Sisters Daphne Khairo, Diane Zoura and Darlene Zoura, daughters of Iraqi immigrants, founded Sistry Foods, a California-based sauce company featuring products that are free of gluten, dairy, egg, soy, added sugars and preservatives. “I have two daughters who have an egg allergy, Darlene has a dairy allergy and Diane has a gluten sensitivity,” Khairo says. “We wanted to create products that everyone can enjoy, no matter what allergy or intolerance one may have.” Learn about Daphne Khairo, Diane Zoura and Darlene Zoura…
Hometown: San Diego
First job: Daphne: I got my first job right out of high school as a sales associate at Victoria’s Secret.
Darlene: Administrative assistant for Sprint.
Diane: In college, I worked on campus at the New School of Architecture + Design as the assistant for the Student Life manager.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: Daphne :Some of my favorite ways I like to spend my time in CA is taking my kids to the beach, trying out new restaurants, and cooking for my family!
Darlene: My favorite way to spend my free time is at the beach and going for walks. I also love to visit new restaurants and try new foods.
Diane: My favorite place to go to is the beach. I love listening to the sound of the waves and soaking up some vitamin D. I also enjoy going on hikes, practicing yoga, and visiting different museums and restaurants.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Daphne: My biggest accomplishment was starting two businesses. I started a catering company before Sistry Foods.
Darlene: My biggest accomplishment is making these sauces. I started making them at home and wanted to create products for all people with allergies or intolerances. It took a lot of trial and error until we perfected each flavor.
Diane: My biggest accomplishment is facing my fears and launching my own business. There is so much we want to share with the world, and it is made possible through starting our own business.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Daphne: My biggest obstacle that I have overcome is failure. When you fail at something, it might make you want to give up. But if you have your goals set and you have the perseverance to accomplish your goal, you will succeed. When I have failed, I just sit back, look at what I can do to fix the situation, see my options, reset and go!
Darlene: The biggest obstacle I overcame is starting a new business especially during a pandemic. We had several setbacks but learned to work around them and overcome them.
Diane: The biggest obstacle that I have overcome has to be failure. To overcome this obstacle, I learned to reframe my perspective on failure and view it as an opportunity to learn and grow. It’s also important to practice self-compassion and be kind to yourself, remembering that everyone fails at some point, and it’s a natural part of the learning process. It’s best to surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you and encourage you to keep going. It’s essential to keep moving forward and not give up on your goals. Use the lessons learned from failure to make adjustments and keep working towards your dreams with determination and resilience.
Someone who inspires you and why: Daphne: My dad is someone who inspires me. Ever since I was kid my dad always gave me courage and excitement to start a business on my own. He came to the States at 18 years old and him and his brothers built themselves up from pretty much nothing. They had many obstacles in life but they never gave up. My dad always taught me that giving up is never an option in life. When one door closes, another one will open.
Darlene: My dad inspires me. He came to the United States at a young age as an immigrant and was forced to start a life in the US. He became a business owner and learned to speak English regardless of any obstacle that came his way.
Diane: My mom inspires me so much on a daily basis. She has sacrificed a lot to make sure that everyone in the family is happy. There were certain opportunities that she didn’t have as a teenage immigrant, and she has gone out of her way my whole life to make sure that I had these opportunities, especially as a female.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Daphne: In the beginning, it might seem like the odds are up against you. But never give up. If you believe in your business/product, nothing can stop you. You can only go up.
Darlene: My advice is that with this career path you have to stay persistent and believe in what you are doing. If you believe that you can change the way people eat, you have to stay positive and keep doing everything you can.
Diane: My advice is that if you believe in your product and you are passionate about it, don’t let anything stop you. There are many obstacles and the road is not straight. Many doors will close, but there are other doors waiting to be opened. Don’t give up.
Favorite quote: Daphne: I have a couple quotes that I like but I think my favorite one would be by Winston Churchill. “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
Darlene: “Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going. Put one foot in front of the other, smile and just keep on rolling.” –Kobe Bryant
Diane: I have many favorite quotes, but this one I heard recently has stuck with me: “Perhaps the secret of living well is not in having all the answers but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.”–Rachel Naomi Remen
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: Daphne: I have three daughters, and they look like my sisters and me!
Darlene: I have a degree in Respiratory Therapy and worked in a hospital for many years before changing career paths.
Diane: I have a non-profit and the goal is to build an orphanage one day.
What makes someone fabulous: Daphne: I think standing up for what you believe in and trying to make the world a better place makes someone absolutely fabulous!
Darlene: Making a positive impact in a person’s life.
Diane: Making a positive impact in the world.
Sistry Foods can be found at the Sprouts locations in Chula Vista and Eastlake, the Little Italy Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, Harvest Ranch Market in Encinitas, Farm Stand 67 in Ramona and Amazon.com: Sistry Foods.