Lily Bond is spicing up even more customers’ kitchens with her locally-made seasoning blends after inking a deal with Farm Boy – the first contract with a retail chain for the 19-year-old and one she hopes will spur even more growth for her business.
Spyce Girlz products landed on Farm Boy shelves this month in what Bond called “a perfect fit” for her business, which offers “better-for-you, better-tasting” blends of spices and seasonings.
Guided by her mom and mentor Audrey, who is also an entrepreneur, Bond launched Spyce Girlz at age 13 as a way to earn some extra cash for a school laptop.
“After doing it on the side during high school, Lily knew this was what she wanted to do,” said Audrey. “She’s very fortunate to have figured that out so young.”
The younger Bond has catapulted herself into entrepreneurship. When she first launched her online store in 2020 via Shopify, she immediately sold 700 units. Bond has since delayed university to grow Spyce Girlz and completed Invest Ottawa’s Starter Company Plus program.
Now a full-time business owner, she said the deal with Farm Boy is “a pinch-me moment” that is setting Spyce Girlz on a path to even greater success.
After first making contact with Farm Boy in May, Bond said getting her business ready for retail was “absolutely crazy.” Whether she was redesigning packaging and finding new suppliers or securing insurance, Bond said the last few months have been “a lot.”
In an interview with OBJ last year, Bond said Farm Boy was her ideal grocery partner, and she maintains that the Ontario retailer that originally made its name in Ottawa is “where we need to be.”
“It’s where our target demographic and clients are,” Bond explained. “Once we figured out who we were selling to, we figured out they were at Farm Boy. I’d be selling at farmer’s markets, and our customers would be carrying the Farm Boy bags.
“We knew that that was where our people were.”
Bond appears to be on to something.
In the few weeks that Farm Boy has been carrying Spyce Girlz products – with spices ranging from a rim mix for bloody caesars to the “cult-favourite” taco seasoning – and sales of the colourful blends are skyrocketing, she said.
“It’s already very in-demand, so we’ve been trying to make more spices, also working on a bit of a marketing push, both marketing with Farm Boy and internal marketing on social media, and all that good stuff,” she explained. “So it’s a lot on the go.”
Aside from a few contracted employees to assist with packaging, Spyce Girlz has mostly been a “one-woman show,” but Bond said she is planning to begin hiring for both packaging and marketing positions to keep up with rising demand.
Spyce Girlz will also start doing in-person demos in Farm Boy stores to greet customers face-to-face.
Watching her daughter navigate this “journey” has been “one of my greatest joys,” added Lily’s proud mom, who is founder and CEO of information management startup Vaultt. “I’m constantly impressed with her dedication and passion.”
The real boost, though, comes from landing this first contract with a retail chain. Spyce Girlz products are already found in some independently-owned grocery stores, but Bond said the deal with Farm Boy will pave the way for similar contracts and allow Spyce Girlz to keep expanding.
“I think what’s really great with landing one retail contract is if things go well, the others will jump on board, and people are already interested,” she said. “You get one, and then it’s so much easier to get the other, so this is just setting us up on a path to success.”
Considering both this contract and potential future ones, Bond predicts Spyce Girlz will break $500,000 in revenue this fiscal year and possibly hit a million dollars in sales the following year. At her young age, Bond said the deal “is everything.”
“Every entrepreneur knows it takes one person to believe in you, and one person to say, ‘OK, kid, let’s try you out,’” she said. “It validates what you’re doing.
“This has completely transformed my business. It’s life-changing.”