Behind the Collection | Global Pantry

Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Photo Credit: Anna-Alexia Basile

You probably already know that we're big fans of labeling your system, so it should come as no surprise that we spent a lot of time perfecting our labels for our Kitchen and Pantry Collection. They needed to match with the aesthetic of the rest of the collection and be functional at the same time. We knew our clients were looking for something that would be easy to remove, should their needs change, and resistant to wet fingers. We turned to label expert, Elena Jatia of The Global Pantry who ultimately co-manufactured our reposition-able label sets. We chatted with her recently about the label life and what inspired her own products.

NM :: Tell us a little but about yourself.
EJ :: I am a Filipino-American who grew up in an international community overseas. Together with my husband, who is from India, we are raising a multicultural family. My upbringing inspired me to create an outlet for my beliefs in sustainability, reducing food waste and promoting diversity and inclusion within the food and organizing space. I love utilizing and experimenting with everything that's in my pantry. My entire pantry of nearly 75 ingredients fits into two upper cabinets! I craft as well, but let's not open those cabinets for now...

NM :: What inspired you to create a product that centers on pantry organization?
EJ :: In 2011, I was shopping at a big box store searching for the right containers for my pantry. I left disappointed because none of the labeling engraved into the canisters coordinated with the ingredients that I cook with on a daily basis. I felt bothered and left out that evening; the next morning I woke up and started crafting a solution that would be just as beautiful and functional. My biggest challenge is what most people will face when decanting: is that flour, salt or sugar? Seems silly, but I was honestly exhausted from repeatedly telling my husband and mother-in-law what they were! Not only could family members not distinguish ingredients, but we couldn't translate what certain ingredients were between English and Hindi. So you will find that the majority of our label assortment is bilingual. The challenges we faced turned out to be my calling!

NM :: What makes your labels different?
EJ :: Coming from an art background (photography and graphic design), I knew very well that design is only as great as its function. Our customers want products they can peel off easily, can stand up to all those sticky, oil and flour-covered hands in the kitchen, knowing they won’t have to ruin the canisters they invested in. They are also passionate cooks and chefs from many backgrounds, so having a variety of labeling is essential. Not just a variety of ingredients, but dietary needs and languages, too. The labels have been thoughtfully designed so that you can combine languages for one unified aesthetic.


NM :: What has the response been to your diverse language and culture inclusion?
EJ :: It is a profoundly beautiful moment when a customer discovers my product in their language. They are in awe that a product like it exists and they feel instantly transported home. It is the same feeling I draw from whenever I find an immigrant-run grocery store that carries ingredients from my homeland or a restaurant that serves food like my mother cooked for me. I am so happy that this sentiment of love and excitement is carrying over into the products I create. It has always been my priority to facilitate a conversation about why aren’t we inviting all communities to our table? I want customers to know that the ingredients they cook with on a daily basis are just as beautiful as they are. There is so much we can learn about each other just over food and conversation.

We love the passion and purpose behind Elena's brand! Head to The Global Pantry to see more of her pantry labels in 19 languages.

the NEAT team