I can confidently say I’m great at two things: eating and talking. Ask my family and friends, they won’t hesitate to say I have a big appetite and an even bigger mouth. That being said, as I embarked on my career journey, I was far from knowing what I wanted to do. Liking food and being able to talk to people weren’t exactly the most appropriate things to highlight on a resume.
I am honestly thankful every day that my oldest sister, Shelby, has a business degree; and that my middle sister, Jackie, married Omri. And now I’m doing my dream job – talking about food.
Let me go back…
It started with three sisters – Shelby, Jackie and Amy (me!). Our parents dubbed us “SheJAmZ” at a young age. Jackie moved to Israel and was dating a great guy, Omri. (I say was because now they are married and he’s still great.) Omri had been distributing tehina, a 100 percent sesame spread, around Israel for over five years and exposed us to the awesome product. He would blend roasted eggplant with tehina and serve it as a dip, or mix it with silan (Israeli date syrup) for a sweet spread. At the time, Shelby was also living in Israel and became hooked. Using her Wharton degree, she typed up the initial manifesto. The United States needed a good tehina, and its citizens needed to learn how to use it!
We decided to call the company Soom Foods (soom soom is sesame in Hebrew), and I would get it going since I didn’t have a job. Omri started teaching us about the product, the infinite amount of recipes and what made it so great. First lesson (with true Israeli attitude): it’s tehina, not tahini.
Why is tehina so great? Well, it’s a versatile “paste” made from sesame seeds, which are high in protein, calcium, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, and antioxidants. What makes a good tehina? The sesame seeds, of course! And where are the best seeds from? Ethiopia.
And so it was decided: we will bring tehina to the United States, and our tehina will be made of Ethiopian sesame seeds. We booked a SheJAmz (plus boyfriends) trip to Ethiopia to get a better understanding of the source of our seed. It was the trip that sealed the deal. Not only was tehina a magical product in our eyes, Ethiopia was a magical land. It exposed us to a feeling different than the “holy high” of Israel; it was a feeling of appreciating natural grandeur, a place still pure and full of the pride of bringing the highest quality of products from their lands.
So where does that leave us? With all the joys, grievances and challenges of starting a business! We are currently sourcing our seeds from Ethiopia, producing and packaging our product in Israel and importing it to sell in the US. We are expecting our first shipment in March, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Top photo: Shelby, Jackie and Amy are the three sisters of “SheJAmZ”