Lily Bond has always been passionate about food. When she was just 13 years old and too young to get a ‘real’ job, she capitalized on her culinary curiosity to found Spyce Girlz, a business specializing in gluten-free, all-natural spice blends. Six years later, she shares her success story and plans for the future.
Have you always been interested in food?
Oh yes! My mom and I are very close and absolutely obsessed with food. We have always enjoyed trying different restaurants and focusing our travels around food tourism. Plus, we like to make our meals at home from scratch — including tapping our trees for maple syrup and raising chickens, both of which gave me a greater appreciation as a young child for the process of sustainable living. A favourite food ritual that began early in my life and continues to this day is homemade pancakes, topped with our own maple syrup, of course. And when the pandemic hit, with all that was going on in the world, I really came to understand how the preparation of food can give so much joy and comfort. For me it’s now a real stress reliever and very satisfying.
What prompted you to start Spyce Girlz six years ago?
The idea came to me when I realized there were not a lot of great seasoning blends out there. I wanted to offer something fresher and healthier, so I made a taco spice mix because I have always been a big fan of Taco Tuesdays. I started selling the blend at farmers’ markets, then a grocery store contacted me wanting to carry the product. Things have just grown from there — I have almost two dozen retailers now and an ever-increasing line of spice blends.
How do you decide what blends to produce?
The lineup has expanded in part based on what we were into eating at home — that’s definitely the case with my pizza seasoning. The latest product which launched this fall is Sunday Dinner seasoning, which is comforting, traditional and delicious — it really takes a meal to the next level. Because food trends are always evolving, I see the Spyce Girlz line as continually growing.
What plans or hopes do you have for Spyce Girlz?
It may have started as a hobby, but as the business grew, I could see it could be something big, so my dreams grew too. I want to take it all the way, and it would be incredible to see it in stores across North America and in everyone’s homes.
Can you tell us about delaying going to university to focus on your business?
I was accepted into the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University but deferred for a year and then declined admission because I knew I would have regrets if I put the brakes on things now, particularly when the business has grown so much over the past year. I will go to university at some point, but probably part time so I can keep running the business.
In the meantime, how are you honing your business skills?
I’m currently participating in the League of Innovators accelerator lab, which is a national, virtual program for young entrepreneurs. I am making tons of great connections across the country and learning so many concrete things that will help me grow my business. I love that it is very practical and relevant and that lots of successful food businesses have graduated from the program.
Any tips for people who are looking to spice up their own holiday meals?
First off, it’s great to support local and spice blends make great Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers, plus Spyce Girlz ships across Canada. Think about Sunday Dinner seasoning for turkey dinner; it will add a delicious level of complexity to the flavour of the meat, vegetables and gravy. I’d also recommend my Montreal steak spice for roast beef or beef Wellington, my pizza seasoning on potatoes and my ‘everything bagel’ seasoning in scrambled eggs.
What are you most looking forward to making and eating this holiday season?
We have lots of traditions — things like homemade Scotch eggs and Lindor truffles on Christmas morning; we also like to enjoy panettone which we usually purchase at a specialty food shop. We spend all day together cooking a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and we plan to top things off with homemade salted caramel cheesecake.