Spices and sauces are what turn insipid ingredients into gourmet food. We all love food, well at least l do and there is nothing disappointing in the life of a foodie like being served a dry meal that’s meant to be succulent. Yes, it’s all about the food and for food, it’s all about the bursts of flavor.
Ghanaian #MotherlandMogul Essie Bartels knows the art of fine cookery and through her kitchen experiments, EssieSpice was established. Essie was born in Accra to a family of 9, she went to school in the central part of Ghana and moved to the USA at age 18. She has traveled to over 26 countries, lived on three continents and schooled in those three.
Essie Bartels learnt how to cook from her mother and grandmother from when she was 8 years old.
How did you turn your love for spices into a business?
It was thanks to a lot of encouragement and support from family and friends. The plan was to continue working in corporate America and rising up the ranks and I was doing that. EssieSpice was a side gig. But with all the support, I kept going and when I lost my job, I decided to give EssieSpice a chance.
What were some of your disappointments?
There have been so many. Being disappointed by partners, investors, the government, writers who say they’ll publish your story, running out of funds, disappointments from ingredient producers.
The list goes on.
What has been the most successful strategy of marketing your spices?
I think what has worked for me so far is my foundation. When I started out, I told myself I will give 100% of my vision into the brand. Nothing was going to be half-baked.
I spent a substantial amount of money on research, on my labels, on my ingredients, on telling my story, and my overall branding. I think people identify with that and they understand how much I put in. They understand how that translates into the passion and love I have for EssieSpice.
What is your favourite spice from your product range?
I actually wish I had a favorite out of the 4 so I could answer everyone who interviews me but I really don’t.
Anyone who’s tried the sauces will tell you how different they are. With products so different, it’s hard to pick one since they can be used for the same things but also completely varied and different applications.I immerse myself wherever I am - Essie Bartels founder of @EssieSpice Click To Tweet
How do you generate new ideas?
I travel. I immerse myself wherever I am. Whether I’m back home researching new spices or in another country. I ask a lot of questions. I then come home and experiment. Some of the ideas come out of disasters of experiments as well.
Which cuisine most inspires your spices?
African and Asian cuisines. They are my favorite.
What are your responsibilities as the owner of EssieSpice?
Currently, I don’t have staff. Most of my workers are contract workers or outsourced.
Once in a while, I have help from friends and family so ultimately I have all the responsibilities at EssieSpice. From sourcing ingredients to packaging to production to deliveries to demos to accounting to social media…you name it. But that will be changing soon.Most of @EssieSpice's workers are contract workers or outsourced Click To Tweet
Did the birth of EssieSpice cause any lifestyle changes? How?
I can create my schedule now. That wasn’t the case before when I worked in corporate. I had to go with someone else’s schedule for my life.
I also had to learn to budget a lot more and to be more organized with finance and schedules. Also knowing that once I create the product, it’s not about me anymore but the consumer. That brings a whole new perspective.
Describe a kitchen disaster
I remember I went to a market and I was told there was no power. So I needed to run to a Home Depot and get a generator to power our fryers and grills. But the generator could only power one thing at a time. It was an extremely hectic and difficult day but we pulled through.
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