Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Frederic Gagne, Presdient & Executive Chef of Komo Comfort Foods, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are Komo Comfort Foods. We take traditionally 'meaty' and 'cheesy' familiar favourites and make them plant-based using only wholesome ingredients →Easy, Wholesome & Hearty. We offer Multi-serve • Wholesome Ingredients • 100% Plant-based • Gluten-free options • Non-GMO.
Our customers are those Plant-centric and plant-forward individuals who are on the rise. Those who are scrutinizing the ingredients in the food they consume. Recognizable, whole foods ingredients are highly preferred, and it is where we excel. Those looking for shareable hearty dishes that are easy to cook. Parents who wish to take the night off cooking and still offer a quality nutritious meal to their family. Our consumers are simply those looking for an easy dinner night while enjoying a tasty, nutritious, and filling dinner.
OUR MISSION: Make Plant-based meals a staple on every dinner table by sharing our love for feel-good food that connects people to the planet. Plant-based eating aligns with consumer concerns with sustainability, health, and animal welfare.
Tell us about yourself
I am Fred, an executive chef with over 25+ years of experience, formally trained in Quebec with experience and classes taken throughout the world, and a holistic nutritionist. Vegan for 8 years puts this passion into the food we make. Approaches our food with a whole food plant-based. I have a passion for health and have always wanted to empower people with the knowledge to eat a whole food plant-based diet. With Komo, I am able to achieve this and make it easy. We are good for the planet, for animals, and for our health. That makes me extremely proud of what we have built.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Biggest accomplishment... So many things come to mind, yet I would say the biggest accomplishment is to have gone from Ideation to Commercialization. There is so much work involved in this; it's incredible!! Jeffrey, Adya, and I went in head first and worked so hard in order to launch Komo. I could not be more proud of our team and our achievements. Our launch was in March 2021, and today (Feb 2023), we are in close to 1000 stores across Canada! From ideation to 1000 in a year and a half is something to be proud of. Our idea of launching products made with real ingredients that are hearty and wholesome yet easy to cook became a reality and is now loved across Canada.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The sheer amount of work needed to do a start-up! An everyday long hour and mostly seven days a week. Finding the right balance between work and personal life is the hardest. Komo aligns with my own personal values of health and wellness and therefore was incorporated into my daily life since early 2021. Since late 2022, to my delight, Komo has seen exponential growth as people are introducing Komo into their weekly meal plans across the country. This growth comes with a lot of work and the constant battle to achieve a better work-life balance.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Trust yourself and your intuitions.
- You have the power to figure it out.
- Be ready to work hard.
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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