Today’s featured maker is definitely one of the folks that inspired the start of this project for me. She was the very first maker I photographed (she was a few months pregnant with her baby spice girl at the time of our shoot :) and is one of the most consistently inspiring women I know!
Meet Angel Gregario of the Spice Suite!
I first learned of Angel and the Spice Suite in 2016 when I randomly came across her instagram (thanks IG algorithm!) and fell in love with everything she posted- and I do mean everything. From the spice mixes she shared, to the meals she prepared… everything looked SO good! Not only that, but I could tell that she had such a dope vibe and a warm personality. So when I finally made my way to the Spice Suite, it was so great to connect with the woman behind it all and experience the interactive spice bar for myself. Long story short-her spices MAKE me enjoy cooking!
Since then, it has been a joy to work with Angel and see so many new people learn of her awesomeness! In addition to traveling the world for unique spices and creating amazing new blends, her space functions as an incubator for other black owned businesses to host daily pop-ups- the core group of these are affectionately known as the SpiceGirls (one of which was featured during this series- Maya :)
Angel has been featured on Martha Stewart, Essence, XO Necole, and countless other media outlets, with regular appearances on local DC news stations.
Angel is an absolutely brilliant maker who loves what she does and that joy is infectious! It is an honor to include her in this series.
Note: Although this feature gives you a peek into her process, if you’re interested in learning more about Angel’s story, check out her interview with previously featured Nicaila on the SideHustlePro podcast (linked at the end of this post).
Your spice blends are so delicious and unique! What guides your decision-making when it comes to what products you will offer?
Food is fashion. I don’t believe in rules or restrictions when it comes to what I wear or eat. That motto permeates my life. I like to experiment and bring my customers flavors they may not ever imagine mixed with some classic staples. There are some favs you can’t get away from but there’s sooo much fun to be had in the new.
Walk us through the creation process. What does it look like from idea to final product for one of your spice or sauce blends?
This question is a little different for me. I don’t sit and write out spice recipes beforehand. I don’t research or read, I don’t have rules. I encourage my guests to engage in the same way. I largely draw on my motto “food is fashion” and play around. When traveling the world for blends, I go first with what looks interesting and fun, then smell, and then taste.
What is the most fulfilling aspect of owning The Spice Suite?
The freedom of owning my time and being able to show my children the world- literally. Traveling the world with them for spices while making a stop at the pyramids in Egypt. Like- I could never have thought this would be my life!
I first found you via social media a few years ago, and since then, thousands more have as well! As your business and social media following continue to grow, how do you balance your time and manage this tool?
I respect and acknowledge feedback from my social media followers, but I also have very clear boundaries and I make them clear. I’m very transparent with them about what I will/won’t do. While my business is growing, I still make decisions in the best interest of the business and my peace. We recently decided to close on Tuesdays because it’s slow. Folks didn’t love that idea but it makes sense. I also don’t have a traditional online shop. That drives my followers out of state crazy. I have a SpiceBox that we release each month though and folks can access a variety of products. So I basically try to reconcile their concerns while not compromising my time in a way that would jeopardize my business and freedom. I’m here to be free, not bound by opinion.
As a small business owner, sometimes motivation can ebb and flow. What slows you down and how do you overcome it?
I’m rarely slowed down. I try to create my own flow, I don’t yield to expectations of others. That keeps me up for the most part.
What's been your favorite entrepreneurial highlight so far?
Being able to provide space for so many other creatives to pop up. To date, we’ve hosted about 300 small black owned businesses. And of course my SpiceGirls. There’s no me without them.
What's the most important thing you've learned so far about yourself as a maker?
I’m more creative than I thought lol. I never considered myself creative.
I hope you enjoyed learning getting to know a little more about Angel! If this is your first introduction to the Spice Suite, you are in for a treat when you check out the links below :)
Keep up with Angel online: Visit her website: https://www.thespicesuite.com, and follow her on instagram and facebook- she’s @thespicesuite everywhere. Additionally, check out her previous interviews on the SideHustlePro and hey, girl. podcasts.
Now for a few housekeeping announcements: This is the end of the Makers Series (for now :)
For the past 3 months, I have enjoyed featuring some of the amazing black & brown women makers in my network. Over the next few weeks however, I have some exciting things I will be sharing with you so I am pressing pause on this series, and it will return in the fall.
If you missed any of the previous features, no worries- you can check them all out here (or by clicking the ‘MAKERS’ tab up there on the menu bar). I have some great folks lined up for the return of the Makers Series, so stay tuned! And if you’ve been loving the photos that accompany these features and want a makers photo session for yourself, check out the details here.
Thanks for rocking with me and showing love to this passion project of mine 🖤