Sascha Dhanjal Eifler is the owner of Madison-based Saffi Foods, which specializes in award-winning oils and vinegar in zero-waste packaging. After living in Chile post-college and working with a small olive oil farm, Dhanjal Eifler set out to start a company in the United States offering premium, unadulterated products direct from farms. Learn about Sascha Dhanjal Eifler…
Hometown: I was born and raised in Indianapolis, then I went to Loyola University in Chicago for undergrad. While in university, I spent a summer in Tunisia, a year in Italy and moved to Chile after I graduated. Once I started Saffi Foods, I moved to Chicago where I met my husband and we ended up in Madison.
First job: I started babysitting at 11 years old, and once I had a driver’s license I got a job as a receptionist at a salon and spa (while continuing to babysit).
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WI: I love taking my 2.5-year-old and 5-month-old to visit their grandparents in Door County.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Designing and manufacturing the dispensers for the olive oil and vinegar was quite a feat. I joined a makerspace and learned how to use the equipment in the wood shop, laser cutters, 3D printers and how to use CAD software. Before that, I was very intimidated by design, but the experience gave me confidence and insight into the constraints that designers and engineers face when developing solutions.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Haven’t completely overcome it, but surviving the pandemic that hit the two industries I serve (food service and bulk grocery) has been the most difficult business hurdle thus far.
Someone who inspires you and why: My mom. Her family was expelled from Uganda by a dictator and were forced to flee. After moving to the United States, she started multiple small businesses while raising two kids and always made time to come to our soccer games, do field trips with our classes and have dinner as a family.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Your support network is everything, so surround yourself with people that will pump you up even on your worst day. My dad and my husband are my two biggest cheerleaders, and on the days when I am ready to give up, I turn to them.
Favorite quote: It changes daily, but today it is “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” –Dalai Lama
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I do not enjoy cooking despite having a food business. I have found that the easiest way to make delicious food is with a few quality ingredients.
What makes someone fabulous: Compassion.