur?
Our parents taught us since we were very little that we can be the owners of our work life. That we can get anything done, as long as we put in the work. There was no hesitation in having our own business, it was going to happen one way or another.
How did you come up with the name for your company?
We owe our favorite name to El Autobus, the creative company we worked with when we decided to make the "app" that never happened. We did about 3 days of 4 hour-long brainstorm sessions with their team and wrote all our ideas on a window. The name was hiding in the gibberish, it was everything we expected and more.
How did you raise funding for your venture?
At the very beginning, we were lucky to be pushed by our mom to take the business seriously, so she gave us what was needed to get started. After that, we've both taken on VERY random full and part-time jobs to make ends meet and keep The SisterYard alive.
What makes your business unique?
We are more than two sisters who want to sell you things. We are best friends and now, we are business partners. It's not always been this way, being business partners has made us best friends and vice versa. Maybe what makes us unique has been our eagerness to keep going and to raise our voice when many thought we were insane and to be honest, they might be right. We feel we have a big message to share about food and the emotions it evokes on people, so we will continue being insane for as long as we need.
What are the daily changes you face as a female entrepreneur?
As young, female entrepreneurs, some people fail to take us seriously. As if two women in their mid 20s don't have the tools or the knowledge to make things happen. We have been told to leave this project for a later time when we have more money or we've been told that other people have tested products similar to ours for years and failed so we should just quit now to save ourselves the trouble. It's fun to prove them wrong, though.
How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful?
Tough one. There's not an easy answer to this one but our biggest one from day one has been honesty. We promised to not keep secrets from our community since the very beginning, (it's actually part of the core values of The SisterYard!) because if we really wanted people to fall in love with food the way we did, we had to tell it all. Now, in true marketing spirit, we choose to tell our story through creative pictures and graphics. We think that's what drags people to us, a refreshing view on real food. Anyone can have a great product or idea, but not everyone knows how to market it. We lay on the couch some nights and a -wild- idea hits us and the next day we are shooting it, editing it and putting it up on our website and social media. Eventually, we'll have a team for this but for now, we are learning tons by being part of every step of the process. This can sound very cliché, but if you can picture it in your head, you can bring it to life.
What kind of culture exists in your organization, and how did you establish it?
We are very demanding individuals that have learned to fill most of the positions our company has needed along the years. We do things because we love to do it, because we are fully invested in the project at hand, and because we want the person that receives the finished product to feel all the energy that went into it. Therefore we carefully choose whomever we decide to work with meticulously, making sure their values match ours.
Can you describe/outline your typical day? (Routines, Rituals, that you live by)
No two days are the same but the more structured ones go like this:
Yami: I wake up very early, always try to do so about two hours before I need to make it to work to have time to wake up without rushing out. First thing is to journal, then check emails and go on with my day. Sometimes I like to prepare myself a yogurt or smoothie if I have the time, pour a strong coffee and off to work. I come back home around 3-4 and eat lunch with Tina (she's the best, lunch is always hot and ready when I walk in famished through the door). We try to make lunch an enjoyable but quick task so we have as much time as possible to do whatever needs to be done for TSY at the moment before its time to workout.
Tina: I wake up when Yami leaves to work, journal, hug Pepper (our dog) and head to the office to tackle the day's tasks - answer emails, make coffee and coconut water orders, update the website, edit our latest shoot, etc. Around noon, I prepare lunch and once Yami gets home we eat together, we catch up on each other's day and we work on projects that need the most attention from both. At around 6-7pm, we'll close our computers and exercise -run, weight training or yoga-. We make dinner and head to the couch to watch whatever new show we're hooked on. Although, some days we are too tired and go straight to bed after a shower.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
It's affected our family environment positively and negatively. For one, our little brothers have learned through us that they have all the tools to do what they love and that if they don't have the tools, they can find them along the way or come to us for help. Other times, it's hard for family members to understand that our work is real and that it's a serious as any job we'd be hired for but since our working hours can be any hour, sometimes family time goes into work time or vice versa and that can get messy.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Getting lost in the process and forgetting why it all started. We are very demanding and hard on ourselves, and it's easy to keep on demanding more of you without looking back and seeing how much growth there has been. We always say what's in our heads and have developed an almost mind-reading "thing" where we know what the other one is thinking. So it has become natural to talk about the things we fear the most in both our personal and professional life. After they are said out loud, they don't seem so scary after all, or just maybe because we now know the other one has your back.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Having your own rules & schedule.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
We are both very happy to have gone through the separate paths each one picked, because it all somehow clicked at a midpoint where they collided. We wouldn't change a thing.
How do you define success?
Success to us would mean making a living out of what we love the most, but beyond that, it would be to have large communities understand and spread our purpose.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Be ready to multitask, adapt quickly to challenging situations, learn to organize and prioritize tasks.
What entrepreneurial tricks have you discovered to keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day busy schedule?
Making massive to-do list of things that need to be done within that week, including all the small tasks to not forget anything. There's a good sense of accomplishment after crossing things off that keeps you going and has been working for us.
What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?
Getting their hands into anything they wish to learn. Good valuable information comes in a million shapes and forms. Podcasts, books, Ted Talks, seminars, online courses, you can learn ANYTHING as long as you dedicate some time for it.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
The strong women of our family.
What business-related book has inspired you the most? (or, What is your favorite book?)
Eat a Peach by David Chang.
What is the part of your life experience you would alter if you had the chance to?
We would've liked to travel more while growing up.
If you were to write a book about yourself, how would you name it?
You don't need a recipe.
What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Workout, eat, enjoy good music, be outdoors.
What mantra do you live by?
We say "it is what it is" a lot. But take it a whole different way. For us that means, no matter what else is going on around you, you need to focus on the task at hand. You still have to fulfill the duty and commitment you have made to the company, and do it in the positive, bright mood it deserves.
Do you have a mentor? Can you share the impact that person or people have had in your life?
We don't have a mentor. Although we think we have encountered people throughout our lifetime that have taught us valuable lessons.
What are the best resources that have helped you along the way? (book, podcast, speaker, etc)
Dementes podcast, From the heart conversations with YogaGirl, Atomic Habits, Big Magic, endless of youtube tutorials.
What’s the most enjoyable or fulfilling part of what you do?
Seeing how happy people are when receiving something we have made. It is absolutely indescribable and the best fuel to keep us going even when we feel like nothing makes sense.
What do you see as some of your biggest accomplishments?
Our cold brew coffee, not because of its own success, but because it represents a new stage of The SisterYard. One where we had no choice but to work harmoniously, learn from one another, and become a jack of all trades while under pressure.
What would you tell someone who is interested in starting a business or pursuing a passion?
To be prepared to fail, to get no's as an answer, to learn to do it all, and to be persistent.
Where can people get connected with you? (social media handles, website, etc)
www.thesisteryard.com | @thesisteryard