If the phrase “seed-based snack” doesn’t make your mouth water, you’re forgiven. But Bija Bhar, from founder Anjali Bhargava, will change your mind. Her Decadent Energy Crunch is a sweet, crunchy afternoon pick-me-up that has the addictive qualities of a bag of chips despite being made with sesame seeds, coconut, cacao nibs, chia seeds and other health-food staples. It’s not her only product, either. Her Sweet Resilience blend of turmeric, ginger and lemon is delicious hot or cold—and helps with the gnarliest hangovers (I would know). She makes her products, which you can buy online or at shops around town, at Brooklyn FoodWorks in Bed-Stuy.
What inspired you to start your business?
My own frustrations with snack products were what really made me appreciate the potential of my Decadent Energy recipe the day I concocted it for myself back in 2013. The lightbulb was lit and within 24 hours the seeds had taken firm root. Pun intended. I was a freelance photographer with a schedule that was always changing and it made taking care of myself a serious challenge. Eating well, such a basic need, should not be so hard to figure out. My work has always been about empowerment and this felt like such a powerful way I could empower the most people to live their lives to the best.
Why is Brooklyn still a great place for small business owners?
Brooklyn is a place where the melting pot thrives in a really inspiring way. People in Brooklyn appreciate and seek out diversity and inspiration from new sources, especially when it comes to food. There are those in the world who strip the creativity and inspiration from business but that is definitely not the Brooklyn way.
Where do you want to see your business in the next three years?
Everywhere people are pushing themselves and their own limits, I want my products available to support them! That may take more than three years, but I’d like to be well on the way.
I want to find ways to facilitate getting higher quality food to children and to our homeless who are often only served the least nutritious, most processed “food.”
I have recipes and ideas for many more minimally processed, nutrient-dense, delicious products that I can’t wait to add to my offerings and I hope many of those will be available to the world in the next few years.
Who are the other local makers you admire?
The couple behind Momo Dressing were my first food friends and are still two of the loveliest people I’ve met in Brooklyn. Their Edamame Dip is one of the tastiest things in the world and it’s full of the love and care that they pour into everything they make!
The women at Liddabit Sweet are some inspiring ladybosses; I have been so motivated by seeing the way they have grown their business and am very grateful for the support they’ve given me and Bija Bhar.
The list of great makers I’ve already met in my months at Brooklyn Foodworks is long and strong. It’s amazing to share kitchen space with so many authentic, motivated creative makers who are hustling everyday to make better products available to the world. There is serious magic happening there and I’m psyched to be a part of it.
Where can we find your products?
Online at bijabhar.com and farmtopeople.com. Around Brooklyn at The Greene Grape, Chelsea Market Baskets, Taste NY, Pulse Laser & Skincare Center, Wave Hill and the Industry City Store by Wanted Design; Pfizer Building folks can pick some up from the coffee cart at Brooklyn FoodWorks! New locations are coming soon and will be posted to @bijabhar on Instagram and Twitter and to facebook.com/bijabhar.