Founder: Stacy Nicole and Grandma Nicolaza
Founded in: October 2018
Based in: Fordham Heights, Bronx
When 25-year-old Stacy Nicole opened her company, Sazon Stizzy, she had no idea that sharing her grandmother’s homestyle cooking recipes would bring her hundreds of hungry patrons and help her launch a successful small business.
Less than two years ago, Stacy was making a meal for her family. She was making a homemade pasta in white sauce, inspired by flavors from both Italy and the Dominican Republic.
After posting the finished dish to her Instagram account, she received nine direct messages from friends complimenting the presentation and inquiring about ordering a plate for themselves.
So, she decided to try it. Stacy began posting daily meals to her Instagram page, charging roughly $20 for patrons who wanted to pick up a homemade duplicate.
“We try to mix modern food with a traditional style of cooking — just trying to bring in a taste of home at an affordable price,” Stacy said.
And now, nearly a year and a half later, the Bronx-born brand, Sazon Stizzy, is selling 80-100 plates a day through Instagram direct messages.
Today, Stacy employs a team of four: two people in the kitchen, one person packing, and one person handling orders on social media.
She says that she learned most of everything she knows about cooking by watching her grandmother in the kitchen.
“Everyone in my family is a really good cook. Generation to generation, we just add our own little touch.”
Before the pandemic, Stacy’s grandmother was the head chef. But now, for safety reasons, she hasn’t seen her grandmother in more than two months.
“It’s been a rollercoaster, but we make it work,” she said.
Today, for the protection of her staff, her company is only open three days a week. Her business is takeout only, and requires that everyone picking up orders wear gloves and masks when getting their food.
Still, Stacy is also hosting some online classes and free recipes to her social media channels to help people learn how to cook from home.
“I’m just trying to give everyone a little bit of what they love, as much as we can.”
And when she’s able to reopen, she hopes to launch a storefront to continue to grow her business.
“I’ve been eating like this my whole life; I want to share that with people.”
And for other young entrepreneurs hoping to start their own small businesses, she offers this advice:
“If you feel like you have something you’re passionate about, just do it. You’re already spending half your day on Instagram. May as well make some money from it.”