Meet Emily Avonya Jefferson who had a severe reaction to a medication that almost took her life when she was 16. She was hospitalized for several days due to this reaction. Her road to recovery was long, in which she had to go through physical therapy to help her walk again as well as speech therapy. Today, she is the 23-year-old owner of Avonya’s Blends, a Black-owned brand of unique seasonings that are all-natural, low-sodium, and contain no artificial preservatives or anti-caking agents.
She launched this company in April 2020 after a year of research and development. A few years ago, Emily started having allergic reactions to a number of diﬀerent seasoning blends, but she didn’t know what she was allergic to because they didn’t list all of their ingredients on their labels. They only listed two or three ingredients followed by the word “spices.” Because she is a major foodie and loves to cook, this created a challenge for her as this limited the number of things she could use to season her food. From this problem, a lightbulb went oﬀ and the company was born.
Emily launched Avonya’s Blends with two signature seasonings. The first is Annie’s Season-All which is named after and inspired by her late grandmother Annie Mae Carlton, who she says used to season all on almost every dish she made. The second seasoning is Sentry’s Seafood Seasoning which is named after her late father James “Sentry” Dixon. He was a commercial fisherman who knew all things seafood and is where Emily believes she gets her love for cooking.
Her company prides itself in having high quality seasoning blends, but also having integrity and transparency, so we list all of our ingredients on the labels so you know exactly what it is that you’re eating. The first year and a half of business consisted of Emily hand bottling all seasonings herself, but after securing a manufacturer in mid 2021 who was able to mass-produce her seasonings, she landed a deal with Lowes Foods grocery store. This southeastern grocery chain has stores throughout both North Carolina and South Carolina.