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Conversations with Jelece Morris

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jelece Morris.

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today. You can include as little or as much detail as you’d like.
As a recent Wharton MBA graduate, the concepts of business have become a part of my everyday life. I can’t help but see the opportunity to solve problems and make processes more efficient. As COVID-19 began to bring the world to a halt, it really challenged me to push my creative mindset to the limits – in order to stay encouraged and to make the best of a very debilitating situation. Catching up with my best friend from college, Suzanne Delica, proved to be good for the soul and for business. Sharing our vision boards and parked business ideas led us to the uplifting powers of food and culture. After months of refinement, development, and sampling of what we believed to be an authentic yet modern representation of our culinary roots, we put our seasoning blend in the hands of some of our best critics, Jamaicans and Haitians. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the concept and made a few minor tweaks to intensify the flavors until one day we both looked at each other and said “This is the one!” Out of those developments birthed our flagship product Taíno Spice, a Caribbean infused all-purpose seasoning made for just about everything. We launched the handcrafted blend on November 20, 2020, and we’re so impressed with the immediate orders and excitement we’ve received thus far. We’re just getting started and eager to bring to the world the goodness of Caribbean culture with a modern twist.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Entering a new industry provided quite the learning curve, coupled with building a business with a partner virtually during a pandemic. I quickly learned, although cliché, effective communication is key! Leveraging technology such as video conferencing and cloud-based collaborative applications have become essential tools to keep us productive and on the same page. To go from a concept to a launched product in 5 months speaks volumes of our working relationship. While our team is quite agile in growing a business in a virtual environment, perhaps the biggest hurdle has been understanding the various dynamics of disrupting the food industry. The deeper we dive into the food market, the more we’re learning that these hurdles are simply challenges necessary to vet our business concept. All in all, our multi-talented team is very passionate and accustomed to mobilizing quickly to attain our goals. I think we’ll be alright!

We’d love to learn more about your work. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of? What sets you apart from others?
I am most proud of launching a brand rooted in tradition and unity. As a Jamaican-American, many of the life milestones I’ve celebrated with family and friends highlighted my Caribbean culture as the centerpiece, be it through food, dance, or music. These elements are core to many Caribbean islands and a stimulus for the creation of BoCa Flavor. We want to bring that feeling of celebration through food into the lives of more people. BoCa Flavor takes a modern approach to traditional Caribbean seasoning, fusing staple ingredients from the islands to bring everyday blends to liven up your kitchen. What sets us apart from what currently exists in the market is that we use all-natural, native ingredients core to most island foods and craft blends reminiscent of what our Mothers used to make a soulful feast. Our blends take the Caribbean flavor profile beyond curry and jerk and unveil the depth and breadth of what makes the Caribbean so unique.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources that help you do your best in life (at work or otherwise)?
Books

  • Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by by Samin Nosrat
  • The Lean Startup Book by Eric Ries
  • Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Podcasts

  • Side Hustle Pro by Nicaila Matthews Okome
  • The Michelle Obama Podcast
  • Journey to Launch Post
  • Mary and Martha Podcast
  • Therapy for Black Girls

Contact Info:

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