What inspired you to start your business?
I launched Terranean Herbs and Spices in December 2019 in order to teach others about za’atar, a wonderful staple in all Middle Eastern homes, and to fill a void in the American marketplace for this traditional Middle Eastern spice by creating an authentic product that is attractive to all consumers. When I returned from Lebanon in July 2019, I noticed that most Middle Eastern staples like the wild thyme blend, Za’atar, were not available at local Ohio non-Middle Eastern grocery stores, and the ones that recently became available are not authentic za’atar. I wanted to provide a high quality, authentic product, similar to what I grew up enjoying. As a Lebanese American, it was also very important to me to be able to create economic opportunities for women in Lebanon. I currently source my za’atar from a woman co-owned and operated business in Lebanon, and I am hoping to grow enough to provide business for the women za’atar growers in my Lebanese village.
What three traits define you?
Goal focused, self-aware, and persistent.
What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
My advice for women entrepreneurs is to seek out mentorship. Find someone who has accomplished what you are attempting and consult with them. I am especially thankful for the mentors I turned to for guidance while launching my business.
If you are a woman entrepreneur and qualify, I would recommend applying for certification as a women-owned business with the WBENC!
How has being a WBENC-Certified WBE helped your business?
WBENC is a great resource to be a part of and opens doors to networking opportunities and special business opportunities. As a WBENC-Certified WBE, I am able to submit my products through various supplier diversity programs. These opportunities get my products in front of buyers and businesses that otherwise may not have seen them, especially during COVID. My business is highlighted amongst others in a very competitive field.
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
During COVID, I’ve had a lot of issues with vendors getting materials needed for my products- backorders, shipment delays, etc. This has made it difficult to fulfill orders when I want to and to even pursue growth opportunities. I’ve had to source products from other companies, switch up the types of packaging I’ve been using, and just make necessary changes to make sure my order are fulfilled.
I also think a lot about my family in Lebanon and what Lebanon has gone through the last couple years, including their economic crisis, political unrest, the August 2020 port explosion and more, and about how I can continue to utilize this business to make more opportunities for the people there.
What do you love about being a business owner?
I love the flexibility owning my own business provides me. I decide my work hours, partnerships, and what my day to day schedule is going to look like. I am able to work from home which allows me to balance being a businesswoman and mother of two, soon to be three. I am also able to plan my trips to the office and facility around my schedule. This flexibility allows for a more manageable and fulfilling work-family life balance. I also get to build my own team, and work with people I trust and can rely on.
What’s the best way to start your day?
I start my morning with 10 minutes dedicated to writing out and scheduling my to-do list for the day. Those 10 minutes give me focus, and time to plan my day efficiently.
How do you unwind after a long workday?
By the end of my work day, I like to unwind by watching TV. My husband and I will watch a series together and catch up on our day.
Fill in the blank:
When I face a challenge, I… take the time to list out possible solutions without rushing decisions or responses.
If I could go back in time, I would tell myself… to get more sleep.
The one thing I couldn’t live without is… my family.
By this time next year, I will be… expanding my business and working with more partners.
The best thing that happened to me last week was … spending time with my family.
To get my creative juices flowing, I… go on walks.
Terranean Herbs & Spices
Terranean Herbs & Spices specializes in traditional Middle Eastern products. Their Za’atar products feature a variety of wild thyme native to the Levantine and Middle Eastern regions, specifically sourced from the founder's home country of Lebanon, so that you can enjoy the same familiar and delicious flavors that she grew up on. They use the highest quality natural ingredients, with no added preservatives or emulsifiers. Their products are vegan, and include Za’atar spreads, za'atar dry blends, za'atar baked pita chips, and Mediterranean inspired spice blends.