Meet Nikki Azzara. She’s a recent Wakeforest University grad who has become a food entrepreneur. In 2013, having studied marketing and entrepreneurship in college, she decided to combine her passion for health, cooking and business, and created Slender Seven.
Slender Seven is an online recipe book and blog where she shares healthy, gluten free recipes that can be made with seven ingredients or less. Seven ingredients might seem small, but it’s the perfect amount to keep dishes tasty, yet simple. So forget those endless grocery lists, and save your time by trying Nikki’s recipes.
Nikki’s website is colorful and well-organized, giving her readers easy access to a large variety of recipes, including breakfast and veggie dishes, smoothies, salads, sweets and full meals. Be on the lookout for the newest product on the site: eggless, gluten free cookie dough made from chickpeas, which will soon be available in retail locations. It’s dairy free, soy free, peanut free, egg free, and low in sugar. It’s full of fiber, iron, protein and antioxidants, and you can eat it raw or cooked. What’s not to like? Now you might be skeptical of chickpea cookies, but trust us, they taste just like normal cookies. You would never know they were healthy.
Locally based in Washington DC, Nikki gave us insight into her philosophy and goals as a young entrepreneur. Here is what she told us:
How and why did you decide to start this website?
I decided to start the website to combine my passion for cooking and health. I was also in the business school at Wake, so I wanted to start a brand that would evolve in the future. As for the cookies, I was making chickpea cookies at home and I realized it could be a viable product on the market because it capitalizes on health trends. It’s great for anyone because you can eat it even though you’re very health conscious or have allergies, so it’s a versatile product.
Where do you see your business going in the future?
Definitely consumer packaged goods, and that’s why I’m excited that I’m launching this first product. I hope to continue the brand in various ways with new products. I’m hoping that this will start a whole line of products that fit my philosophy, which is “Cook simply, eat healthy, be happy”.
What is your favorite part of being a young entrepreneur?
My favorite part is being able to have the creativity to go so many different ways rather than being confined to a certain set of rules or regulations. I’m the type of person that thrives on having the ability to go any way with my ideas so I think the most rewarding thing has been seeing how much this project has evolved. I’m excited to get to the point where I can start hiring other people and grow the business on a much larger scale.
What has been the most challenging part of this process?
The biggest challenge has been figuring things out on my own because there’s just all these different components that I have to worry about every day. But a larger challenge is just figuring out how to build a following and continue growing the brand.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
It consumes your life, so make sure you’re passionate about it, and also make sure you’re the type of person that can handle not a lot of structure. Know your personality and know your passion. But the other hand, if you have an idea, go for it, because it you don’t, you’ll never know if would work.
Check out Nikki’s website and blog here and get the Slender Seven app so you can have her recipes everywhere you go.