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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Black-Owned Spice Shop in DC is Also a Pop-Up Shop Spot for Other Entrepreneurs

Angel Anderson, founder of The Spice Suite

Angel Anderson, a former educator turned entrepreneur, initially had little to no idea about the business she wanted to open. Despite that, she confidently took the risk and launched The Spice Suite in Washington, DC four years ago. Now, it has grown into a successful business and also a thriving space for other small business owners to sell their products - free of charge!
When Angel happen upon a commercial space for leasing, she had the sudden urge to open a business, particularly a spice shop. She initially didn't know much about spices but with the help of some friends, the shop has been named The Spice Suite, got a logo and a sign, and everything seemed to fall into place.

"Things came together so quickly," she said in an interview with Because of Them We Can.

Everything from there became a continuous learning process for Angel. She was initially buying her spices wholesale before a friend sent her a few spices from Dubai. She thought that those are fresher and different from what she already had available. Since then, she decided to travel at least six to seven times a year to find spices and spice inspirations.

"It's been amazing," said Angel, who already traveled to about 17 countries including Morocco, Egypt, and India to learn more about spices. "I'm like a real life spice girl."

Aside from the business aspect of her spice shop, she also wanted to add the aspect of giving back to her community. So she opened up her space for other small businesses to sell their products free of charge! At first, pop-up shops were only held on the weekends but as demand for her space continued to increase, pop-up shops are now open every day her spice shop is open.

"That is my way of inviting community, my way of paying it forward and just kind of connecting with other dreams who want to share space and ideas," she said.

Moreover, she hosts professional development workshops once a month at her house for the women who do pop-up shops in her store to also help them grow. They were about 20 women, who she calls "spice girls", that ultimately became an essential part of her support system.

"I invest in them and they invest into my space," she said. "So, we have kind of like a barter model where they do pop-ups in my store regularly and then I'm able to get time away from my store. In some ways, it's like I get employees, but they're definitely not employees. They're women who support my store and work there, while I get a day off. We share the space and they don't have to pay anything."

Yes, Angel had to change her business model every once in a while to grow her business moving forward, but she has no regrets over it. In fact, she was thankful she did not let her uncertainty then stop her from starting and she just "start now and perfect later."

"I opened having no idea what the market said about spices," she explained. "But, I opened and since I've been in this space I've been trying to perfect it and build on it."

For more information about The Spice Suite, visit them at 6902 4th Street NW, Washington, DC 20012 or order online at www.thespicesuite.com