The start-up, Just Spices, offers amateur cooks and professional chefs varied and unique taste sensations. It sends the eyes, the nose and the palate off on a journey full of impressions and feelings. With their exotic and indigenous spices and varied spice mixtures, the three company founders Florian Falk, Bela Seebach and Ole Strohschneider have changed a market segment that hitherto had led a rather shadowy existence.
The start-up entrepreneurs came up with the idea for their company during their studies: “Buying spices in the supermarket is still unfortunately like buying socks: everyone needs them. But it is not exactly exciting or emotional.” The three amateur cooks were also annoyed that you always had to buy quite large amounts even if you only wanted to test the spice or only needed a pinch of a certain spice for a dish. They wanted to change all that with their company.
Founder expertise from studies and learning by doing
The young entrepreneurs acquired the theoretical background for their start-up from their International Management studies. All three founders had also gained practical experience from their work for various companies in the catering industry. The rest was learning by doing. That was three years ago. They now offer 120 spices and 80 spice mixtures from all over the world in their online shop and currently sell these to major companies and private customers in eight countries (Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and Spain). They plan to extend the business model to other countries.
Establishing a new company is a process
The founders describe establishing a new company as a process that gradually develops: “With us, it was less about establishing a company and more about the opportunity to realize our own ideas and our vision.” Initially, they financed the venture from their own savings: “That of course means that you think very carefully about how you spend every single euro. It was really tough at the beginning. Particularly because we had to buy products first to be able to sell them,” recalled the three founders.
Learning by exchanging ideas with other start-ups and by making mistakes
They supported each other in this difficult initial period of the start-up. They also exchanged ideas with other start-up entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, there were major and minor setbacks. “We learned a lot by making mistakes. But that is the most important thing when you are founding a new company. Every setback made us stronger. It was and is still important to just keep on going.” Now, the start-up not only has many amateur cooks as customers but also star chefs such as Kojla Kleeberg, restaurateurs, hotels and companies. The young entrepreneurs develop individual spice mixtures for them in their Düsseldorf factory.
Founders: Florian Falk, Bela Seebach and Ole Strohschnieder
Number of employees: 55
Financing: Own capital and investors