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Community Highlights: Meet Rose Essiem of The Welle Made Co.

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rose Essiem.

Hi Rose, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I come from a long line of farmers and food entrepreneurs who for generations have grown, harvested, and processed their own produce, millets, and spices in Ghana and the U.S. As a child, I watched closely as my grandmother picked moringa, jute leaves, and other superfoods from our garden and cooked them down into delicious soups and stews. As a teen, I was my mother’s sous chef for years as she operated her own catering business. Food has always been the center of my world, and in many ways, I’ve always known that I would return to the culinary world.

I launched The Welle Made Co. during the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic to celebrate two generous and audacious people – my grandparents, Fatima and Abudu Beacher Welle. Together, they taught me the importance of preserving culture and cultivating community, and they embodied these values often in how they brought our tightly-knit family together through food. Their example ignited my curiosity around leveraging food as a tool to convene and connect people. To date, we’ve served our delicious handcrafted pastries to customers nationwide through our partnership with Goldbelly and in our local market.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Starting the business during the height of the global pandemic was no small feat. I’m grateful for the tremendous support my community of friends and family provided during that time, but their support did not shield me from the challenges that would follow during such an uncertain time. Building a team with trustworthy and skilled people was tough, the global supply chain was (and continues to be) in shambles, cost of goods were on the rise, and many of the traditional places like farmers markets and events where I would have been able to sell my products to a broader consumer audience were shut down. These were just a few of the challenges I faced very early on.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about The Welle Made Co.?
The Welle Made Co. is a Ghanaian-American micro bakery based in the DC area. We offer savory, artisanal baked goods inspired by Ghana’s rich culture and heritage. From empanadas to calzones to pasties, just about every culture has some sort of hand pie on its short list of beloved comfort foods, and we’re introducing consumers to our sublime hand pies. Each pie is carefully hand-crafted, filled with fresh ingredients and robust flavors, and then baked until they are golden brown. Our pastries offer the perfect bite – flaky and buttery on the outside and delectable and juicy on the inside.

One of my proudest moments has been introducing one of the most iconic Ghanaian foods to consumers nationwide. Through storytelling, sharing my family’s rich history, and a commitment to creating pastries that are inspired by Ghana, consumers nationwide are now more knowledgeable about West African culture and cuisine. As a result, there are now more consumers across the nation who are familiar with my country of birth and can make meaningful connections with their own cultures. For many, purchasing a plane ticket and landing on the shores of Ghana might never become a reality, and so I am elated to be able to expose them to a new world with one simple hand pie.

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Image Credits
Personal photo Forever Green Branding https://forevergreenbranding.com/ Credit for Product Photos Melena S. DeFlorimonte M. Shonell Photograpy http://mshonellphoto.com/

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