“I didn’t pick salt. It picked me.” Linda Syzmanski had been an interior designer for over 30 years when the recession hit in 2008. Most people weren’t spending money on the interiors of their homes and businesses, so she thought she might try online sales. She was inspired by the woman that sold Snuggies online and made $11 million the first year.
At around the same time, the store where she normally purchased her favorite sea salt went out of business. She looked online and discovered many varieties of salt from all over the world. She decided to experiment with selling exotic sea salts and created a sampler with 16 different salts in it. Thus, Salts of the 7 Seas was born.
“It’s quite pretty,” Syzmanski said. “I did the labeling. I did a brochure, posted it on Amazon, and it sold like crazy.”
Salt from Around the World
The salts themselves are sourced from all over the world, including Europe, the Himalayas, Peru, South Africa, South Korea, Iceland and the Kalahari Desert.
“I never dreamed I’d have a business that would touch so many different continents,” Syzmanski said.
During the first year of the business, she received a surprising phone call from the South Korean business development office. They flew her to South Korea to sample the salt there. Syzmanski added the salt from South Korea to her sampler and named it Salt of Heaven because of how beautiful she found the country.
Syzmanski continues to search for new flavorful, mineral-rich sea salts. She recently got a new salt from the Southern Ocean, after The National Geographic Association decided that a body of water near Antarctica was a distinct ocean. Syzmanski is excited to carry sea salt from the Southern Ocean, and her next quest is to find sea salt from Egypt.
Syzmanski has lived in Toledo for the past 25 years.
“I love Toledo,” Syzmanski said. “It’s full of wonderful people, truly wonderful. I think you become very anonymous in a big city, and you don’t feel anonymous here.”
Syzmanski does all the design work, packaging, labeling and brochures. She had to learn how to do all the creative work herself, and loves it. But she particularly enjoys naming the salts.
“Even saying Peruvian salt is not as exciting as Sagrada Rosa Sea Salt,” Syzmanski said. “It’s fun.”
While her business is worldwide in sourcing salt and in sales, Syzmanski keeps as much of the business local as she can. Packaging and shipping are done by a FDA approved company in Toledo, and the glass packaging is from Libbey Glass. She has also updated packaging to include all sustainable materials.
Why Sea Salt?
Syzmanski feels that once you start enjoying the true, natural flavors, you’ll never go back to table salt. She carries the company’s travel salt package with her in her purse everywhere she goes.
Many people don’t realize that table salt is refined. Eighty-four naturally occurring minerals are removed – and often sold separately – and then chemically bleached.
She also sells naturally infused sea salts and peppercorn. Each order comes with descriptions, recommendations and recipes.
Advice on Starting a Business
Syzmanski said she loves working from home. She warns that you need patience, as it can take time for an investment to pay off, and you might not see the money for the first year or two.
She also says that organization and self-discipline are everything.
“You’re hiring people, you’re learning, and you’re also making mistakes, that’s a given,” Syzmanski said. “You dust yourself off and keep on going.”
For more information, visit Salts of the 7 Seas on its website.