Campbell: the test, not the soup.

Organizing things today. After relocating some of my stuff, I needed to rearrange and try to purge. In the midst of all the boxes, I found the results of the Campbell skills and interest test I took years ago. Perhaps I should have taken the advice of the test eight years ago! I was advised to go into fashion or food, but to avoid computer programming. Although, I didn’t follow a career that the exam suggested. I did bypass a career in computer programming as recommended!

Happy 2013

Hello 2013!  I’ve been moving things from a friend’s apartment into a friend’s basement for storage. I went to a local supermarket  today to pick up boxes. They were gracious to not only let me pick my boxes but during the time I was there at least 2-3 of the employees came over to help me.

I’ve been spending the evening doing more research. Still left to do, pick a name, get the green light from a formal trademark search, pick and file a legal entity for the company. If I’m going to raise funds investors prefer corporations since LLC’s and sole proprietors entities do not have shares or stock certificates to offer.

I ended up editing an NDA that got help from a lawyer friend, literally a step-by-step guide on how to change the language to suit what I need for trade secret protection for my recipes. My previous experience of reading legal jargon in partnership agreements, dissolutions is coming to a full circle today.

Tomorrow I’ll be prepping for my friend’s Christmas party. I’ll be making my dumplings as appetizers.

New Years Eve

New years eve afternoon and I’m at a Starbucks writing emails, vetting out different packaging design ideas, and ways to get the look I’m thinking of. I want it to show personality, with a focus on the ingredients while being a bit whimsical, clean, and modern.

I canceled my $40 YMCA gym membership last month to save money. Ever since, it’s been home workouts with the occasional splurge on a $5 vinyaysa or hip hop yoga class at Back Bay Yoga. This morning I busted out an oldie but a goodie of a workout DVD, tae bo kickboxing! It takes a bit more self-discipline to gym it at home. The same goes for entrepreneurship.  Ultimately, the buck stops right here cuz it’s just me at this point. There’s no one to point the finger at. I focus on finding a work-around to my problems.

I’m happy that the samples I received from a potential printer last week are up to par! Plus they run on 100% wind power which is why I hope this relationship with this printer works out. I found them reading Packaging Digest that mentioned their work with a food company.

Things take time. Actually, more time than I thought it would. I’m still waiting for a lawyer friend to draft up a non-disclosure agreement that I need. Life events and the holidays have been making things move at a snail’s pace. I’ve also reached out to friends who could possibly help out with illustrations and photography. Although, I’m still undecided on which medium to use. It’s good to be different, but it’s also important to study why other companies have chosen to stick with traditional food photography.

Foodie Boot Camp

Earlier in the month, I attended a three-day foodie boot camp, the Natural Products Consulting seminar on Sales, Marketing, and Finance. It was rather eye opening to learn about how distributors work and other details that I’m glad I’m learning early on. Although I’ve scoured the library for resources, the breath of material that was covered and the ability to meet other foodie entrepreneurs was invaluable.

It has been a steep learning curve, but one thing’s for sure, it takes money to make money. Many new foodie entrepreneurs I’ve met are already on the market. Yet, since they are under $1 million in revenue, which means it’s challenging to raise capital. I get it, it’s a risky business. However there’s a huge funding cap. I’m still in development phase, but can already see how having limited capital will curtain my chances of success even with awesome products.

I was rather disappointed by a branding consultant that I was excited to work with this week. This person always missed scheduled calls and never followed up. Follow up is important! I found a work around to the reason why I thought about getting consulting help though. Free online courses are awesome! I’m going to start a course called Listening to the Consumer from MIT Open Courseware. Although it was taught years ago, the content is just as relevant when it was first presented. Since the New Year is right around the corner, one of my new year’s resolutions for 2013 is become better organized and create more structure for myself. I’m thinking a restructured day would look like this…

  • Work-out
  • Veggie/fruit smoothie for breakfast
  • Set-up 1-2 meeting with other foodie entrepreneurs per week
  • Read through one case study/article i.e. innovation, sales, marketing etc…
  • Work

Dumpling Fillings and Fears

Last night I was in my mom’s kitchen to test three different kinds of vegetarian dumpling fillings: kale, taro root with toasted sesame seeds, and curry cauliflower with toasted pepitas, a new recipe idea I developed.

When all the dishes were washed, my mom and I sat down and chatted. Over the years she’s been slowly revealing more of her past, most of which I’ve never heard before.  After she was abandoned in China, she would spend nights walking the streets because she had nowhere to sleep. Fearing something bad would happen, she kept moving because she felt that if she was at least on the move, it would be harder for others to harm her. She encountered challenging situations through the years to say the least.

During my commute to meet a buyer at a store this morning, I reflected on what my mom had told me the night before and was over come with emotion. So many things had to happen in order for me to be here today.

Staying with friends and having my stuff around town makes me feel extremely unsettled. I view this as another day of opportunity to turn things around, not only for myself, but also for the girls that need me. I’ve never wanted to succeed at something so much before. I want to bring hope to girls and know it’s one of my life’s mission. I would love for my mom to still be around to see the impact she’s made not just for me, but in how it’ll be paying it forward.

We have to overcome our own self doubts, fears, and take a risk.

Start-up

It’s been a few months since I started working on this food start-up. At first I was thinking I would make my mom’s traditional dumplings and sell them at farmers markets. I couldn’t find the right commercial kitchen with USDA approval. I ditched the idea and set out to create something different that would meet today’s taste buds. Deciding to go veggie and using nutrient dense ingredients made sense. People don’t get enough veggies in their diet.

I’m learning what it really takes to make a living selling food. I have a new found appreciation for retail pricing!

I often ask myself, “what’s it really like to be an entrepreneur?” The reality is that I’m living it. If this works out and even if it doesn’t, I’m learning a great deal about my relationships with friends both new and old and myself.

My belongings are temporary being hosted by different friends in the city. Instability and downsizing is part of the process as a start-up. I can understand more than ever, how people end up homeless. If I didn’t have some sort of community I’d be on the streets! Thanks to all my friend out there!

On days that I’m making headways and days it feels insurmountable, I think about how fortunate I am. I have the opportunity to share my love of food, ongoing issues that are still impacting girls, and  give back to those around the world still fighting for basic rights.