Aishwarya Iyer was never interested in olive oil professionally. She worked in venture capital firms in New York and moved to California in 2015 to join a start-up. But today she’s revolutionising the olive oil industry with products made in small batches on a single-estate farm in California’s Central Coast.
Her products have acquired a cult status due to the design.It all started from her kitchen table. Iyer was making many meals with her husband but both were left feeling nauseous and getting stomach aches after eating. Even after cutting out bread and cheese, they were falling sick and were left with one culprit—olive oil.
Iyer then started researching and uncovered why this industry was murky. “Most olive oil that Americans consume is rotten, rancid, or adulterated. I wanted to change this and that’s how Brightland was born,” she says.
In only a year, Brightland has received recommendations from Goop, The New York Times and Fast Company. Its Pinterest-y bottles aren’t just pretty—they’re powder-coated, UV protected, and ensure that the oil is fresh.
Iyer’s bold decisions have helped her breakthrough. “There aren’t many women, let alone South Asian Americans, in the olive oil world,” she reveals. But, starting her company helped her learn on the job. “It taught me to lean into discomfort, think on my feet and be flexible. All we can do is take one step at a time. That has taken us very far,” she smiles.
Photographs: Marissa Alves, Julia Statz (food)