Interview by Steph Greegor
Name: Dara Schwartz
Profession: Owner + Creative Director, Darista Dips
One-word description: Energy
Quote: “I’m obsessed with Indian food; you can inject it into my veins.”
Connect: LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Under a mane of long, brunette locks lies a world traveler whose love of food and other cultures led her to a career in bringing fresh, delicious treats to the masses through her affectionately named dips, Darista Dips.
“I traveled 26 countries and I was able to immerse myself through local culture and the local scenes,” said 39-year-old Dara Schwartz, a 2001 Ohio University visual communications graduate. “I started creating these beautiful relationships and found that my world moved through these beautiful people, learning about them and their culture.”
Schwartz, proud Mom of a 2 ½-year-old and a newborn, said that kept happening over and over again until finally she realized it was time to share that experience with others back home.
“I wanted to express my personal story through food,” said the Chicago native. “I started exploring the idea of my dream of opening a restaurant.”
She wanted to explore flavors of the world, but the financial reality of running a restaurant was too high, so Schwartz found a different way.
“Grocery stores started asking to package my food and I found out packaging foods was super low cost and I could self-start it,” she said. And that’s what she did, packaging beautifully colored hummus dips with different cultural flavor profiles and selling them locally and regionally.
“We’re now in seven different cities in three states,” she said of the dips with flavors like Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Hummus or Gooey Chocolate Espresso. “It wasn’t my original idea, but it’s working. We’re reaching more people. Moving the world through chickpeas.”
It’s a journey, said Schwartz, that she wouldn’t trade for anything.
“The journey is incredible because of the people you meet,” she said. “There are highs and lows. It grows you in a different way. The opportunity to build a team and a brand with loving relationships with people who are also sharing that motivation and that drive. The reach is amazing because of the relationships.”
The Bexley resident is also a huge fan of jazz, being the co-founder of the Harrison West Jazz Stage and the recently launched Bexley Jazz In The Park Series.
“I love the Bexley community,” she said. “It’s the diversity; there is generational diversity, ethnic diversities, and different backgrounds. It’s this nice little cultural exchange experience. Plus, the walkability, urban setting, and educational and intellectual focus.”
And when Schwartz has guests in town, she loves to take them to the fresh Farmer’s Markets all across Columbus.
“Clearly, it’s food-focused,” she laughed. “My life revolves around food.”
Dara was named to our annual list of 52 Young Professionals You Should Know in Columbus – one for every week in the year!
Meet the entire “Class of 2018” »