STARTUP STORY: WHOLE SPICE

WHOLE SPICE | UNDISCOVERED KITCHEN BLOG

WHOLE SPICE | UNDISCOVERED KITCHEN BLOG

Whole Spice is a freshly ground herbs and spices company from Napa Valley. Husband and Wife team Ronit and Shuli Madmone started their business back in 2000 but their family’s spice history dates all the way back to 1970!

We first met the Whole Spice team at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January 2014. Not only is this team extremely friendly but their spices are truly unique! Shuli suggested we try the Moroccan spice blend, though we were hesitant at first since it’s not very common to eat spices on their own. After the very first taste we realized it was indeed SO fresh, we ate it straight from the jar like it was trail mix – Delicious!

Whole Spice sell hundreds of spices, herbs, teas, salts and sugars and are constantly experimenting with new blends. Some of the unique blends we found:

WHOLE SPICE | UNDISCOVERED KITCHEN BLOG

Need an easy way to discover new spices? Whole Spice’s also offers their Four Seasons Spice Club which delivers expertly hand selected spices straight to your door every three months. Members also receive detailed recipes and suggestions for each new spice.

  • Standard membership: Three new jars of spices every three months
  • Premium membership: Six new jars of spices every three months.

WHOLE SPICE | UNDISCOVERED KITCHEN BLOG

Who are the business founders and when did you launch the business?

Ronit and Shuli Madmone launched their Whole Spice business in 2000.

What inspired you to start your business?

Shuli’s family has owned a spice show and has been growing spice in the Negev Desert of Israel since 1970. Shuli’s dream was always to continue his family’s business.

Did you have a background in the food/drink industry when you started?

Shuli and I both love to cook. Shuli’s family immigrated from Yemen to Israel and mine came from Morocco. Both of our families had rich culinary traditions where food was at the center of the home. When we opened our business, we used our knowledge of food and cooking as the basis to experiment with recipes and develop new flavors. Over the years and as our business has grown, we’ve enjoyed exploring with may different flavors and cultures and adding to our spice repertoire.

A business idea that was left on the editing room floor?

We still dream of opening a spice shop and restaurant which serves food from around the world. It would incorporate education hosting classes about spices, food, and culture. One day…

What are some rookie mistakes you made when starting out?

Our packaging was too big. Back home, shoppers buy spices in kilos. When we saw the standard glass jars in America supermarkets, we thought, “This is too small. It will only be enough for a recipe or two.” Within a year we had to change our packaging to small 4-ounce glass jars.

 How do you stay motivated in the face of competition?

We’re always creating new blends and adding unique ingredients to our inventory.  We’re so busy keeping up with all of the ideas we have for new blends, we don’t spend much time checking in on what others are doing. In fact, it seems like we’ve been an inspiration to many other spice companies. This is what makes us stand out:  We use our talent and passion, and it’s reflected in the products.

What’s the strangest customer request or feedback you’ve gotten?

“Your spices are too fresh. It ruined my food. I’m used to flavorless spices.”

What’s your biggest business goal for this year?

We hope to open a second retail location.

Where do you see your business in 10 years?

We take our business one day at the time. Our goal is to be healthy, continue to grow and love what we do without pressure.

Your dream celebrity endorsement (dead or alive)?

I respect Alice Water’s work with local foods and gardens.

What’s your team or company motto? (Informal or formal)

We respect all of our customers, small or large. Once a customer, always a customer. Never make anyone walk away.

Advice for someone with a great artisan food or drink idea? 

At first, we didn’t understand the value of doing market research. We would advise others to spend some time investigating what’s out there, from packaging options to customer demand.

Hear Shuli and Ronit Madmone talk about what’s hot among chefs & home cooks:

 

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