Tag Archives: branding

Summer Fancy Food Show

Above, pics I snapped along The High Line in Manhattan en route to Wong, the big apple’s first Asian restaurant to emphasize local and seasonal fare. The food was amazing! I highly recommend going if you love delis Asian food and supporting our local farmers.

Clockwise from left to right, whole raw lobster hand shelled using high pressure, whole grain vermicelli, black alkaline water, my new must have hot sauce! Just a small sample of products from the food show.

Last week, I went to the Summer Fancy Food Show in NYC. Although I’ve been before, the sheer enormity of it is overwhelming each time. Food companies near and far from around the world were in attendance. I felt like a food nerd, in awe of all the brands I love, talking with the founders, and discovering new products that are coming to the market. I loved every minute of it, even if it gave me heart burn at times. One of our staffers came along with me to the show. One thing that has stuck in my mind is her comment about how she’s been paying attention to the people in the industry and noticing how nice they are. I can tell you from first hand experience that people in food are really great! I think creating food is a universal, fulfilling and relatable expression of creativity that also has the ability to evoke emotion, and it brings out the best in its creators.

Asulia is not ready to exhibit, but we hope to be soon! While I was looking, chatting, and, of course, eating at the show, I discovered a company with packaging all too similar to what we’ve been working on. This means we’re back to the drawing board. When I got back home, I immediately went to work and sketched out a bunch of new design layouts and sent them to our packaging designer. My obsession with aesthetics probably doesn’t help the cause, but I’m determined to make it beautiful and unique.

This means delays in other areas. Our crowdsource funding video can’t be finalized until the packaging design is complete. Launching a crowdsource funding campaign without finalized packaging is possible, but it’s far from ideal, so we’re going to wait until we get it right. When you launch, you need to be able to show supporters that your project is not just a figment of your imagination, but that it’s real. I also want to be able to deliver the dumplings to supporters right away, since the whole point is to get the project sent out.

Our permanent website has been coded, but the new revised packaging will also have an impact on the final site. As a result, we will not hit the launch button for our permanent home until the packaging is finalized, so we can tie it together with the website design and create a cohesive look and feel.

I recently came across Inc magazine’s videos you should watch before you start a business. I loved Simon Sinek’s comment about motivation that people “don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” I can’t wait to share my story when our permanent website launches! It’s the reason I get up every morning and push forward when people think I’m crazy for not switching to a shelf-stable product. I have no doubt that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, right here, right now.

hot business

Two of my all time favorite hot sauces were created by self made entrepreneurs. I love this quote from David Tran, the founder of Sriracha “Hot sauce must be hot. If you don’t like it hot, use less,” he said. “We don’t make mayonnaise here.”  They’ve never paid for advertising but have built a strong following.  In 2007, they ran out of peppers. Instead of running out to buy ingredients from the supermarket, he asked customers to wait and they did.  The peppers are grown in Ventura County. Tran has never compromised his product and it’s one of the many reasons why it’s so popular. The sriracha story is one of example of an entrepreneur with a strong vision who sticks to what he knows best. This is something I try to remind myself of frequently.  Oh, if you ever wonder if Tran notices your creations with his hot sauce, he does! He loves to google and laugh at all the creative uses. How cute is that?

Tao Huaboi, the founder of Laoganma is a woman I deeply admire. What’s remarkable about Huaboi is that she’s illiterate with no formal education let alone any business experience prior to her chill empire. She remembers most of her staff’s birthdays and treats everyone like her own family. I fell in love with her hot sauce a few year back when my mother introduced me to it. I’ve never looked back since and have always had a least one jar in my fridge at all times. If you didn’t know already, it’s not the most natural product, but for the love of the hot sauce and her, I let it slide.  Recently, her story was published in a Chinese newspaper. My mom couldn’t stop talking about it and I couldn’t stop listening. We all have a story and it’s amazing to learn how much has gone into her hot sauce. Huaboi had to support herself and her kids after her husband past away. She started selling noodles out of a tiny stall on the street. On the days she didn’t have any of her hot sauce, she noticed business wasn’t as good. Soon her customers asked to buy her hot sauce and stores started carrying her product. In order to buy all the ingredients she needed, Huaboi carried heavy loads to and from her home on her back. She couldn’t take the bus. The driver wouldn’t let her on since she had too many things with her.  Soon it became so popular that she expanded into a factory. However, back when she was small time, she’d let people run a tab when they didn’t have any money to eat only to erase it completely. She continues to be humble and treats her team with care and integrity. It goes to show that awesome products led by founders who do the right thing do succeed.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to increase your hot sauce tolerance, there’s a great podcast from NPR on hot sauce, that you should check out.

All this talk of hot sauce brings back memories of being in speech and debate in high school. I gave a speech on Tabasco which was my first foray into the world of capsaicin levels and the Scoville scale.

Anything is possible. Take a risk. Take a chance at yourself. Stacey Ferreira did and raised $1 million straight out of high school.

What the Font?

I’m starting to learn more about typography. My Fonts let’s you look up the name of fonts. My graphic designer and I are still on the search for the right fonts to use not just for the logo, but a family of fonts for the brand to use that’s cohesive. So fun!


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!

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!