Just before leaving a career in corporate sales to focus on her catering business full-time in 2007, Chef Enjolik “Jolié” Oree-Bailey met with a branding expert. When she showed them her original logo, created by a friend skilled in graphic design and featuring her image, the conversation took a turn. The feedback was clear: if you want your company to be as successful as possible, don’t put your face forward.
“I was like, what do you mean? I look pretty good!” Oree-Bailey recalls almost 13 years later. But she understood, and made the decision to launch her Dallas-based catering company, Low Country Quisine, without her image anywhere near the logo or website.
The chef had big plans for Low Country Quisine, though. Her vision involved retail products and cookbooks inspired by the Caribbean, soul food-style recipes that took cues by her childhood in Charleston, as well as ensuring her financial stability for her family’s future generations.
“Plus, you’re going only to be able to stand in the kitchen cooking for 15 hours a day for so long,” Oree-Bailey adds. “But in the back of my mind, I was thinking, I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but as soon as I get to some place of success, I’m putting my face back on my products.”
Cut to 2020. With events and weddings (which comprise about 65 percent of Low Country Quisine’s business) on hold due to the spread of the coronavirus, Oree-Bailey turned to Instagram Live to cook along with fans of her flavorful dishes. Before each live stream, the chef posts a shopping list, which always includes a drink recipe for the “But First a Cocktail” section. Afterward, the recipes — some new and some being shared with the public for the first time — are posted to her Instagram Story.
But Oree-Bailey still had more time on her hands than usual, so she used it to finally sit down and formulate the house seasoning Low Country Quisine had become known for. The end result, A Dab A Do Ya!, features a brand new logo with Oree-Bailey’s face front and center.
“I announced the spice line at the end of one of our Instagram Lives,” Oree-Bailey recalls. “My DMs and Facebook messages were going off all night long. We had over one thousand dollars in sales just in that night.” The reorders, which often include multiple bottles at a time, have been just as impressive.
Though being the face of her brand was always a part Oree-Bailey’s vision, the chef couldn’t have anticipated the cultural moment that dream would finally be realized in.
“As fate would have it, it’s happening now during a very important time in Black American history — almost at the exact same time that the Quaker Oats Company has decided to remove the image of Aunt Jemima from their products because of the negative racial stereotypes,” Oree-Bailey says. “I am so proud to be a Black woman able to write my own narrative, inspire others, and add my image to the products that I created.”