Meet Najwa Khan, The Woman Behind Dalci Brownie

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Here on team HG, we’re big fans of locals who are pursuing their passions and turning them into full-fledged careers. That entrepreneurial spirit is what makes cities like Hoboken and Jersey City so unique and small business-friendly. One local entrepreneur is Najwa Khan — the founder of dalci, a deliciously healthy, ready-to-eat dessert company. We got the chance to speak with Najwa Khan to learn more about her inspiration for creating dalci, what her goals are for this year, and more.

najwa kahn dalci

Tell us about yourself.

I am the founder and CEO of dalci, a gut-healthy food brand. We are committed to gut-healthy treats because every holistic diet deserves something sweet. Our philosophy is simple, pick the highest quality gut-friendly ingredients, nourish your body, and treat yourself in moderation. All our desserts are gluten, grain, soy, dairy, refined sugar, and preservative-free.

dalci brownie 2

{Photo credit: @dalciyourself}

Tell us about what it is like being the founder of dalci?

It is both a challenging and rewarding experience. I’ve always loved food and I’ve always loved health, so to be able to work on removing the stigma of guilt from food is a mission I take pride in. I also really enjoy writing the dalci Report {our blog} and sharing food knowledge with people. It’s a great privilege to be the founder of dalci and have the opportunity to work every day towards my passions. It is even more of a joy when my day entails connecting with prospective customers, learning about their dessert needs, and how they are trying to achieve a gut-healthy life.

Read More: 16 Local Millennial Entrepreneurs Kicking A$$ in Hoboken + Jersey City

najwa kahn

What was your inspiration to create dalci?

I was frustrated by the lack of transparent and healthy packaged desserts in today’s market. It felt like customers only really had two viable healthy dessert options: either make something from scratch or buy a “healthy dessert” that is made with preservatives to extend shelf life, harsh oils {canola, sunflower, etc.}, and artificial low-calorie sugar substitutes.

As someone who loves food, as well as, cares about the type of food I eat, I wanted to change the landscape of ready-made desserts from needing to be shelf-life stable to needing to be truly clean, real, and delicious.

What is your favorite flavor for the dalci brownies?

That is a tough question because it all depends on my mode. When I first developed recipes for dalci, I craved a decadent and rich chocolate dessert like our dark chocolate brownie but nowadays, I am all about our lemon coconut blondie. It is the perfect amount of tart and sweet and a really great light dessert that you can have as an afternoon pick me up snack.

dalci brownie

{Photo credit: @dalciyourself}

What is your hope for the dalci brand in the future?

I would love dalci to be accessible to everyone in the country. My hope for dalci is that we are able to educate consumers about gut-health and provide them with really amazing desserts that don’t hurt their guts or their health goals.

Where can we find dalci — what stores, brands, etc?

Currently, we are only selling dalci online at our e-commerce store, www.dalci.com. We will be expanding to retail stores by the end of 2020 and early 2021.Where in Hudson County is dalci based out of?

We are an online e-commerce brand but our kitchen headquarters are in Kearny, NJ and our team works out of Weehawken, NJ.

najwa kahn dalci brownie

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

My background and ancestral history play a large role in what inspires me. Growing up in a Moroccan and Bengali household made me appreciate food, its healing power, and its ability to bring people together at an early age. I saw food as a means of enjoyment and as a means of natural medicine. For example, my mother would give me a spoon full of cumin when I had tummy aches, lemon and hot water for digestion, and ginger, honey, and turmeric for a cough. We’d also spend every Sunday making a big brunch and inviting friends and family for a large homemade spread of dishes from around the world. Food at its purest form, delivering joy, and nourishing one’s body is my biggest source of inspiration.

What are your goals for this year?

This year my goals are to have a successful launch with dalci, grow our product lines from brownies to other desserts {I’m recipe testing raw gut-healthy ladoos, coconut cream mango lassi popsicles, and rose and pistachio cakes to name a few}, and educate consumers about food, gut health, and the importance of ingredient transparency.

What’s a typical day look like for you?

I usually wake up at 6:00AM, take my dog on a long walk {I really try and get 5K steps in before I even start my day}, do a 30-minute BBG workout on the days I feel motivated to workout {I love the Sweat app}, or I have a rest day {these days I’m having a lot of rest days but trying to find my motivation during quarantine} where I stretch or meditate {no matter what, I allow myself 20 mins alone with coffee in hand}.

I start work on dalci around 9:00AM, I take a meal break {lunch is my first meal of the day since I give my gut a 16-hour break from food}, take my dog on another long walk, head to the kitchen and start baking {since we’re at pre-launch and won’t launch till July, most of my baking is for recipe testing and making dalci samples. Starting in July I’ll be spending evenings and weekends baking in our commercial kitchen}, I make a homemade dinner with my husband, and finally, enjoy a nice break before bed. Right now, my before bedtime ritual is to listen to a podcast or an Audible book. I usually leave my leisurely reading for commutes and weekends.

See More: Meet Ewelina Augustin: Co-Founder of The Vegan Warehouse

What has been the highlight in your life so far?

Two main life and career events stand out to me. The first was when I lived in South Africa for a summer, doing an internship nine years ago, at an infectious disease center in Cape Town. That experience shaped me as an adult and solidified to me that regardless of the career path I choose in life, it will always be about providing people with knowledge and helping them achieve good health. Since that internship, I’ve always stayed true to that promise. The second highlight of my career is dalci. Because of dalci, I am able to follow my passion and work towards bringing people joy through food, as well as, stay true to my gut health lifestyle.

najwa kahn hoboken

Tell us about another business in the area you admire.

I admire Sweet in Hoboken. I read Angela Park’s story on Hoboken Girl last year and thought it was so courageous of her to continue with her bakery even after losing two bakers. I love Sweet cupcakes and have been taking advantage of its Sunday buy one get one free happy hour deal for years. The coconut vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting was my wedding cake in 2017. I had a courthouse wedding with a few friends and celebrated at a pub in the city the next day. Her cake was a hit!

Hoboken + Jersey City Favorites

What is your favorite restaurant in Hoboken?
My favorite restaurant in Hoboken in Antique Bakery. I dream about the bread pudding and spicy tequila cocktail. Especially now, during the lockdown. I can’t wait till the day I can sit down at the restaurant and have a meal.

What is your favorite boutique in Hoboken?
I love shopping at Anthropologie and Francesca’s.

What do you love most about Hoboken?
I love the community feel that Hoboken provides. It’s lovely to go on a walk on the pier, pass friendly neighbors, and stop by a bar or restaurant for a meal or drink break.

What is your favorite thing to do in Hudson County?
My favorite activity in Hudson County is taking walks. We have a plethora of piers, parks, and trails all along the waterfront that make for great walks or runs. Currently, due to COVID and the lockdown, I’ve been walking with my dog, Bernie, along the Palisades Park trail. It’s a great view of the entire city and helps me reach my step goals for the day.

How long have you lived in Hoboken?
I have lived in Hoboken for five years {since I was 23} and moved to Weehawken’s, Port Imperial area, three years ago. However, Hoboken and Jersey City are still my towns and where I predominately hang out and meet friends and family.

What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Hoboken?
I like to walk up to the lookout on Steven’s campus. It’s this intimate spot that not too many people know about that. It’s great to walk up there and catch the sunset. If I’m with a big group, I tend to hang out at the park by Pier 13.

What is your favorite place to work out in Hudson County?
I love the classes at CKO. If I am not taking a class, I usually workout with a friend on the lawn close to Pier 13.

Where do you go out with friends in the area?
I usually get dinner with friends at Bin 14, Okinawa Sushi, Zack’s, or La Isla. After dinner, we head to Madison’s for a drink and some dancing.

On the weekends, we usually do brunch at Anthony David’s or watch a movie at Bow Tie cinema if it’s not nice out.

What is something you think needs to come to the area?
I would love a concert hall. It would be nice to have small music events or be able to watch local artists. I have a hard time finding intimate shows nearby.

Is there anything else you want to share about Hoboken or yourself?
I actually had a lot of important moments in Hoboken NJ. It was where I got my first apartment, got engaged, and moved in with my now-husband.

Keep up with Najwa via Instagram at @dalciyourself and @najilicious, on her website at dalci.com, or via email at info@dalci.com.

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Written by:

Arielle is a born-and-bred Jersey girl and like a true NJ native, half her diet consists of bagels and the other half pizza. As a graduate of both American University and City, University of London, she’s been a passionate writer ever since she wrote her first “book” in the first grade. When she’s not furiously typing away at her keyboard, she spends her time ticking places off of her “to travel to” list, trying any and all new foods, and trying to stop herself from spending too much money at Zara.


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