Alex Zhou // Ep 57 // Building Yami, the Most Popular Destination for Asian Goods
Welcome to Episode 57 of the Asian Hustle Network Podcast! We are very excited to have Alex Zhou on this week's episode.
We interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals. We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
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Kelly Mi Li is a Chinese-American serial entrepreneur, film producer, and the founder of Wet Paws Media. She established one of the first and more successful tech incubators in Los Angeles in 2011 and was the managing partner at East West Artists, a company under HTC that managed some of the biggest musicians and actors in Asia and America, from 2016 to 2019. While at East West Artists, Kelly teamed with her own Greyscale Lab merchandising firm to brand and service some of today’s top talents.
Now as a television and film producer, Kelly brings a unique blend of talent management, merchandising, and IP development. She has an animation film with Stan Lee in post-production called Panda Vs Aliens, a Michael Shannon film called Echo Boomers that premiered both in theaters and digitally on November 13, 2020, and a full FBI decoding series called Cypher with Sonar Entertainment that has hit #1 on Netflix in the territories where it has launched (Cypher is set to premiere in the US spring 2021). She also recently starred and EP’d in the Netflix hit unscripted series, Bling Empire.
Currently, Kelly is in post-production on a thriller feature titled AMP House and in pre-production for Aaron Eckhart’s crime drama, Afterward. She has five more projects in the pipeline to be shot in 2021 under her new production company, Wet Paws Media.
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Intro: (00:00:00) Hey guys, welcome to Asian Hustle Network Podcast, My name is Bryan.
And my name is Maggie
And we interview Asian entrepreneurs around the world to amplify their voices and empower Asians to pursue their dreams and goals.
We believe that each person has a message and a unique story from their entrepreneurial journey that they can share with all of us.
Maggie: (00:00:23) Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Asian hustle network podcast. Today, we have a very special guest with us. His name is Alex, Joe. Alex is the founder and CEO of yummy while studying in Kansas. Alex had a very limited access to Asian groceries and products having to drive two hours to reach the nearest Asian market. This inspired him to found a yummy buy.com in 2013, with the mission of making Asian goods accessible for everyone to experience and enjoy. At the very beginning, he was a one man army working on every task from supply chain logistics to customer service. Fast forward to today. Yummy is a multi hundred million dollar revenue company With over 1.5 million user base over the course of eight years, yummy has now become the most popular destination for Asian goods in North America and has expanded many Asian brands. Global footprints. Alex is the youngest winner of 2017 Ernst and Young’s entrepreneur of the year in the greater Los Angeles region. Aside from being an entrepreneur, Alex is an avid soccer player. He loves adventures and enjoys car racing and hiking. Alex, welcome to the show.
Alex: (00:01:32) Hey, thank you. Uh, thank you for having me. Hi, everyone
Bryan: (00:01:38) resigned to have you in the show today. You know, I told him, I told him my parents and told some of my friends and they were like, well, you have, you know, the founder of yummy, yummy by, on your podcast today. I’m like, yes, we do. So let’s hop right into it. Let’s hear more about your story where you grew up in China. And he came over here to the States.
Alex: (00:01:55) Yes. Um, yeah. Where are should start where it began? So, um, I actually came to the United States at 2007, you know, uh, as, uh, as international student. So, you know, I born and raised in China and, um, I spent full almost five years. In Kansas. Right. You know, uh, to finish my degree, you know, Kansas in the middle of nowhere, you know, help, uh, do not have access to, uh, Asian product, you know, uh, Asian restaurants, you know, and yeah, I do have to drive, you know, uh, multiple hours to get a decent size out, but like the Asian grocery stores, you know, to the assaults rise, you know, something like this. Okay. So, um, that’s, that’s that, that wasn’t my experience, you know, in Kansas. So after I graduated from college, you know, I moved to Los Angeles, I see all the Asian populations, you know, restaurants, they know Asian grocery stores from Rocky and then their ranch 90 tomorrow. So, you know, I, I had this idea, no, maybe I can’t start a company e-commerce to carry the Asian product. And an Asian brand, you know, for over seats. Right. Because during the time, you know, e-commerce was new. It was not a new concept. You know, in China we have GV, we have Alibaba yesterdays. We have Amazon, we have eBay, but the, uh, but nobody actually focused on these like vertically-integrated space, right? No wishes, you know, Asian product for overseas. But, you know, on the other side, you know, Chinese and Asian human , uh, immigrant score, you know, in United States, Canada, you know your name mate, right? And, and also, you know, Asian pop culture saw have a huge influence on the mainstream culture. So mom and a mom, you know, mainstream customers that have interesting name in, uh, Asian product, right? So, uh, the, no, nobody actually, uh, the, the, the entire Asian retail, you know, uh, uh, system is really outdated know during that hype. And, uh, when I started a company, but at the beginning of it’s, um, It’s a very small creation, you know, just myself with about 2000 square feet of warehouse, you know, is always a large size in the warehouse and about 200 skews in the main, in the snacks from, from Japan and Korea. And, uh, uh, let’s say, you know, um, but since then, you know, we actually growing pretty fast, you know, first year we only did that. Uh, uh, when. One to $2 million in income revenue. And then next year is 20 to full day. They know, growing today in a, we have, you know, uh, uh, motor hundreds, meaning dollars, the number of revenue. And we have hundreds of employee in United States, you know, East coast, West coast and China as well. So, uh, yeah, that’s basically how I started company and the why I started the company.
Bryan: (00:04:39) You’re making it sound so simple.
Alex: (00:04:42) Yes and no.
Maggie: (00:04:45) Wow. Yeah. I’m very inspired by your story and just the inspiration of it because personally, like I’m Chinese. So I grew up with my parents kind of like feeding me like Chinese herbs and medicine and stuff like that. Every time. They would have this like Chinese cough medicine. And I would never take any American cough medicine because I grew up with that Chinese cough medicine. So I have to take that one. Right. But it’s so hard to find it anywhere right. In America. So having yummy buy, be available to like offer like Asian inspired snacks and healthcare and everything like that. It’s like very interesting
Bryan: (00:05:16) out of curiosity too. Like where did you drive? From chances to buy Asian food.
Alex: (00:05:22) Okay. Yeah. So, you know, um, um, but it depends on what you’re looking for. Right. You know, uh, um, in Kansas, uh, maybe in a town called the Manhattan, not like a Manhattan, New York, Manhattan, Kansas. We call ourselves NATO airport compared to the, to the. Yes. Um, uh, that, that was a college town. Right. And, uh, so there was a, uh, a grocery store, you know, for Asian grocery story. Nobody knows he’s are only, uh, all face size, you know, probably no less than 100 skews. If you just looking for, um, um, Basically Sireci chisels. Maybe you can find me, you can have, we know, for example, you know, uh, authentic, you know, Chinese, you know, tea drinks, you’ll have to drive two hours to, um, uh, Kansas city, Kansas city, you know, it’s a two hour, uh, you know, from, from the CTI. But if you want, you know, a better product, you know, you have to drive like six hours to Denver. Okay. And, but, you know, for somebody leaving Los Angeles, you know, Denver is not like no fault, best thing or Asia. Right. So that’s, you know, that’s what I, my, my experience that is,
Bryan: (00:06:35) that is pretty insane. And, you know, I know you started, uh, you know, me by pretty brass college. Right. But he graduated and he moved to LA to start yummy by. What, what made you decide to start? You mean by instead of finding a full-time job and I’m kind of eluding to the fact that, you know, we both graduated during the great recession really hard time to like, what, what propelled you to like, Hey, I’m gonna start e-commerce business over, like doing a full-time job.
Alex: (00:07:05) Yeah. Maybe, maybe I can find a dog. Yeah. Just, just go, you know, um, Uh, on this, on this speaking, I don’t even know, you know, I’m just like, you know, go with a person. Right. You know, um, I don’t want, you know, do that high, but not even, um, um, have to, uh, stay in the United States. No, actually, you know, after I graduate, I went to, uh, uh, uh, New York, no spend, you know, two weeks, three weeks there. And I spent some times in Los Angeles, you know, West coast, East coast just want to experience, you know, the America other than Kansas. Right. You know? Um, so, you know, um, during this period of time, actually, Um, um, uh, had this died near. Yeah. You know, um, um, you know, we may need some seeing, um, that got me by, you know, to carry Asian brand nation product, you know, so it’s not like, you know, I have to start a company all, you know, I have to find a job pretty much until I have this idea. I’m a person, you know, if I have some idea, I have to do it. I have two H right? No. So that’s my, my, my, my, uh, prison identity and my attitude. So let’s call, I start the starving on me by, so you just like, you know, but you know, of course, you know, um, um, uh, my family to have, we know, uh, um, uh, influence, uh, how, how, why, you know, I can’t become a entrepreneur, I’ll start by company because, you know, Um, my mother, you know, was I’m a business woman, you know, so I, when I grow up, I already see my mother, uh, um, uh, doing all the kind of like different, you know, , you know, so yeah, I kind of like, you know, have something in my gene as well.
Maggie: (00:08:51) Wow. That’s amazing. And so you started yummy by shortly after you had graduated, you know, you had this, um, this issue that you had, like not being able to find Asian snacks and Asian inspired household items and everything like that. Can you talk about you kind of doing research on all of these suppliers? Because I know you had like went out to grocery stores, you’d have to like find out who those people go behind the scenes, see logistics. We know, like you cold called a lot of suppliers too. And a lot of them had hung up on you. Talk about that extraordinary story. Yeah,
Alex: (00:09:23) no, during the time, you know, uh, you know, along in, in, in, in Los Angeles, you know, I had to decide there, so know, um, I don’t spend a lot of time seeing if it works or not writing, I don’t have time for research or whatever, you know, how big is the market, but, you know, when I won’t do it or just do it, but you know, have to, uh, um, a step why writing? You have to know where yo your product know gonna come from. So I have no idea. Right. So I just went to, you know, um, uh, non-dairy wrench, right. I basically know spend my, uh, my whole day there everyday for. A couple of weeks, a couple weeks and this, you know, um, so I, I think, you know, I already read the suspicious by their securities. You know, why this guy come to my store everyday, you know? So I just go to their store, you know, uh, see all the products, you know, red down numbers, you know, uh, even as a pedestal numbers, will the wholesalers and also in the name, all the brand. And, um, I come gain, you know, how many customers, you know, walking, um, um, uh, another ranch, you know, and how many customer will call the ways they’re shopping back. So I know, you know, What’s that conversion rate. Yeah. And I actually, um, uh, woke, you know, uh, snake to the back of the store, you know, St. Maldivian very truck because he know, um, I saw the truck there course like company name on the truck. It’s gotta be, you know, from the wholesalers. So I read all the names. I’d tried to Google them online and see. Address and, and, uh, and telephone numbers and yes, of course I got a lot of, no, you know, from the, uh, initial rich house to the vendors, uh, pretty much because first, you know, um, e-commerce, you know, it’s very popular to that hype, but some call, you know, like e-commerce fo a Shea, retail is a little bit like life left behind, you know, like, you know, there’s, , you know, I’m not going to open the account for, for e-commerce, you know, for newly graduated college student, try to do e-commerce, you know, I, you know, um, inviolable account for you. I have to manage our accounts, you know, and you know, something like this. So I’ve got a love knows, you know, I start with like one to two vendors I have to, um, the deal is like this, you know, I have to pay cash. Okay. And I have to drive my own car there and they’re not going to T3. They’re not going to get ready. So I have to draw out driving my own car to their warehouse pickup. So, you know, the, all being a box to the merchandise, you know, come back to my, uh, warehouse. And so, yeah. So, uh, when I started this company, the libraries, like, you know, in the morning, I get up. I’ve got out by the six, uh, six 30, you know, drive to vendor’s warehouse, pick up the per dock and the back to my, uh, office, uh, so-called free Sprite. And, um, yes, I have, you know, answered the customer calls, pre pan them, the customer surveys, you know, it’s a B2B e-commerce company. We, you know, uh, customer service and I have to. Uh, do you know, uh, upload all the pictures, names, every scene and pecan and pack P had pack, you know, even though in the warehouse, he going to give it in the daytime and, uh, and, uh, uh, after work, you know, during that time I have to talk to, you know, some big, uh, uh, um, But guys I bought, you know, the website, how to look, see no improvements. So it’s basically no ever seen, you know, my everyday life, you know, when I started with the company.
Bryan: (00:12:55) Wow. So it sounds like you were a lot, a lot of hats during the early stages. It’s hustling, calling, managing inventory, packing stuff. Any hour, talk to tech people. At what point did you, did you ever doubt your, your vision on this where it’s like, man, like I’m doing so much work every day. It’s maybe it’s time for us to, um, hire some people and they kind of like, how did that process play out? Because we talked to a lot of founders on the Asian Hudson. Their podcast seems like the hardest thing they face is like, Oh, the company’s growing, but now I had to give a control to like other people. And what was that process like for you?
Alex: (00:13:31) Yeah. You know, um, uh, frankly speaking, frankly speaking, I don’t have, I don’t have this problems, you know, mainly because, you know, when I started this company, I actually, um, given the state aid as a, as a stirrup, you know, I see that, uh, it’s amazing, right. You know, it’s a business can benefit, you know, customer like me, you know, leaving Kansas to not have access to an Asian brand. Right. You know, uh, we didn’t actually, uh, looking for money. I’ll try to raise money and to, you know, uh, three years after we start with the company. And then during that time you already have like, you know, uh, um, holdings. Two $50 million, I think, you know, during that time. So yeah. So at the beginning he just like, no, then one’s a business, you know, can actually benefit a lot of people. Right. You know, so yes, of course he didn’t know. There was a lot of like problems issues, you know, you have to overcome, but he know this. Yeah. Yeah. Everything in life, you know, where to find the, all your wholesalers right now, where’s the product. Right. And, um, how to do marketing. Right. You know, and I don’t know that I don’t know that because, you know, I don’t have any experience e-commerce on retails, you know, on, um, and actually, no, there was a time, you know, um, um, we started getting guests, uh, got some objections, you know, uh, I actually talked to somebody, you know, um, So it’s, um, it’s a, um, somebody in a retail space and, um, pay asked me like, why you, you know, ho how you, you know, start Yami buy. And, uh, do you have, you know, your retail experience, you know, uh, uh, no education background, um, e-commerce or whatever. I just want to say, like, no know, I don’t have any experience on this, you know, just like, no, because I don’t have really experienced, I don’t know how right. Just start pumping, you know, I see all the older problems. I just try to solve it. Not until today.
Bryan: (00:15:30) I love that. I love us. We are so relatable because we feel that too, like ignorance is a huge list when you’re doing a beginning state startup. You’re just hearing that because you didn’t know how hard it was. He never had any mental blocks to do things, you know, for us, it’s like we’re hosting events around the world because you want to be like the Asians. That’s hard. And then we never, I never had any idea how hard it is. We just, we’re just going to have to solve it. You know, that’s not a big deal.
Maggie: (00:15:53) That’s super inspirational because like, like you said, how people ask you, like, do you have any experience in e-commerce or like selling and people ask us, do like, do you guys have any experience in growing communities or like events. But because you knew what the, your problem was and you had your own problem with not being able to find Asian inspired products. And we have our own problem, not being able to find other communities of Asians. It’s it’s, it goes such, such a long way because we know what that problem is. And we’re able to understand that.
Bryan: (00:16:22) Yeah. So let’s dive a little bit deeper too, into your business, you know, like talk us about, tell us about times where it was extremely difficult, where you just like, ah, and when is the time to read? Just like, Ooh, I can do this. You know, like you want to hear both sides of the story.
Alex: (00:16:38) Um, firstly, you know, uh, um, you know, let’s think, you know, from the day one, I actually, uh, no, this is something, this is something, um, it’s not from like a VCs or, you know, somebody tried to give you money to do it is actually from customers.Right. You know, from day one, to be honest, you know, I only have like, I can’t remember, I think less than 10 orders on the first date, but, you know, I already have a lot of like feedbacks. Oh my God. Oh my God know, I, I can, there’s so many, you know, Japanese and Korean snacks, you know, fender, I can buy, you know, some feedback like there’s, you know, this like easily give you, um, You know, just like, no, hopefully they’ll give you, um, um, uh, you know, uh, motivation, right. You know, I’m not doing it for money. I’ll try to raise the money or become famous. I do it, you know, for, for customers, they say, see, you know, Where are your inspirations come from, you know, this make you feel okay, this is something, you know, this is, um, uh, a good business. And, uh, and, and I think, uh, 2016, 2017, as I mentioned, you know, we did pretty good. And, um, and Dan, you know, um, because, you know, I think, you know, where they have, you know, uh, Start April the million dollars [00:18:00] revenue, business size, and a lot of receipts started to approach us, talk to us. And, but again, you know, um, I don’t have any experience in those raise money start, produce days. Right. You know? So, um, the first time I talked to a season, you know, I don’t know any questions they ask any questions, you know, they use a lot of like words, you know, I, I don’t know, you know, what is LTV? What is. Customer acquisition cost. What is cohorts? You know, I have no idea where these cohorts, right? Yeah. And, um, they asked me evaluations and you know, literally, you know, you asked me a question, I try to Google the end of the table, like how to valuate your company. Right. Something like that. So yeah. Yeah. That’s the, that’s the early days.
Bryan: (00:18:48) Yeah. That’s yeah. I mean, hats off to you and those are pretty scary questions. The first time you hear it for the first time, you’re like, What do you think um,
Alex: (00:19:00) there are a lot of like in the early days, star res you know, I shared with my employee right now, even though they feel he’s like, you know, I really know, uh, for example, things that employee now, uh, I think, you know, first, you know, first I’m honest, you know, um, when I launched our website, right. You know, we have all the functions to pretend our big e-commerce company, you know? Right. But, you know, until, you know, the first time some customer uh and then I realized, Oh my God, they know I don’t have refunds from shit. No, I can’t. I can take money, but I don’t have these functions to refund customers. So, yeah. And what I did is, you know, uh, uh, I actually puts, you know, the, the, the. The money. I’m a little pan of mouth customers. And, uh, and, but you know, these customer is actually posted this on our social network. And, uh, and they, you know, um, said something like, you know, this is a legit company nowadays who actually refund their customer for the money in an envelope. Right? No, actually I actually saw it, you know, with a lot of retreats, you know? Yeah.
Bryan: (00:20:15) Yeah, those are the great stories in the beginning. Right? It’s like, you look back as like, so unreal about how often, you know, and I have to commend you, you know, like it’s a, it’s a tough journey and the fact that you’re a solo founder, is that right? Yep. Yeah. That’s, that’s even more impressive because such a sickly person, when a co-founder is sick feeds and when a solo founder, it goes down, but you do it slowly. So hats off to you. I’m kind of curious too, like. W as drew, as you’re doing this entire process, like, how did you manage to pay yourself first wall street, reinvesting the money back into growing your company? That every month you’re like, okay, I’m giving myself X amount and the rest to go back to the company or is it like, all right, I can eat up this very small amount and the rest goes back to the company. What was your thought process Like?
Alex: (00:21:01) Okay. Yeah, I think in the early days, you know, I. I think, you know, full of cure time. No, I don’t pay myself, you know, just like, you know, uh, um, I just, I don’t know, you know, I didn’t know that until, you know, I talk personally, no, my, my accountant, you know, uh, um, he told me, you know, you have to become a company’s employees, right. And you have to separate yourself and the company, you know, you have to pay ourselves because you’re also the employee of the, of the company, something like that. So the early days, you know, I was so into it, you know, um, um, again, I was, I’m not looking for money, right. I just like, think this is something I can do and it can actually benefit a lot of people. Right. You know, I think it’s also one of the reasons why, you know, I can, I can, I can make it today and think like, what is yummy by the day? Because, you know, um, um I want to be this brand to be successful in a more vein or something like, you know, because of the money aisle or whatever. Right. So at the beginning, you know, um, uh, even, uh, Yeah. I mean, by what’s really small business study. No, we look up to, you know, uh, a hustle name like Amazon. Right. You know, I don’t know, uh, what should I do for, you know, uh, free shipping search. So I look at, you know what I mean by what Amazon is doing. Right. I don’t know, um, how to write, you know, customer return policies. So I just exactly copy Amazon. Um, nobody actually do that because you can, uh, you can, uh, lose money or whatever you gonna have. probably not making, um, maintaining probably the bull. Right. But, you know, I think, you know, uh, my customer actually feels that, you know, in the early days they know, okay. They say it’s not, you know, um, uh, other, you know, um, maybe no small business, right. They have pretty good customer return policy. Suresh cold is actually a customer centric company. No customer can actually feel it.
Maggie: (00:23:17) Hmm. Yeah. I think it’s very important that you point out that not everything was perfect when you first started the company, right? You didn’t the refund button or the refund policy. You copied Amazon’s policies as well. I think a lot of people, when they become entrepreneurs, they think that they think that everything needs to be perfect. Or else, you know, they can’t launch the company. Right. But in reality, in actuality, like not everything is perfectly, you just have to go with it. And then, you know, later on you can like hire lawyers to help you with that. Right. But in the first few stages.
Bryan: (00:23:48) Okay. I’m curious too, like what was going through your head after he made your first sale? You know, what was that emotion feeling like? Where he’s like, Whoa, this is a real,
Alex: (00:23:58) uh, yes. I, I tried to, you know, uh, yeah. I tried to Google, you know, where, where the, you know, uh, sales come from. If I know, I think so her right now, if I know her knowledge, you know, uh, end of this customer is from, uh, Kansas, but I don’t, I don’t directly know her. I think it’s from, you know, somebody, I know my, my classmates, you know, maybe for, you know, these, you know, yummy by too. So, Hey, saw her friends and I acquire a new customer. So I’ll be customers, uh, you know, into ag. Connects, you know, from myself, you know, because I don’t have any, uh, marketing dollar to spend right now. So I use a lot of like a social network, you know, for the check Chinese children. When I worked, like we bought like, you know, we each had, he know direct mail, a lot, all black, you know, students, you know, uh, internal student organizations, Like check out, check this out because it says new websites and I’m a human start. A campaign of before I launched the website. No, I think it’s a muzzle two months before I launched it by the side, says something like, this is a website. I mean, no major e-commerce website, no garden breeds like of like Asian brands to United States a site. Now you’re going to get them like Sunday presents all. You know, uh, when we launch a website, something like that. So, you know, I think before we launched the website where they have like a couple of thousand subscribers, something like this.
Bryan: (00:25:30) Yeah. Oh, wow. Wow. Congratulations.
Maggie: (00:25:32) Yeah. Very exciting. So we know you’re starting yummy by in LA, uh, in Los Angeles. What made you decide to start it in Los Angeles? Compared to any other city that you know, was populated with a lot of Asian people,
Bryan: (00:25:45) not in New York or not New Jersey oil or, yeah.
Alex: (00:23:49) Um, you know, you feel ask me, no, I can tell you. Okay. Because he know there was a lot of like Evers, uh, diversify, the, you know, tell them people here, you know, Asian populations as well. And also we know, um, um, um, uh, all, you know, product guy, uh, we, we deal with, you know, I actually farm, you know, or show, you know, B. Better too close to a port, right? No. So for logistic, warehousing and resilience, it’s better to close port, but you know, during that time, you know, there’s no reason to just like, because I had this idea when I was in no Sandra, and so I just started a company here. So a lot of like early days decisions. You don’t have a lot of like, you know, um, uh, numbers, uh, to, to back it up and you just like, you just do it. I think it required a lot of like luck, you know, to make the, uh, works, you know, But of course nowadays I can tell a lot of like, you know, for me, like why you start in Los Angeles, you know, why you made this decision. I can give you numerous reasons by the early days, you know? I don’t know. I don’t know. I just, I just did that.
Maggie: (00:27:07) Yeah, I a lot. And so we know that Chinese customers remain the largest demographic, um, for a yummy bite, but. Now we see more and more non Asian customers, you know, going on yummy buy and actually buying products. What do you think changed and how do you think that kind of contributes to the Asian culture going into mainstream culture?
Alex: (00:27:27) Yeah, I think, you know, first from business perspective right now, I have to, uh, uh, start up the company, uh, from, um, a smaller model. Folks also think we’re real people because of my background. Right. You know, uh, I know Chinese, you know, uh, I think the early days even smaller, I start with, you know, um, Chinese students in eye sticks. And, uh, because I know this customers in the, what they want, you know, what they, uh, their life. That looks like United States. So I NSN my customer, so I start from him. So when the business gets bigger and bigger, you know, you, you try to expand your customer base, right. You know, from Chinese students to Chinese Americans, right. Zen, you know, uh Asian-Americans because, you know, uh, in of the product sections where also the, the number one largest full, you know, Korea and the Japanese product as well, So he expanded to Asia. Right. And then, you know, I think, you know, recent years, you know, we know this you know, for Asian product list, Sinclair’s two, um, uh, two reasons behind that, you know, first is, you know, um, When, um, um, my mine and my Chinese and the Asians, you know, uh, the United States, you know, our shopping behaviors, you know, gonna have an impact on their behaviors, for example, in Los Angeles, you know, I bet, you know, uh, every single, uh, uh, um, Everybody know what is Boba tea? Nobody is patient on that nation because they just like, nobody is so popular here. And, uh, and, uh, full mainstream customers, nations, I think, you know, uh, Chinese I’ll, I’ll I’ll champion, these food become there in a weekday type options as well, you know, because there’s more and more Chinese and the Japanese restaurants. So when. Um, certain population, you know, get bigger and the beaker they’re there, they’re just like lifestyle gonna have an impact, you know, um, um, early, you know, for four years before, you know, for example, you know, for Hispanic, right? Even for European, uh, human groups, you know, so now their product getting more and more popular. I’ve got mine in my Ms. Shape, you know, nowadays, right? Yeah. I think, um, this, the first reason, and the second reason is because the culture, you know, uh, Asian culture, I mean Asian culture, I mean like patient pop culture, you know, K-pop deputies, Mendez. Uh, sorry. I have a huge influence on the mainstream cultures, especially in the young generations, you know, gen Z, you know, gen January millennial, gen Z. Right? So when certain cultures don’t have like influence to product behind this culture and not have attraction in the market as well. So. So, you know, if you recall my early day life in Thailand, rhino in my generation, in China, in a Western culture, I have a huge, huge influence. You know, I grew up, you know, uh, listening to Backstreet boys, Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, you know, watch NBA games, Hollywood movies. So, um, When I grew up, you know, I recognize all the, uh, no, uh, Western brands see, no, Coca-Cola right. No, I, I like McDonald’s right. I, Nike shoes, you know, all these brands, you know, even a Chinese brand with a foreign name, gonna have been a sales better. Right. You know, so let’s talk, you know, uh, uh, cultural influence for STEM products.
Maggie: (00:31:01) Well, yeah. Oh, okay. So we see, you know, we go on YouTube and we see a lot of, uh, videos of people kind of like opening up their yummy bite boxes and doing halls and everything like that. Um, and we know that, you know, yummy by works a lot of works a lot with these influencers. Can you talk us, talk about like your marketing plan with these influencers and how it kind of all. Ties in together. Um, cause we know that you, you know, sometimes you sponsor these influencers and it’s just, it’s really cool. Just seeing them like opening up these products and kind of taste testing it and everything like that. What was your marketing plan? Um, like when you were working with these influencers.
Alex: (00:31:35) Yeah, I think, you know, for different customers, we actually did have different, you know, marketing strategies, you know, for, for, for example, for Chinese natives. Right. You know, we tend to, uh, um, use as much as possible, but like ward off maps. Right. You know, we, we, we, we use a strategy called product. The rock and what that means means, you know, uh, we, we want to bring the, uh, most extreme the product from patient countries and this product going to kind of Mark for us marketing for us. Um, there is a lot of like scenarios I’ll treat her Facebook or Chinese, you know, social media. You’re going to see this, you know, somebody posts. Some, uh, merchandise, uh, it’s not like, you know, um, uh, uh, QOL influencers or whatever. It just like, no, just like everyday customers, wholesome scene, um, social network and their friend is going to us. Oh my God. Where are you? You know, , you know, Asian snacks, you know, they can, okay. I bought it from Yardi buy-sell for me, this a free, you know, cosmetic acquisitions, you know? So you, you always try to find them the most trendy product because, you know, before yummy buy there’s , there there’s each Marge, by the way you go to Um, You’re going to feel something like, you know, a lot of like a friend told me when you go to another branch, right. It feels like, you know, ACR, childhood memories, right? Why is that? You know, it’s losing though, it’s screwing up your memories. Right. But it’s not very good because this means all these brands is popular, you know, 10 years ago is still. ranch now, buddy, if you see in China, in Japan and Korea, now, there was a, there’s a brand evolutions. There’s always new brands coming up. But, you know, for oracy my kids, you know, all this brand is a little bit like life, the behind. Why is that? He knows, he was think about offline marketing. No, nobody. They actually talked to customer. You don’t, you don’t walk into and ask her the store manager. Okay. I won’t say is, can you obtain in a brain from China or from Japan? No, but they happened to, uh, To our website every day, you know, hundreds, thousands of customers be comments was, you know, we study constant behaviors from all the data as whether going to popular weather, whether it’s not right. So we always bring the most chinky product and this fall Asian caused by the fall. And then Asians, they know we tend to use content education and, and the influencers. Uh, why is that? ’cause, you know, uh, when I talk to all these, uh, mainstream Asian customers, they start to recognize Asian product, you know, because they love, we know, uh, Asian cultures, we heard Asian products good, you know, from their friends, uh, all families or whatever, right. Latinos, Z. They only recognize all of these category level. For example, is they won’t herb tea from China. Uh, snacks from Japan, uh, cosmetics makeup from Korean, maybe, but they cannot name a brand. Right. Then they don’t know the product. So be you sell them a sex from time. I think I’m not gonna debate, you know, uh, hesitate because they don’t know that haste, we don’t know, um, uh, where they Civi sweets salty or whatever. Right. And so, um, for this customer, you need to educate, for example, if you, uh, are you timber, um, bogs, you know, uh, taste they and tell you, okay, this is really, really sweet of this is like, Uh, abiding, right? So they’re going to fail eight. Oh. You know, uh, if we work, uh, uh, we, we work with a beauty influencer is teaching you how to do, and you should make us then, you know, okay. Uh, how to use it. So you’re gonna give it, buy it. So that’s why, you know, we tend to work with the influencer for mainstream customers, but, you know, we use the know one of miles for, for, uh, Asian passengers.
Maggie: (00:35:39) Yeah, well, that’s, that’s really cool. I love that. Yeah. And that goes the same way with any consumer buying habits and, you know, I would love to, or more about that product before I actually buy it. You know, if I, if it just all the brand name and I don’t know anything about it, but if I like go on YouTube, that’s where I mostly see all my reviews. Like if I can trust that certain product or that snack, if it tastes good, I look it up on YouTube. And if I see someone actually like provide a review on it and I see a lot of people on YouTube providing. Reviews on yummy by, and kind of opening up boxes and showing, you know, what they got. And so just educating about those products is very, very important on how to acquire new customers.
Bryan: (00:36:15) Definitely. Yeah. I mean, I kind of want to switch the conversation over to yummy bias rebranding. I know you mentioned some big news coming and we’re pretty excited for it. We want to hear from the founder and CEO first.
Alex: (00:36:28) Yes. You know, we recently, uh, You know, for, uh, for rebranding, it’s mainly because, you know, uh, uh, you know, our mission always, you know, uh, bring the world closer for everyone to experience any dry. Right. And let’s meet, uh, Asian customers. We won’t bring the most authentic, you know, Asian product, no tool or CS. So no matter where they ran out of they’ve always have a taste of their own time. Right. But, you know, fo um, a non Asian customers, we want to bring the best Albania. Right. You know, so they don’t have to go to Asian Patriots right. To, to experience that. And, you know, you can become, you can experience that from, uh, here. And, uh, and, uh, and so, you know, we won’t, our brand name is, you know, a mall, um, um, the international, but still have that Asian group. Right. And that’s, that’s why, you know, and also, you know, um, um, uh, when I started, uh, this company, we call works out for you on the back. Okay, bye retina way, uh, sharp name to Yami. Why is that? Because, you know, from the customer feedback feedback, you know, this year is we’re a few more in the mall, you know, for our, uh, uh, um, brand is not e-commerce for the Mason. No, I just like somewhere to shop, you know, it’s a mall, like, you know, lifestyle, right. You know, every time you Homestake. You know, um, you, you won’t taste it off your hometowns. You go to yummy by it’s Amalek your friends it’s know, say it’s a lifestyle. So we, we, we, okay. Let’s call ourselves mean and to make kids small, uh, international. So we still keep the Asian, you know, the Chinese characters, the, the yummy, right. So, you know, uh, when I interview all these Asian customers, they told us, okay, you know, uh, We want something. We can, we, um, like a suitable for our shopping spirits, but they still have that. I can feel this still, uh, authentic Asian website. You know, if I looking for mainstream, I couldn’t go to Amazon. You know, if I want to shop Asian product, I won’t shop at other patients’ shop the purchase pretty much like, you know, the mindset behind that is like, you know, when you go to a sushi restaurant, you’re going to ask your Japanese friend. Right. No, you’re good. Through Chinese restaurant, I’m going to ask your Chinese friends. So we still want the, is the brand name is more international, but the steel Cape, the authenticity.
Bryan: (00:39:04) Hm. I love that. I love that a lot too. And I just want to point out something for our listeners that is listening is here. How much Alex talks about listened to his customers that is extremely essential to building a successful company because when you establish to listen to your customers, you’re just putting out. Products that they may or may not like, you know, the fact that you used the word customer, this customer, that since the very beginning of your company, that’s how I know that, that you, you are the real deal. Like this is what, the reason why you’ve been so successful. So congratulations, Alex.
Alex: (00:39:36) Yeah. I was thinking, uh, everybody, everybody from my company knows that he dies two kids, this hobby, right. You know, every night if I, I went to bed. I searched. Yeah, me by a yummy social net. See how customer feedback every day, you know, the first thing I get up, you know, I searched on the bike, all sort of networks to see how customer reacts. You know, I can, I can get, you know, real customer feedback from all of these like social network posts. And for example, early days, 2013, 2040, I always get these feedbacks, right. You know, is too expensive, too expensive because you know, a porous, right. Uh, we were really small. Right. You know, we don’t have this huge buying power compared to each March, and then they ranch and they, you know, around 2015, 2016, recurring really, really fast, you know, cousin or paybacks, um, or, you know, Their shipping speed is too slow. You know, it takes days for them to ship out. Why? Because you know, the business again is getting there, but our operations is behind, you know, we don’t have all this operation power to ship out all the baggage, right. In NSA, you know, uh, two to three, uh, maybe around 2000 1780s. The company is always out of stock out of stock, out of stock. Why? Because, you know, we’re getting on and not be this, but, you know, uh, the supply chain, uh, is, is not there yet. So, and also with dos lucky, international shipments, every single, right. So, you know, this is something we’re working on right now. So we know you don’t have to look at all the data to, to, to know what happens to a company. You just like you. You would just listen to your customers. That’s the real feedbacks.
Maggie: (00:41:22) Awesome. That’s really insightful. So what are your goals for 2021 for a yummy bite?
Alex: (00:41:28) Yeah, I think, you know, yeah. Yeah. I think full-time depending why? No, I didn’t mention earlier. We know we are, uh, uh, um, uh, unit process helps rebuild the rebrand. So we know, uh, um, I will go is a, you know, a steel taped, uh, uh, good quality serve for the Asian communities. But that’s, you know, uh, uh, introduce more and more Asian stuffs to the mandation. And can we keep, so I think, you know, um, that’s, I think it’s also, uh, we’re missions, no, to, to bring the best of Asia to the scene, um, non Asian customers, you know, Singapore this in a way we can make the best product, you know, we can make quality product, you know, um, But that days we don’t have brand no, uh, we don’t how to, we don’t know how to, uh, uh, Fred, uh, tell a brand story every scene, but you know, we’d get him better and a better, um, days for all of these Asian brands, you know, I think it’s my mission at my job, you know, to introduce all these Asian brands to, to nation customer it’s.So we’re seeing.
Maggie: (00:42:37) Well, we’re very excited for all of that. And we have one last question for you, Alex, and that is what one advice could you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Bryan: (00:42:45) What would you tell yourself back in 2013?
Alex: (00:42:53) Um, I think, you know, for, from my personal experience in, you know, I think just like, you know, just do it, you know, because, um, a lot of people ask me know how to start a company. There’s always something that work. What if you know, what if I don’t have money? Well, then you find don’t have some of these startup, a company we speak. What if you know somebody already in the space doing pretty well? Do I have a chance to compete with them? Um, I always feel, you know, uh, the, for you, you feel don’t start, you never know, you don’t even have a chance to, to, to know anything, you know, it’s just like, You scaring yourself. Right. You know, just, just deployed and, uh, and when the problem comes, you know, just find the way to solve it. You don’t even know when should a lot of people just like buried by all these questions. They actually never stopped some say it just like, you know, the idea like stage. Right. And so my, in the wide, just like just to do it.
Maggie: (00:43:55) Great. Yeah. Thank you so much, Alex. And how can our listeners find out more about you and yummy online?
Alex: (00:44:00) I think, you know, the best way to just like go to a yummy buy.com. Right. See my, my, my Asian snack and, you know, they can, uh, they can, uh, validate and also, you know, they can go to a noise, scram, you know, uh, linking, you know, treaters, you know, for our official accounts, you know,
Maggie: (00:44:21) Okay. Great. Awesome. Well, it was awesome hearing your story today, Alex. Thank you so much for sharing with us.
Bryan: (00:44:27) Thank you, Alice. And I really like your quote by words, LA as wall, you know, it’s a yummy is great for customers. No need to fight traffic simply firstname.lastname@example.org
Maggie: (00:44:38). We know how bad the traffic is an LA definitely.
Alex: (00:44:41) Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Bryan: (00:44:42) Thank you so much for your time, Alex, and congratulations on all your success. So we’ll be here to cheer for you always.
Alex: (00:44:41) Thank you. Thank you.
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