On Christmas Day in 2012, me and mum were sat at the kitchen table. She shared with me that she was keen to have a project and something to keep her busy after being retired for five years. And, if you know my mum, you’ll realise there is NO WAY she could fully retire, she’s got WAY too much energy!
I’ve no idea where the idea came from, but I suggested that she might enjoy selling spice tins. She had spent her life lovingly cooking with spices (and gifting blends to family and friends who raved about them), and it seemed to be the perfect thing that she could do as a hobby and definitely something she would love. Mum’s vast knowledge of spices, her heritage growing up in Kenya and India cooking for the family, is the foundation on which everything we do is built.
We sat together and made a Masala Dabba tin that afternoon and listed it on eBay. To our complete surprise, the tin sold the next day, and Spice Kitchen was born! We never set out to make money or even create a business, but that silly little idea over a decade ago has changed our lives.
The sari story
We have become pretty famous for our signature Indian Spice Tin, and right at the beginning of our journey Mum decided to sew recycled silk saris to ‘dress’ the tins beautifully.
To this day, our customers tell us that this detail makes our products super special. Mum now employs a team of seamstresses who help her to make the saris, and she’s always conscious of hiring people who are socially disadvantaged and who might struggle to find work elsewhere. This is just one of the ways she is truly an extraordinary human.
When we were just starting out, I started small and pitched up at Altrincham Market with a makeshift sign and some wooden tables, selling tins and serving mulled wine, often in freezing conditions. Spice Kitchen has come so far since those days!
We began to push further afield, attending the BBC Good Food Show and were approached to appear on the Hairy Bikers. Me and mum were asked to cook for the CEO of eBay and his team, and from there, things just mushroomed! We won several industry awards, including the prestigious Gift of the Year and the Great Taste Awards for our family Garam Masala recipe.
Then, as things started to really take off, we found our first little manufacturing space in Cheshire. We expanded our product range from our flagship Indian Spice Tin into Middle Eastern, World, International Chilli, Moroccan and Gin Botanicals collections. I even created a special range of spice blends for babies called Baby Spice Kitchen after seeing how well my daughter Zara responded to new flavours.
We were truly fortunate to continue to be open throughout the pandemic, and as people started to cook more from home, lots of new customers found us as they were keen to experiment with spices. Because Spice Kitchen has always been about sharing mine and mum’s love of cooking at home, it was the perfect chance for us to develop loads of recipes to help inspire people to cook amazing meals while in lockdown.
The present day
In 2021, we moved to a larger office and warehouse space in Liverpool, and this has really completed the dream as we can support so many more of our lovely customers. I’m doing what I can to make a difference in the world in the small ways I can, essentially trying to follow in mum’s footsteps… All of the staff who work with us receive a fair/living wage, and I’m also super passionate about helping young people, and we’ve been giving work opportunities to those struggling to find work via the government’s Kickstart Programme.
During all of this, the team started to grow bigger and stronger, and without them, I know none of this could have been possible.
I’m always so humbled by how much people love what we do… and every day when I open the doors, I am grateful that I get to do something so amazing. It’s literally a dream come true.
Grounded in strong ethical and community values, we believe in giving back to the causes that matter to us.
Here are some of the incredible organisations that receive support through the purchase of products we sell at Spice Kitchen.
Karma Curry 2022
We sponsor the AMAZING Karma Curry Movement who are working hard to tackle human trafficking in India.
Karma Curry invites people around the world to take positive action to help others. In Hinduism and Buddhism, good karma or luck is believed to result from a person’s actions. Karma Curry brings individuals together to share good karma with those who need it most and to help transform the lives of young survivors of human trafficking.
A homeless and housing charity close to Spice Kitchen Headquarters in Liverpool that helps people who are sleeping rough, living in hostels or struggling to maintain their housing situation.
By donating our spices to food parcels and sharing knowledge about how to make flavoursome food from simple ingredients we are hoping to help build skills and make a difference locally.
Curry for Change
A fundraising organisation that harnesses people’s love of curry to help change the lives of rural families in Asia and Africa who suffer from hunger. When someone wishes to host a fundraising event as part of a Curry for Change night, we are happy to donate the spices!
We are so honoured to be able to support the work of this incredible charity. Akshaya Patra are working to support children in education with free a free meal at lunchtime, so they can choose their schooling over working to feed themselves.
For every spice tin we sell, we donate enough to buy one school meal for a child in education in India. Just by buying one of our spice tins, you are contributing to a massive wave of support that is making a real and genuine difference to the lives of so many young people.