When we look back over the past 18 months trying to bring Josu to life, there are so many people to thank. So many people provided help or inspiration. Some of these people are close to us. Most of them are far away and simply admired from a distance. But they all showed the way.
The StorytellersThese people showed us what's possible with independent brands committed to telling their story. Their brand stories invariably are personal, deeply connected to where they came from and incredibly inspiring. Their stories made us think that the Josu story might actually resonate.
Immi - The two Kevins are rethinking ramen with their delicious high protein, low-carb ramen noodles. Even better, they're doing it in public and sharing everything that they learn.
Flybyjing Sauce - Wow, is Jing amazing. In less than 2 1/2 years, she went from a Kickstarter campaign to private equity finding, launching in Target, Whole Foods and Costco and being the best selling hot sauce on Amazon (that was after only six months). What a ride and an inspiration.
Brightland - As we looked around for models, we quickly found Aish Iyer’s Brightland and just loved the emphasis on family-run, health, single-source origin, art plus food - we just loved the entire brand. When our branding agency, Noise13 asked us for brands we love, Brightland was at the very top. Someday we hope to have packaging as gorgeous as theirs.
Omsom - Vanessa + Kim Pham’s loud and proud ode to Asian cooking makes us smile every time we see it. Like Brightland, Omsom was at the top of the list when Noise13 asked for brands we love. The entire brand is a celebration of who they are and where they are from.
Josu is about our journey creating our family’s food culture. Our journey was influenced not just by where we are from (South Korea and the American South) but from all of our travels. The chefs who inspire us have similar journeys, creating a cuisine from a deep personal history as well as their own travels.
- JinJoo at Kimchimari - JinJoo’s blog was one of the first we started following. Her approachable recipes and obvious joy in Korean cuisine made us think salts with a Korean theme might be interesting. Kimchi Quesadillas?
- Emily Kim, better known as Maangchi on Youtube (with 628,333,579 views as of today). Wow. Like JinJoo, her daily celebration of Korean cuisine made us think Korean flavored salts might have a wider interest than just our family. And I hope we have done it correctly too, otherwise we will “hear about it from the Koreans.”
- Tu David Phu - as Chef Phu puts it, it was “the memory of taste that pulled him back to his roots”. He was also one of the first who said Josu’s story and products might resonate with a wider audience.
- Raman Frey and Jared Hirsh - These guys are the kind of chefs we aspire to be: able to open the fridge and create delicious, experimental meals night after night (and then share with others). Jared’s FB feed yesterday: “Tagliolini with braised short rib, sunchoke, lobster mushroom and pecorino romano.” Every post is an inspiration.
Thank you all for showing us the way.
Hae-Sin and Parker