If you shop at Whole Foods, you’ve probably seen Amee Joshi. About once a week, she is at the Preston-Forest location, passing out samples of the handcrafted salsa she began selling two years ago. Her product is called Jalsa, which means “celebration,” “festival” or “fun” in Hindi. It’s an appropriate name, considering the recipe was created by Joshi’s Indian mother-in-law, whose late husband was a connoisseur of spicy food.
“She made it more like you’d make chutney,” Joshi explains. “It just has a different flavor and texture.”
After learning the recipe, Joshi served the salsa at parties and gave it as gifts. For years, her friends encouraged her to sell the stuff, but she worked in global taxation and policy development. Becoming a small business owner wasn’t feasible, given her demanding schedule. Then she had children and took a few years off to raise her sons, both of whom attend St. Mark’s. Instead of returning to corporate America, she decided to bottle her salsa and give it a name. But not before doing some research.
“I spent about a year just understanding what it would take to really launch a brand,” Joshi says. “All the legal requirements. All of that.”
Once she had a firm grasp of the logistics, she began searching for people who could help turn her dream into a reality. She didn’t have to look far. Joshi lives in our neighborhood. That’s where she met John Rubi, a manufacturer of private label goods. Jalsa is bottled at Rubi’s food plant and then adorned with a label that was created by yet another Preston Hollow resident, graphic designer Jennifer Brower.
“The Preston Hollow community has been so supportive of us,” Joshi says. “Our friends in the area have been great.”
Jalsa became available online in 2013. Shortly thereafter, Bolsa Mercado began carrying the product and other retailers quickly followed suit. You can buy a bottle locally from Whole Foods, The Fresh Market and a few independent grocers for $5.49. Joshi hopes to continue expanding, but is more concerned with cultivating a brand known for philanthropy.
“Our objective with Jalsa is really to give back,” she says. “I would love to get to the point where we can donate significant parts of our profits back to our community whether it be local, global or national. I feel like I’m blessed and I have enough. If I have the ability to create something that can help others, I would love to.”
Learn more at getjalsa.com.
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