As we were researching this year’s edition of our Holiday Gift Guide, we heard about Abbio’s direct-to-consumer cookware line launched by two brothers—Jonathan Wahl and Eric Wahl—born and raised in Seattle. We’re so excited about these high quality products entering the market.
The company name comes from the Italian word abbiocco, for which there is no direct English translation. The word is loosely translated to the sleepy, full feeling one experiences after a big meal. Abbio (“ah-bio”) creators wanted a name that tied cooking to the satisfaction of a great meal.
Abbio’s line of cookware distills a confusing and crowded product category into a single set of cookware perfect for almost any type of cooking at an affordable price range ($77 for an 11″ skillet that would be $160 at traditional retail). We had the chance to chat with Eric and Jonathan about their new company and cookware line.
Seattleite: What drove you to start Abbio?
Jonathan: We are lifelong of fans of home cooking—we grew up in the kitchen with our mom cooking dinners. It was a really important part of our childhood and I loved it. I lost that when I went away to college. After college, I started to pick up cooking again and hosted dinner parties for friends.
Eric: We were frustrated by the lack of options for quality cookware at an affordable price. An All-Clad cookware set could run $600+. And there are so many options: aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, and so many companies. How does one choose? We wanted to distill it to this—if you’re a starting home cook, what are the least items you need to get started?
Seattleite: What cookware pieces do you offer?
Eric: We currently sell five pieces of cookware (available individually or as a set) that represent everything the customer needs to cook a great meal at home. This includes small and large nonstick skillets, a sauce pan, a sauté pan, and a stock pot.
Seattleite: Tell us more about your tri-ply nonstick surface.
Jonathan: We co-developed our tri-ply surface with a leading nonstick company in the US which includes an extra layer of metal particulate. This gives the surface a slightly rough feel and makes it extra resilient to scratching.
Seattleite: What were you doing before Abbio?
Jonathan: We were both working as Product Managers in tech. Our Product Management training gave us the framework for problem solving for the end customer. Whether it’s a piece of software or developing a new line of cookware, we ask what is my end customer trying to do? How can I make it easier, faster, better for them?
Seattleite: When did you get started?
Eric: July 2017 was the first time we started to have a serious conversation about wanting to do this, but it had been an idea for a while. From that moment until we launched online this past October.
Seattleite: How are you getting the word out?
Jonathan: Our approach to spreading the word for Abbio is working with niche chefs and food personalities involved in the business (including a partnership with David Leite and local Seattle chefs). We are intentionally choosing chef partners that are reflective of the brand. We have also been talking with media (like Seattleite) and are working to build out our social media presence.
Seattleite: What’s next?
Jonathan: We launched our cookware and our brand will eventually extend to other things in kitchen like utensils, bakeware, other items that will compliment Abbio products.