Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jessica Wang, Founder of Gu Grocery, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Gu Grocery is a Chinese Taiwanese family food project that originally started out as a pop-up concept featuring Asian American desserts inspired by seasonal produce growing in California. We serve a diverse community of customers in LA's Chinatown area who enjoy tasting innovative dishes, and many of whom grew up with the flavors we use in our recipes.
Tell us about yourself
I always wanted to find a way to give back to my family and to share food that brings me joy with others. Preserving the cultures of my heritage through food, which often involves collaborating with my mother (AKA Mama Peggy), is work that I have found to be very fulfilling. As a pastry chef working with seasonal ingredients and whole grains, and as a healthy blood sugar advocate, I make desserts with mindfulness for our collective health. We have to take care of one another.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Growing a tiny side project into an actual legitimate business while also running an educational fermentation workshop and freelancing in food media since the start of the pandemic was an immense challenge. I continue to bounce between these professional projects and have gotten better at dividing my attention and time, and sometimes even find ways to merge these separate worlds.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The sacrifice of rest and self-care is definitely a part of the experience at times. At the end of the day, no matter how understaffed I might have been, I have to be reliable and make sure the job gets done and take care of myself to keep on doing the work required the next day. Being mentally aware of all the possible outcomes, knowing who to ask for help when there's an emergency, and keeping a strong emotional support system in place is key when the physical support is temporarily lacking.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Connect with the core of your business concept and make sure it feels true to who you are before you take one step at a time to grow it. Surround yourself with people who care about the things you care about, and together you'll be able to accomplish great things. Make sure you have a reliable source of income while you are still developing your new business.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Protect time for the things you love to do for fun and to relax!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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