Asulia’s Anniversary: A Year in a Food Start-up
Sep 2013

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a year!  I’ve been working on Asulia full time since September 2012. Looking back at the past 12 months, I see that I’ve made a lot of progress as a food start-up, all while being self-funded. No matter what happens, I can be proud of that.

While there’s still more to do, when I write it down, I can see that I’ve gotten a lot done. The life of an entrepreneur is never dull. No wonder I’m tired some times! Some key things I’ve done since September 2012:

  1. Tested, tasted, and developed 3 vegan dumpling recipes: taro root, chickpea and kale.
  2. Changed the hand cut dumpling wrapper from white to wheat.
  3. Became ServSafe certified.
  4. Sourced dumpling ingredients, as locally as possible.
  5. Made nutrition labels.
  6. Purchased bar codes.
  7. Found a food photographer.
  8. Reshot food photography multiple times.
  9. Looked through hundreds of logos.
  10. Reworked various logos multiple times.
  11. Branded and then rebranded – I actually started with a different name.
  12. Went through 3 graphic designers until I found the right fit.
  13. Completed packaging development and design.
  14. Ran a trademark search.
  15. Legally formed the company.
  16. Found a kitchen to make the dumplings. This took months to do!
  17. Found an environmentally-friendly printer to work with, after calling dozens of places and researching for hours on end.
  18. Became a certified YouthTrade company.
  19. Obtained vegan certification for all three fusion dumpling flavors.
  20. Blogged, emailed, tweeted and posted updates on FB.
  21. Launched a website.
  22. Figured out Asulia’s personality. What does she like? What matters to Asulia? What matters to me? This is a key part of our brand.
  23. Started blogging for Huff Post.
  24. Walked through what felt like football fields of food at two Fancy Food Shows in San Francisco (thanks to air miles) and in NYC.
  25. Attended (and will continue to attend) numerous food networking events.
  26. Attended the Stonyfield’s annual entrepreneurship institute and was selected as a case study.
  27. Launched a crowd-funding campaign.

Along the way, I’ve laughed, cried, and met some truly great people. I’ve lost sleep and skipped meals, but I’ve also eaten some great food in the name of research! I’ve made mistakes. I’ve gotten lucky. I’ve learned so much about business and myself.

But most importantly, I never gave up.