How A Woman Drives A Spicy Business In Switzerland

Dec 12, 2019 | Cantons | 0 comments

Tania is a business woman from Kloten with a big heart for the less fortunate. She runs a spice-producing company and distributes herbs through more than 50 retailers in Switzerland as well as online.

She told to SUISSEPIC how WÜRZMEISTER was transformed from a hobby to a successful enterprise. And the role love played in this story.

Photo: Tania Woodhatch

SUISSEPIC: What do you do?

Tania: I am the co-founder and CEO of WÜRZMEISTER, a social enterprise based in Kloten. I am in charge of almost all issues apart from the spice mix production. We have provided a commercial apprenticeship (KV-Lehrstelle) to a 19-year old who has previously broken off two earlier apprenticeships and who also has a very difficult family situation.

During our working day we are supported by about 6-8 people with severe psychological or physical problems. We work and live in our flat and these people appreciate the relaxed family atmosphere. The production of the spice mixes takes place in the basement  but labelling and packaging is done in our flat.

SUISSEPIC: What sparked off the idea for your business?

Tania: My husband was unable to work due to a severe accident he had when he was 19 and had been in social institutions ever since (for 17 years). He loves cooking and spices, so we thought it could be a nice hobby for him, something where he could be creative and his own master.

We never actually planned to start a company. He just started grinding spices and mixing them and giving them away – everyone just loved them and asked, if they could buy them somewhere. As he never worked and does not have a lot of business-knowledge, that is where I came in. I have always loved to give people a chance in life especially those who did not seem to fit in anywhere.

SUISSEPIC: What do you produce and how do you distribute?

Tania: We produce more than 50 different spice mixtures (from herbs, curry’s, spicy mixtures etc.) in a very stylish design. Meanwhile more than 50% of our turnover is B2B, many companies in Switzerland buy our spices as a gift for their customers or employees (we have many different branding options).

Photo: Tania Woodhatch

SUISSEPIC: What brought you to Switzerland?  

Tania: I was born in England, my family decided to move to Switzerland when I was 5 years old. My father is English, my mother is half Norwegian and a bit Swiss and German, so I am quite a “cocktail”

SUISSEPIC: What does success mean to you? 

Tania: When the people who come to us in order to get more stable and increase their self-esteem say, that they feel “at home” and “comfortable” with us, need less medication, sleep better, manage to cope better with stress etc. And of course, having happy customers, who love our spices, appreciate our social commitment and recommend us, also pleases me very much.

Photo: Tania Woodhatch

SUISSEPIC: How do you develop and set goals?

Tania: Business-wise I just know that we need to grow more for me to have a living wage some day. In 2015 I initiated a brainstorming-event with a branding/strategy expert as well as some friends and people I appreciate for their different know-hows. After that I met the expert twice more to fine-tune everything. That has been my guideline ever since. I do not have short-term goals only long-term ones and also act sort of “naturally” towards them. This way we have had a strong growth over the last few years, mostly 15-25%, this year is one of the strongest growths we have experienced so far.

SUISSEPIC: What geographical area does your business serve?

Tania: We have an online-shop as well as around 50 retailers in the whole of Switzerland who sell our spices. We export to Germany (one partner has an online-shop for all of Germany). We do not export to other countries (yet).

SUISSEPIC: What is your favorite Swiss city and why?

I once lived in Basel, I loved it there, so multicultural and “small” somehow. Nice to be so close to the German and French Borders.

Inspiring women of Switzerland and Swiss border areas. Talented expats and Swiss citizens who change the world running their business, creating art, working for corporations, coaching, holding events. Happy moms, wifes, girlfriends who light up the world with creativity and beauty.

Read about Fempreneurs in Switzerland