Five years ago, Howard University alum Angel Gregorio was working as an assistant principal. She walked past a vacant retail space and immediately was struck with the idea to open a spice shop. Even despite having no savings, business plan, or experience running a commercial space, Gregorio boldly secured her dreams of being a food entrepreneur. Fast forward to today, and she’s living her dreams as a full-time spice boss.

Today, her company The Spice Suite carries over 104 spice blends made from ingredients that Gregorio travels around the world to find. Each month, The Spice Suite’s cult following gets an alert for when the month’s new spice box goes on sale. Orders usually sell out in five minutes or less, and you’ll never be able to get the same spice mix twice. The only other way to get your hands on Gregorio’s mouthwatering seasonings, hot sauces, and syrups is to travel to her Washington D.C. shop…and that’s the way she wants to keep it.

“My tribe of customers have been relentless in their support of me and The Spice Suite,” Gregorio told ESSENCE exclusively. “Its been absolutely amazing. And fortunately, this is a time where everybody’s at home having to cook way more than they wanted to. They’re tired of making salmon the same old way. A lot of first-time customers tell me, ‘I’m really bored with this chicken and I need something to do, so what do you have?'”

Not only do Gregorio’s unique and versatile spice blends generate lines of people…they’ve also piqued the interest of singer Kelis. The artist-turned-chef owns a sauce line called Bounty & Full, which will be joining forces with The Spice Suite in July 2020 for the ultimate collaboration box.

“Kelis found me on Instagram, we were DMing, and then we got on the call and just vibed,” Gregorio says of how the collaboration came to be. “We talked through a collaboration box together, what we were going to put in it, we were going to do an Instagram live to announce it late June.”

To get your hands on Gregorio and Kelis’s upcoming spice release, follow her on Instagram for alerts about when the sale will commence. You can always sign up for her email newsletter on

If you’re ever curious about how to incorporate The Spice Suite’s blends into your cooking, Gregorio’s digital cookbook, The Little Black SpiceBook, offers a wealth of recipes and ideas. Let’s get cooking!

Speaking of Kelis…check out her segment on ESSENCE’s Yes, Girl! podcast where she dishes on cooking advice for novice chefs.

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