Behind The Brands
We love a good founder story. Scroll through to see who's behind your favorite brands and how they got started...
Launched in June 2020 by WOC Dee Charlemagne and her co-founder Alex Doman, AVEC is on a mission to help you drink better. Their line of premium better for you mixers are made in Brooklyn with all-natural ingredients — real juices, botanicals, and spices— to create delicious, naturally low-sugar/low-calorie replacements for existing alternatives. Think of an updated version of a ginger beer but with 80-90% less sugar or an updated margarita with Tequila AVEC Jalapeño and Blood Orange. AVEC's sampler box is an amazing way to try all 5 flavors and a great gift for that wannabe-mixologist in your life. You simply mix a double shot (2oz) of booze with a whole AVEC can for a hard drink or can have AVEC as an amazing mock-tail over ice.
A Dozen Cousins
A Dozen Cousins is a natural food brand that makes convenient side dishes inspired by traditional Creole, Caribbean and Latin American foods. Their first product is a line of award-wining beans that are cooked with real vegetables and spices and made with nutrient dense avocado oil. The company was founded by Ibraheem Basir and the brand name is inspired by his daughter, her 11 cousins, and all the great family dinners enjoyed together.
Diaspora Co.Diaspora Co was founded in mid-2017 by Sana Javeri Kadri to create a radically new, and equitable vision of the spice trade, decolonizing a commodity back into a seasonal crop, and a broken system into an equal exchange. The brand sources India's freshest, heirloom, and single-origin spices, directly from partner farms. Beyond highlighting gorgeous, indigenous spice varieties, it's also about creating a business for Indians, by Indians. Complicating and deepening what "Made in India" means and how the stories of freedom, struggle, and diaspora through food are told.
Karma Nuts was founded by Ganesh Nair, who married his Masters in Health Science & Technology from MIT and 10+ years of diabetes care work with his family's deep legacy in the cashew business. After decades of proliferation in sugary snacks and fried junk food, he saw an opportunity to develop an alternative to the oil-fried cashews that were normally seen on supermarket shelves. In 2014 Karma Nuts introduced a line of minimally processed cashews, and has since developed many flavors of both Wrapped and Roasted cashews, using All-Natural, Non-GMO Project Verified, Vegan, and Kosher ingredients.
Little Black Box
Founder Crystal Israel left her 13-year, 50-hour/week corporate job to move back to Jacksonville, FL. In her spare time, she started baking and selling at local farmer's markets and pop-up events purely for fun. She soon realized the availability of fillings for her treats were less than delicious. It was a lot of overly sweet, chemical-filled, and not-exactly-natural options. So, she started making her own jam! Little Black Box's mission is to create fruit-forward flavors that cut back on the sweeteners and play with various flavor combinations both naturally sweet and savory.
Regina Trillo started Nemi Holisticks with the idea of combining her 3 passions: health, transparency, and LOVE for chips. Maintaining her roots in Mexico through her passions for food, health, and connecting with people, she decided to introduce un poquito de México to the masses by combining two of her favorite Mexican superfoods, amaranth seeds and nopal (cactus), into one real, simple, crunchy and delicious snack!
After eating granola bars for over three decades, Margaret Barrow decided to stop complaining about her granola-snacking choices and create her own. As the only vegan among her family members and friends, she envisioned making a treat they all could enjoy. She wanted to avoid crumbling, messy granola bars that dropped half-eaten into the bottom of bags and purses. Margaret found a unique way to turn her toasted granola into balls and shared small batches each week with hungry college students and faculty. They all agreed that these granola balls had a chewy texture with a just-right amount of sweetness. She reimagined granola for the 21st century with her chewy and Boldly flavorful granola ball snacks.
Owner, Stephanie Williams, has always believed in providing “from-scratch”, all natural meals for her family to promote a healthier lifestyle. Over time, she developed her own granola recipe to provide an alternative to some of the unhealthy snacks found on grocery store shelves. The snack instantly became a hit among her family, friends, and community. After having two children, Stephanie resigned from her job to spend more precious time with them and to create an abundance of Oh-Mazing! moments.
Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce
Shaquanda's Hot Pepper Sauce made their first appearance at Bushwig in 2013 when Simon Leahy (the event's organizer) asked Shaquanda to perform. Shaquanda would only do it if she was able to perform using food. Enlisting the graphic design help of long-time collaborator, Dominic Mondavi, the Bushwig blend was created; a hot sauce creation made specifically for Bushwig, a performance of flavor in context to the event. Later that evening, Shaquanda and friends strolled the streets of Bushwick - shopping cart and all - serving sauces to people she had never met. The demand was there, and people raved about the FLAVOR. At that moment Shaquanda decided to turn this performance into a business.
Wild Willett was founded by Catherine Nguyen. In a quest to find healthy, protein-packed snacks that her foodie family could love, Catherine created Wild Willett in her own kitchen. Hundreds of recipe tweaks and family taste tests later, her better-for-you snacks are now available in three delicious flavors. Wild Willett is named after Catherine’s 3 children, Will, Lilly, and Scarlett, who required Mom to triple her energy (luckily, they also triple the fun).
Yolélé was founded by Pierre Thiam in 2017 to create economic opportunity for smallholder farming communities; to support biodiverse, regenerative, and resilient food systems; and to share Africa’s ingredients and cuisines with the world. Pierre Thiam is a celebrated chef, restaurateur, award-winning cookbook author, and entrepreneur. Born and raised in Senegal, he is known for his innovative cooking style, at once modern and eclectic yet rooted in the rich culinary traditions of West Africa.