Alexander Harik started off his career in finance. Then he left it all behind to start a business. With his mom. Using her recipe. Yeah, it’s a pretty cool story.
Zesty Z is the brainchild of founder Alexander Harik, who pitched the idea to his family at the dinner table. They promptly laughed him off before taking him seriously.
But unlike the other ideas he’d dreamt up in the past, the one for Zesty Z stuck.
Here’s how he describes the lightning flash that led to where he is today:
“Why don’t we just take mom’s recipe, change it up a little bit, make it ready made, come up with a cool name, a slogan and tagline. And let’s educate people on how versatile, healthy and awesome za’atar is! And the table goes quiet. No one says anything.”
What the heck is it?
It’s freaking good, for one. And it is versatile. In the WCMT household, we eat it on just about everything: eggs, broccoli, yogurt. I’ll stop there with this list before ish gets weird. The point is, it’s aces.
In more concrete terms, it’s a mix of wild Lebanese thyme, olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and some sesame seeds. BAM! Zesty!
What’d we talk about?
Alexander has a ton of energy and excitement going on in this interview, which made it a blast to talk to him. We chat about starting to make traction, how he came up with the concept for Zesty and what it takes to be an entrepreneur. And Ohio. And kittens.
Just kidding. We don’t talk about kittens. But the show is still totally worth listening to. Pinky swear.
Show notes [times are approximate]:
Alex’s background and upbringing [3.14]
Moving into finance [5.16]
The entrepreneurial spirit [9.12]
What is Zesty Z? [11.12]
Family approval [15.54]
Involving his mother as co-founder [22.24]
Market research [23.23]
Working as a family business [29.34]
Building the business [30.35]
Getting food safety approved [35.21]
Sourcing jars [36.27]
Finding an incubator [39.27]
Pitching to the incubator [46.02]
Trusting your gut [50.58]
Characteristics of entrepreneurs [51.53]
Quitting his full-time job [53.22]
What’s next for Zesty Z? [57.58]