Ayelet Venezia - Ayelet Spices
Online store for unique spices and spice blends free of additives and gluten
A family business, shared by Ayelet and her partner, Nissim and employs about 10 employees who are responsible for packaging, deliveries, customer service and content.
But it is more than just an online store, it is actually a home that creates for people tastes in their life.
It takes place together and around a community of customers who learn how easy, simple and delicious the cooking experience in the home kitchen can be.
What is your background?
I have loved the kitchen since I was a kid.
After the army I studied hotel management and also cooking at Tadmor, and then I completed my business studies.
I worked in various kitchens and restaurants on both the kitchen side and the service side and later moved on to managing activities and sales at high-tech companies.
How did your business start?
The business started in 2014 entirely by chance, with no clear business intention. Following a dietary change we made, I and Nissim entered the Paleo communities, that were then on Facebook, and became interested in the realm of cooking real and clean food.
One day a Paleo market was established, the purpose of which was to bring the members of the community together offline and to make it possible to buy products and raw materials in one place.
The first market was very successful, and I, who had just finished my job as an employee and was looking for the next thing for myself, turned to the market entrepreneur and he said he wanted to bring a spice stand to the next market to ensure community members could enjoy clean and gluten-free spices.
I, who really likes to make connections, immediately approached my neighbor, who I knew worked in such a spice factory and offered him to open a stall in the next market. He suggested that I buy spices from him and open a stall myself and that is what we did.
From market to market the stall has evolved and become a magnet for people and customers who wanted to learn more about cooking and seasoning and applying the Paleo principles at home.
Slowly we started making spice mixes ourselves.
We started making spice deliveries to customers who could not reach the markets.
From there the road was short to realize that we have a business here that exists even if we did not intend to.
In 2015 we officially opened it as a business, and in 2017, when we already had a small website and made a few dozen deliveries a month, we made a business decision to stop participating in the various markets and concentrate on our online store.
Then the business also became officially a family business and since then our clientele has been growing from month to month.
The more we saw how excited and enthusiastic people were to use clean and fresh spices and how much the spice blends made it easier for people to dare and cook more and expand the range of flavors they were accustomed to, the more I fell in love with this world and decided to concentrate and focus on it.
What is special about your spices?
First of all, the spices we sell and the blends, are 100% spices and they are not mixed with any different additives designed to enhance flavor, add volume or blur quality.
Because we are an online store and not a physical store, we do not have to keep stock on display allowing us to be fully and closely supervised on the freshness of spices and blends and make sure customers get quality, clean and fresh paprika rather than one that has stood on the shelf or in bulk for days or weeks or months.
In addition, our blends are very balanced and special and they guarantee people a new cooking experience. Our customers share with us how cooking has become much easier and tastier thanks to the blends because all they have to do is take a raw material, add a mixture to it and prepare it on the stove or in the oven, which even the simplest salad suddenly becomes special and short of compliments.
At these times of Covid-19 and lockdown, when people are much more at home and much more required to cook, this ability to diversify easily, and to prepare delicious food easily is a quality that people really crave.
And last but not least are our transparency and service.
People know exactly what is in each and every mixture because we list all the ingredients.
People get a lot of information from us in deliveries and in the FB group and on our site how to use spices, recipe ideas, explanations why everything is suitable and they are never left alone with what they bought without knowing what to do with it.
What is it like to run a family business?
it is complicated. not simple. It is difficult to put the line where the business begins and ends and where the relationship or family begins and many times everything is very mixed and it is difficult to make the separation.
On the other hand, we have a clear knowledge that we care for each other, that in advance, we are together in things and we complement each other so there is something very strengthening and empowering in it.
We learn every time again and again how to create separations as well as how to empower and use the strengths of each of us.
What excites me very much is to see that the very family atmosphere that we create at home is created and maintained with both our employees and our customers.
What interesting connections have happened to you thanks to the business?
Some customers have become friends and ambassadors thanks to the encounter with the spices
We were privileged to be part of packages sent to Jews all over the world as part of their connection to Israel
And today I also get, quite a bit, to participate in projects of promotion and empowerment of business owners and tell them my story and through it to teach them about online, community building and brand and business success.
Tell me about an interesting social project you took part in
One of the things that sometimes happens is that packages sent to customers come back to us for all sorts of reasons - there was a break in the package, the shipping company lost it and then found and returned it to us, a package sent by mistake twice.
These are products that we will never return to the resale shelf but they are definitely products that can still be used, so once in a while, we centralize all of these returns and donate them. We were privileged to donate to boarding schools of at-risk youth, homes for battered women or soldiers who come from abroad alone, to volunteer.
How has the Corona year affected your business?
This was one of the most successful years of the business.
From a family business, we have become a small organization.
If a lot of businesses had to go online and prepare for it, we would already be here, ready with an online business that works great, and for us, it just propelled us forward.
It also taught us a lot about daring, flexibility and our ability to be very precise in our business choices.
On the other hand, it also taught us the very great need to disperse loads more correctly, to make time for ourselves and our family more, and to put the focus on what really matters.
What are the plans and aspirations for the future?
The ambition is to stabilize the business, deepen the relationship with our customers, bring them as much value and benefit as possible.
Move to a larger place, expand the range of flavors we offer and reach more new spice flavors.
Create a lot more content and start sending our spices directly to our customers who love and use it abroad as well.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
I am interested in creating collaborations that give value to people.
For example, Nadav from ' Ose Salad' is someone who took the world of salads and turned it into something special, exciting and thrilling and I am interested in creating a connection between his world and my world of flavors.
I am interested in Mediterranean, Arabian cooking and seeing how our flavors can blend into such cooking
I would be happy to introduce my community to quality raw materials and deepen their acquaintance with a manufacturer of quality olive oil, handmade pasta, etc.
What tips do you have for entrepreneurs?
I think people need to be bold, flexible, creative and constantly in action and movement.
And at the same time to create for themselves DNA and a very clear center and hold on to it.
They have to understand that any entrepreneurship requires an investment of time, energy and money and not to be afraid to outsource everything that is not the core of my business, interest and capabilities.