A Long Island food startup will be headed to Hollywood this weekend when one of its bestselling products makes an appearance in the highly sought-after Oscar gift bags.
Gourmet Ghee Co., a Lynbrook maker of ghee – a type of clarified butter originating from Indian cuisine – was contacted by organizers for the star-studded event last fall. On Sunday, jars of one of the company’s bestselling flavors, Black Truffle, will be given to attendees of the award show and the after-party.
Giving high-value gift bags to nominated directors and actors has long been a tradition at the Oscars and similar awards shows. The bags often contain big-ticket items and a collection of beauty products, and this year's swag bags are expected to include a variety of cannabis-infused edibles and skin care products.
“This is our second year in business, and it's overwhelming and wonderful,” Nazia Aibani-DeFrank, chief executive and founder of Gourmet Ghee, said Friday. “It was out of nowhere. We were just found on social media.”
Aibani-DeFrank, who worked in television for 20 years prior to launching her business, said social media platforms like Instagram have played a big part in growing her brand.
The return on investment from social media marketing “has been amazing,” she said, adding that “just using the proper hashtag is so important ... A post is very powerful.”
The company's ghee, which can be used in place of traditional butter or oil in cooking, comes in flavors including roasted garlic, Celtic sea salt and toasted almond. It sells for $14 to $18 for a 9-ounce jar.
Gourmet Ghee sells its products to actor Hugh Jackman’s Laughing Man Coffee shop in Manhattan, as well as on Amazon, Shopify and TheKnot.com. Aibani-DeFrank has gotten her ghee flavors into the hands of celebrities, producers and athletes. The company has been featured on the Dr. Oz Show, and Aibani-DeFrank said she expects to be included in gift bags at this year’s Emmys.
A Hofstra grad who moved to the United States from India in 1984, Aibani-DeFrank said the attention and opportunities she’s seen with her business since its launch have been “a blessing.”
“I came over as an immigrant from India, and I’m living the American dream,” she said. “It sounds very cliché, but I’m doing something that a lot of people wish they could do.”