Through her popular food and lifestyle blog, Alison Wu has spiced up the wellness room for years. Now she is taking a more literal approach with the launch of Ami Ami. It is a series of spice fillings inspired by a traditional Egyptian spice known as dukkah. Throughout northern Africa and the Middle East, this style of peanuts, herbs, and botanicals has been a staple for centuries.
Wu’s offerings are based on the familiar flavors, while also containing a range of unconventional additives, including sumac, fennel, rose, pepitas and pistachios. Her goal was to develop a versatile product that could bring life to almost any dish. It has a price – 4 oz. jars sell for $ 14 per. unit. If the budding brand can keep up with the momentum of her already established career, you can expect to see a lot more Ami Ami in the coming months.
But how and why did a successful blogger start throwing in premium spices anyway? To learn more Forbes sat down with Wu for an exclusive interview.
How did you get into spice games?
My background is in journalism and digital media, but my passion has always been food. I started my brand Wu house about 6 years ago as a creative outlet while working as a commercial photo stylist for an advertising agency. I started developing recipes and sharing them via my blog and Instagram. Now Wu Haus is a lifestyle brand that incorporates style, wellness, travel and food. I created these fillings – it’s now Ami Ami – over the years, and I loved them so much that I wanted to share them with people.
How was the development process?
My dear friend became a business partner, Laura, and I started conceiving Ami Ami a few years ago and finally launched the brand to the world in March.
Tell us about the three varieties you launched with and how would you recommend using each?
Spicy is made from hazelnut, pepita, coriander, sesame, nigella, cumin, urfa and maras pepper. Savory uses pine nuts, sunflower seeds, fennel, thyme, sumac and lemon peel. Flowers consist of pistachio, rose, walnut, sesame, coconut and cardamom.
We recommend using Spicy and Savory on salads, soups, toasts, dips, roasted vegetables and pasta and Floral on smoothies, yoghurts, fruits, toasts, salads, dips, pancakes and pastries.
Where can Ami Ami be bought?
We sell Ami Ami directly through amiamifoods.com. But we are currently in the process of building our wholesale program. Right now you can find Ami Ami on Ocafe and Studio in NYC, Shared coffee in San Diego, Coat in Portland, OR, and The works in Seattle.
What sets Ami Ami apart from other spices and nut blends on the market?
We think of Ami Ami as a supplement to your favorite dishes, so it’s a bit like a salty granola with no added oils or sweeteners. It works best when sprinkled on dishes just before serving. It is more coarsely chopped than most spice blends, so it adds crunch and texture to every bite.
Tell us more about the charitable component of your startup.
As female business owners, it is important to us that we support young girls and women on their own paths to success. That’s why we donate part of the sales to Heya Masr: a social enterprise initiative in Egypt with a mission to empower young women by providing a safe environment for physical activity, a nutritional and healthy lifestyle program, character development activities and sexual harassment awareness and self-defense training.
How do you intend to roll out the brand in the coming months?
We will offer bulk bags so consumers can refill their jars at home. We are also working on a few more flavors – a nut-free one! In the longer term, we will be in grocery stores across the country and expand our product line to include sauces, dips, dressings and more.