Hi Tina. So let’s start with where you are originally from & how long have you lived in town? Please tell us about your family.
I was born in Detroit, MI and lived there for a few years before moving to Ohio. Since moving to Ohio I’ve lived in Lakewood, Westlake & Bay Village. Our children are Amelia, 4, Fady, 2, and we are preparing for our third child due in February.
What are some of your favorite things to do with your kids?
I love reading to our kids. It’s my favorite time of the day when we all wind down with a few books. I also love taking them to Lebanon to see our family there. Amelia has gone with us twice and Fady for the first time last summer.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Probably my taste in music!
I have to know – what kind of music do you enjoy?!
What are some of your favorite things about NE Ohio?
I love Northeast Ohio. There are so many family activities here and programs for children. There is something different to do every weekend.
Please tell us about Terranean Herbs! Why did you start it and how did you know this is what you wanted to do?
I am very passionate about my Lebanese background, culture, heritage, and food. I’ve also learned a lot about food and the food business through my role as the former marketing director for Aladdin’s Eatery restaurants and my website YourLebanon.com and instagram community @YourLebanon. These experiences and passion for our cuisine and food led me to launch my Za’atar company Terranean Herbs and Spices in December 2019.
I wanted to fill a void in the American marketplace for this traditional Middle Eastern spice. My product line does this by creating an authentic product that is attractive to consumers. I wanted to provide a high quality, authentic product, similar to what I grew up enjoying.
I launched my online store in December of 2019, and my products are currently being carried for sale at all Ohio Heinen’s Grocery Stores, all of The Olive Scene shops, Chuppa’s Market Place, all NE Ohio Aladdin’s Eatery, Taza Lebanese Grill, Sittoo’s and Boaz Cafe restaurants, Dave’s Fresh Pasta, Astoria, Vita Urbana, Cocky’s bagel, with more locations in line for 2021. As I grow the company, I hope to expand my za’atar sourcing to women from my Lebanese village.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
The Cleveland community is incredible. Always willing to try new things and spread the word when they do, especially if it’s for a small business. Za’atar is an herb and blend that most are not familiar with and we have had many people try it for the first time and share it with their family and friends. Early support from local businesses like Chuppa’s Marketplace and The Olive Scene has also helped spread our reach to more people.
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start their own business?
My advice for hopeful entrepreneurs and business owners is to seek out mentorship. Find someone who has accomplished what you are attempting and consult with them. I am especially thankful for the mentors I turned to for guidance while launching my business.
If you are a woman entrepreneur and qualify, I would recommend applying for certification as a women owned business. The Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is a great resource to be a part of and opens doors to networking opportunities and special business opportunities.
What’s your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment as a new small business owner is getting my products into Heinen’s. My za’atar twice baked pita chips and spicy za’atar twice baked pita chips are available at all 19 Ohio Heinen’s locations!
What was your biggest failure?
My business is fairly new. It has been just shy of one year since I launched the online shop TerraneanHerbs.com. Since launching, the biggest issue I’ve encountered is COVID-19. The pandemic resulted in significant delays and backorders on materials I need to package my products. In hindsight, I could have ordered materials in larger quantities at the start of the pandemic so I wouldn’t run into backorder and fulfillment delays. I’m learning!
How do you juggle being a working mom?
I have to prioritize. Every morning after I get the kids ready, I fit in 10 minutes to write out my to-do list for the day. This includes everything from what needs to be done for the kids, the household, and work. On Sunday I do the same for the entire week, everything from planning for activities for the week, to meal-prep, and scheduling the bigger work tasks I need to accomplish. I only have help part of the week to run out to the office and the facility, so I make the most of that time by planning efficiently. It is of course a huge help to have such a supportive husband, family and friends!
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
I hope that in 10 years from now everyone has za’atar in their homes, as they do with other kitchen and pantry staples.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
My husband, parents and sister of course, but I am thankful for everyone who ever helped with my kids, especially in the first few months after birth. Whether it was watching them for an hour so I could run out to an appointment, bringing food, visiting, offering advice…the list goes on. I am appreciative of my family and friends who stepped in every chance they could.