I’ve been fortunate to connect with entrepreneurs who have been in business for many years. While I’m surrounded by foodie entrepreneurs who have made it, advice from other wise business friends has not gone in one ear and out the other ear. Being in the food industry is challenging. When I look at the numbers, a slight change can make you or break you. Here’s how I look at it though, if the only products that made it on the shelves was determined by the highest turning items say snacks for example, then there would never be anything new to discover in grocery aisles or at farmers markets.

I think I’m finally getting to a point of finalizing the logo. Production costs are higher than anticipated, but I’m focused on decreasing the cost of goods so the final retail price makes sense for buyers. It’s a fine line.  At least a wheat wrapper is now an option!

Happy Lunar New Year

One of my cousins had her second child. I’m in up state NY visiting and spending the Lunar New Year with family. My mom cooked up a feast for all of us. There’s nothing like mom’s home cooking. To health and happiness!

From left to right: sweet and sour chicken, snap peas with chicken gizzards, salted chicken with scallion and ginger dip, braised taro root.

After the Lunar New Year celebration, I went to NYC for an event for women entrepreneurs. I stopped by the local Lululemon store to check out the bulletin board for guest passes to yoga studios in the area. The ladies at the store suggested I take a class at Pure Yoga in the West Village.  The class was good, but the instructor didn’t seem to mesh well with the corporate environment at Pure. He would probably be happier teaching in Brooklyn instead. Overall, I would come back the next time I’m in town though!

A Matter of Taste

I watched a documentary about chef Paul Liebrandt in A Matter of Taste which covers a ten-year period. It goes to show that anyone no matter what career you’re in has to be deeply in love with what you do. It gives purpose and motivates us to push ourselves beyond the limits we’ve set for ourselves.

They’re just not that into your start-up

I’m waiting to hear back from lawyers, vendors on pricing, and a graphic designer. Editing photos is taking a long time! I’m trying to edit, but I’m really not good at it. This is not because the pics need major changes, but the background needs to be smoothed out and uniform plus I have to decide if I want to keep the shadows.

How to tell if a business is just not that into your start-up
1. They don’t do what they say they will
2. You spend most of your time following up with them
3. You have a gut feeling it’s not working out
4. They aren’t very responsive
5. There’s always an excuse of why they haven’t been available

Have a plan B & C!

Angel Investor

I received an email today asking if I’d like to learn how to be an angel investor. I would love to in the near future, but for now I’m bootstrapping the launch of my consumer product.

The Pipeline Fellowship trains women philanthropists to become angel investors through education, mentoring, and practice. Fellows commit to invest in a woman- led for-profit social venture in exchange for equity and a board seat at the end of the training.

PF’s blog has great videos from angels with helpful advice. One in particular from Rod C. about networking offers a great refresher of things to keep in mind during and after you have a conversation with someone. Below are some of the points of the video along with my own tidbits on networking.

1. How can you help the person you are talking with?
2. What is your goal and reason for networking?

  • Have a goal in mind when you’re networking. Whether it’s a question you need an answer to or someone you’d like to connect with.

3. What is your value proposition?

  • Even if it’s mostly about you, make sure to learn what their needs are so you can be on the lookout for them.

4. How will you follow up?

  • Follow up by saying what you’ll be doing at the end of the conversation. This secures the follow up the end of your discussion.
  • Make sure to have 3 points of contact within 30 days. Email, phone, coffee in person etc…

Fancy Food Show

Thanks to my frequent flyer miles and a friend letting me crash with her, I was able to attend the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Fran. Walking the show was really helpful to learn how companies set-up for trade shows as well as meet others in specialty food.

I’ve been to the city before, but didn’t get a chance to take a tour of Boudin until now. The mother yeast is still being used today! I took a quiz at the bakery. Apparently if I was a type of bread, I would be a French long, lol!

On my flight back to Boston, I experienced a sense of peace about this journey. I finally feel comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Veggies working it

Photo shoot day! It was rather odd to be scouting attractive veggies at the grocery store. When it came time to ring up my items, the guy bagging groceries started bending the greens on the carrots. He nearly gave me a heart attack! I said “whoa, can you please not bend the greens on the carrots, they will photographed this afternoon.”

Yesterday, I took a trip to a local art supply store to pick up a roll of white paper for the background. I ended up buying a yard of canvas as well because I thought the white paper was too transparent. In the end we didn’t need the canvas since the lighting was so bright. The pretty linen paper on the walls caught my eye and I took at some options, but decided I wanted to keep the look simple, clean, and about the ingredients.

I have been debating on whether to use photography and or illustrations for packaging. Seeing the ingredients and dumplings captured exactly how I envisioned the photos to look made me smile ear to ear. No illustrations at this point. I’m trilled about the photos today! Even if the direction of how I styled my food photography was off. I loved every minute of the process! What I thought would only take a 2-3 hours took about 7 hours of work which didn’t include the trip to art store, going to two different grocery stores to scout veggie and commuting to my photographer.

I’m a lucky gal to have talented friends. Many thanks and shout out to my friend and photographer, at Graham Winslow Photography.