I started Alaska Spice Shop a couple days before Christmas 2018, In Haines Alaska. It was one of those serendipitous, all the stars were aligned events you only read about in idyllic, fairy tales. Two weeks into the startup, we learned of the Alaska Wholesale Gift Show happening a week later in Anchorage, Alaska – 750 miles away. A two day drive over multiple mountains in the middle of winter. We were able to get a booth at the trade show and luckily I had been ordering supplies that all showed in time for us to look like an established going business. Since the ferry was running, we were able to fly there and did not have to do that drive. (The ferry is hit or miss in the winter in Southeast Alaska).
One of the things I had ordered was aprons. I had envisioned doing cooking classes. I only ordered five aprons to verify quality before getting more. So, they all said “Spice Mama.” Eventually, I had planned to order “Spice Papa” aprons too.
As fate would have it, the aprons were ready in time for the trade show and we had the manufacturer fed-ex them to Anchorage. Being only a three week old business, we had not established anything other than creating and naming our spice blends. But at the trade show, the gift shops visiting our booth started defining our business. It was at this trade show where I became known as “Spice Mama,” because of the aprons.
The whole Spice Mama character just took off and took on a life all her own. As we branched out and added Maine Spice Shop to our line up, we decided to put both Alaska and Maine Spice Shops under the Spice Mama umbrella.
I’m in Maine right now working on the Maine Spice Shop and doing research for a Best of Guide for Fried Clams. My writer/editor of 32 years, Barbara Sleeper, is flying in on Saturday and she has planned a very busy week visiting the best of places. We’ll be keeping you updated on what we’re learning along the way.