It all began out of necessity. When my husband and business partner, Iruk, our daughter, and I arrived in Ottawa, we craved fresh homemade Kimchi. The initial attempt at Iruk's Kimchi was decent, and it only improved as we experimented with different ingredients, ratios, and family recipes. The idea of crafting our own Kimchi and selling it wasn't on our radar when we first came to Canada. However, the power of word of mouth within the tight-knit Korean community exceeded our expectations. The suggestion from a close friend to participate in a local farmers' market marked the commencement of our unexpected journey into entrepreneurship. A venture that allowed us to showcase our cultural food background!
Simultaneously, we explored opportunities to expand our offerings. I noticed that the City of Ottawa had initiated a program seeking mobile food concessions with diverse and healthy options. Despite a tight deadline of just 10 days and the hustle of year-end festivities, we dedicated ourselves to crafting a business plan. Securing a prime spot, we introduced Bibimbap featuring our unique sauces and Kimchi. The 'from scratch' Bibimbap gained popularity, with loyal customers returning year after year.
Our foray into the business world, starting with local farmers' markets, proved successful. From the outset, we harbored grand aspirations for the future, investing considerable time in researching and studying Korean cuisine. Frequent trips to Korea provided hands-on training on various aspects. The deeper we delved, the more our excitement grew. Korean cuisine, encompassing Kimchi, sauces, vinegar, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, emerged as a pioneer in fermented foods. Fermentation and local sourcing became the defining themes of our venture. Our ultimate goal is to run a Suul (Korean alcoholic beverages) boutique and produce natural vinegar alongside Kimchi and fermented sauces in a small farm setting.
While the path we've chosen hasn't been swift or easy, the unwavering support from our customers serves as our greatest motivation. Whenever fatigue and uncertainty set in, we reflect on the sketch drawing of our dream - guiding us toward our destination and reminding us of the "why" behind our current endeavors. Our journey, as Raon [ra:on] means happy and pleasant in pure Korean, is one to be savored.
By Hana, Co-Founder