women / Women in Business

Woman in Business Interview with Smita Daya

Meet Smita DayaOwner – OLEA OLIVA! of Marietta, Georgia –  This month’s Woman in Business Interview

Tell us about your business …

Olea Oliva! is a Gourmet Spices, Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar taproom with a focus on health and wellness. At the beginning of 2015, I was searching to find the right business to start that would allow me work to take care of my family. My husband, Dilip and I travelled to various countries over a period of several months to do some research on spices and olive oils. It became clear to us while travelling that we wanted to create a business where our customers know that when they buy an Extra Virgin Olive Oil from us, they are getting exactly that – the highest quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, made with attention, care and love from preferred handpicked olive groves. With a family-oriented community, and an appreciation for health and good taste, it seemed to be a perfect setting for a gourmet super spices, olive oil & vinegar taproom.

So, both Dilip and I decided to get certified in our areas of expertise. Dilip, is a certified Olive Oil Sommelier from University of California-Davis at Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Sciences, together with over 10 years of experience from Florence, Italy with the Calamai family. In addition, he is also an Industrial Chemist. I hold a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and eCornell. It was very important for us to get certified.

Our passion is sharing our spices, oils and balsamic vinegars with you and getting people excited about cooking. With two daughters and a business to run we know how hard it is to plan freshly cooked, flavorful healthy meals every day. For us, these spices, oils and balsamic vinegars have changed the way we eat! Our products make creating flavorful and healthy family meals easy and fun.

I love to partner with the community and local business owners and help empower individuals to make sound healthy choices. We offer healthy cooking workshops in the store and private venues. I have been blessed to share my passion for healthy cooking at the local wellness centers, senior centers, fitness centers, YMCA’s and Churches. Community development and partnering with local businesses is very important for Olea Oliva!

Please tell us what being a business owner means to you and why you became an entrepreneur in the first place?

After having worked in corporate for over 25 years, I decided it was time to follow my true passion for healthy eating. It was not an easy decision but I felt it was the right time. Living and travelling abroad has allowed us to explore the finest in savory spices and seasonings, gourmet oils, and balsamic vinegars from home, charming ourselves and our daughters along the way. Now a family tradition, every home-cooked meal incorporates different oils and spices, enticing our taste buds with exciting new flavors.

My passion is to bring that same experience in the store and in the workshops I do. I love to bring out the creativity to any dish I prepare. I am passionate about learning new ideas and discovering new things. I want to bring meaning to my business and offer services to make this world a better place.

What or who has been your greatest influence in business and why?

My father, who taught me how to run a business at a very young age of 18. Always giving me strength and courage to fulfill my goals and face my fears. Love you, Dad, for always challenging me to do my best!

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Authoring my new cook book – “An Odyssey of Flavors”.

What’s the best advice you have received in business that you wish to pass on to our readers?

Believe in yourself! Work hard. Enjoy what you do! Know what you are capable of and have faith in your capabilities! Do what you do best!

What has been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote your business?

Hands down, it has been word of mouth and reaching out to my local community partners and do community development! I also send out my monthly workshop schedules to my database email list. We love to work with local markets, wineries and do pop-ups.

What one thing have you learned as a small business owner that has served you well over the years?

Create your own unique identity in your niche market and really enjoy what you are doing!  Remember this is why you started your business. I differentiate myself from others by offering healthy cooking workshops on how to use super spices with Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Balsamics by boosting flavors while maintaining high nutrition in a dish. My customers want to learn more on how to “Eat better, not less”. They want to be able to go home and provide their family with the healthier options. Our focus is to share our passion with you in our store and online as we promote a food culture driven by nutrition, education, and excitement. This is very gratifying to see!

Do you have any new projects coming up (or have you just completed a big project ~ reached a milestone, etc.)?  

I just released my first cook book – “An Odyssey of Flavors”!!! I am looking forward to authoring another cook book in the next year, and start teaching at culinary schools!

What do you do for fun/relaxation?

I love to travel to different countries and spend time with my family! I love to cook! I am an early riser and start my day with “me-time” and work out for an hour. This sets the tone for the rest of the day.

What is Number One Business Goal you plan to accomplish over the next year?

To author my second cook book focused on: Kids Cook Book and Nutrition.

In a world where fast food and convenient foods devoid of nutrients have become the norm, we feel that offering kids and parents simple and quick cooking tools and techniques is more important than ever for a healthy lifestyle.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Believe in yourself! Work hard. Enjoy what you do! Sending you Peace, Love and Veggies!!

What’s the best way for the readers of WE Magazine for Women to connect with you?

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