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Nai Zhao

Charcuterie Me

Nai Zhao

Gabriel Flores  0:00  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship. This is your host, Mr. Gabriel Flores. Today I'm here with the founder of security Mia. I'm excited because she brought over some samples. I'm gonna dig into them as soon as she leaves. Nine xao How are we doing?

Nai Zhao  0:17  

I'm doing great. Thank you so much for having me.

Gabriel Flores  0:20  

I'm excited. I'm really excited because I feel like you're making food art. Honestly, you really are. Now before we get into the security meat, let's introduce who isn't?

Nai Zhao  0:30  

Sure. So I grew up here in Portland, Oregon. I am the child. I'm the youngest of three to refugee parents. They actually immigrated here in the 1980s. I'll give you a little bit of a backstory. We're kind of a small group. So me and people settled here in the 80s, following the Vietnam War, and the secret war. So we are a nomadic group of people that kind of settled wherever they could grow crop. And so that happened to be in the mountains of Laos. And actually, during the Vietnam War, the US CIA recruited some of our people along with Hmong people, to aid them and give intelligence and also serve in the war for US soldiers. And then after that war ended, we kind of had to resettle, the Laotian army thought of us as traitors. And so they were they had to flee. So my parents packed up everything they could as adolescents and as kids, so they settled in Thai refugee camps. For years. My dad, I know, his family were there for five years until they got sponsored over to the US, and they settled here in Oregon. And so that's kind of our backstory. They came here with nothing.

Gabriel Flores  1:40  

That's incredible. So this was back in the 80s.

Nai Zhao  1:44  

My dad came here in the 1980s. And his his siblings came over first and had to wait a couple of years because of the resources that sponsoring families had to get them over here. So they had to wait in refugee camps.

Gabriel Flores  2:00  

Wow. And that's, you know, it's kind of funny. I'm an 80s, baby. So I'm like, That's not too far away. I always feel like 9090 90 was like, two years ago, but

Nai Zhao  2:08  

yeah, so it's been like, 40 some years of the mean here. So I feel like our people are pretty new here. You know, in terms of settling in America.

Gabriel Flores  2:15  

Yeah. Now, what are your parents? You know, they came to America, did they become entrepreneurs, and they started their own businesses.

Nai Zhao  2:21  

Yeah. So my dad actually my entire life. He's been an entrepreneur. Growing up, he was a real estate agent. And then that evolved into owning apartment complexes with some friends. He ended up buying a livestock farm, which was really fun to grow up and going to farms to the farm with him. And then eventually, they bought a gas station. So he's a serial entrepreneur. So I feel like it just runs in my blood and like, now I'm taking it, owning it and running with

Gabriel Flores  2:48  

it. Love it. Now Chicoutimi what is it?

Nai Zhao  2:52  

So charcuterie me is a curated spread of artisan meats, cheeses and antipasto delivered right to your door. We have individual boxes, as well as a subscription option for people who just can't get enough. Oh, wow, they want to indulge, I'm totally like that, like, I want to treat myself when I feel like I deserve it. Yeah. So it's kind of like, treat yourself fi whenever you feel like so you can get a subscription. You can order individual boxes, I also do catering and events.

Gabriel Flores  3:19  

Oh, wow. And I must admit I for the folks that listening, when I actually scheduled you I posted I was we were doing this. I had so many people reach out to me and be like, Yeah, I actually had to occur to me at this event. And I had it at this wedding. So you've been all over the place.

Nai Zhao  3:34  

That's so cool. Yeah, I was at a networking event a couple weeks ago, and a friend was like walked somebody over because she wanted to meet shark cooter you meet so wild to me, like, who am I? All I do is run a small business.

Gabriel Flores  3:49  

No, it's amazing. It's a good business when people are actually wanting to come back to you. Yeah, word

Nai Zhao  3:53  

of mouth has been my biggest promoter of my business. So why should coutries So a friend of mine introduced me to charcuterie almost 10 years ago now and I fell in love with it immediately. Like I'm a complete omnivore. I love the meats and the cheeses. And I just like I was interning for this wardrobe stylist at the time. And I remember he had read a book. And he said that subscriptions are like the way to go. It's a great business model, I would agree is you get that guaranteed income from a customer for like 12 months, right if they opt in. So that was in my head. And then I ended up working at the City of Portland, prosper Portland, and I saw that I was in the entrepreneurship department. And I saw how many resources there were in Portland in the food community especially. And even my boss at the time had shout out Felton and Mary's they do barbecue sauces. So my manager had a side business and I was like, I can do that too. Like I want a piece of this pie. I saw how much support there was in the community. And I was like, let me just try it. I think charcuterie is awesome. I was waiting for my charcuterie platter at a local restaurant one day and I was like this could be a stuff scription like, I can only get it at a restaurant. need this in their homes? Yeah, that was when the seed was planted. And then fast forward to march 2020. When the city shut down, people started make baking bread, remember?

Gabriel Flores  5:13  

Oh my God, my wife tried to do the sourdough. Yeah, I never

Nai Zhao  5:17  

did the bread, but I saw people doing it and selling it out of their homes. And I don't think this person does it anymore. But they were selling bread. And then eventually I saw them post. They were selling charcuterie out of a pizza box. Oh, my friend sent it to me. And it pissed me off. Like I already had the idea. And I just didn't jump on it. That was like the little thing I needed to get it going. So I just put together a package, posted it on the Instagram, and just sold one box at a time built my website. I'm I'm a really nerdy person. So I like building websites, doing like HTML, but just Oh, wow, why? So like, that's pretty easy to me. So I created my website, took orders and just started fulfilling them on like, as I was working my full time job when we were all remote. So I could only deliver between four to 6pm. People just had to take that. Because I had to work during the day. Nobody could complain because I have to work. So that's how it started.

Gabriel Flores  6:17  

Wow. And so did word of mouth. So you just started marketing through Instagram, or did you go through like any fairs like farmers markets,

Nai Zhao  6:24  

not in the beginning, so I just was doing Instagram and my friends. Like that's how you can tell you have real friends as the ones who support your business. Okay, that's very true. Yeah, very true. And people just started buying and sharing about it. The biggest break I got in the beginning was November 2020. I got featured on a local morning show. And so I think that was what like, kind of made my business boom, I got a little small business feature on KP TV. And yeah, so I didn't do any markets because I'm still kind of a team of one. So I did my first market just last summer. And it's so much work. I recruited my sister. We were dying like our fever. We just don't have the I don't have the man capacity right now to do markets. But I love it because people get to try it and people learn about me. So yeah, eventually I'd love to do more markets.

Gabriel Flores  7:16  

You know, I think you brought up a great point by saying, you know how you're pissed off that somebody else did it? It's like that's, that's basically entrepreneurism, right? It's like the difference is doing it. Everybody has the idea. Everybody has an idea. But the difference between an entrepreneur and somebody else is the entrepreneur actually takes that idea. Put a business plan behind it, and moves forward.

Nai Zhao  7:36  

Yeah. And it's somebody told me it's not about being the first to market but it's about your execution and drink. I think one of the most valuable things I have is my vision. Anybody could sell charcuterie. But they don't have the same vision for the brand. Yeah. As I do.

Gabriel Flores  7:50  

Yeah. Like there's many me now. Yeah, there's I'm sure there are but you're the one you're the one here. So let's talk about like the the operations behind it. So what kind of food handling things? What kind of things do you have to go through to actually be able to do a security report?

Nai Zhao  8:06  

Yeah, so the very first thing I did when I knew I wanted to start this company was I registered it, I registered it with the Secretary of State, which is the state of Oregon got my Portland business license, those are pretty cheap. It's like $50 a year or something. And then the next thing is definitely a food handlers card. I think those are active for three, three or four years. And I've worked in food business before. So like, the questions are super easy for me. Once I started working in a Commissary Kitchen, you have to get insurance. So it's like a restaurant insurance. That was about $300 a year or something. So yeah, insurance. Oh, you definitely have to get certified by Multnomah County Health Department, okay, so they come to your kitchen, and they just inspect that everything is stored the way it needs to be that you have the right sanitizing solutions. And they kind of talk you through or you talk them through what your process is when you're preparing foods, and they just give you tips, or show you how to correct the way you're doing it before they certify you. Oh, interesting. And they're so supportive. Like, I remember, they wanted to come to my kitchen, and I kept like, avoiding her. Because I was so scared, like, and they're like, Oh, don't be afraid, like everybody's so scared, but they just want to support you. They want to show you the right way to do it. Because it's food safety. So yeah, don't be scared. They're so nice. They're

Gabriel Flores  9:22  

available. You know, this is I feel like this is the second time in this interview. You kind of mentioned the support you got from the food industry in Oregon. kind of talk about that. What? What kind of support Did you receive?

Nai Zhao  9:32  

Yeah, I'd love to shout it out. So when I had the idea, this was back in 2019 coworker was like, Hey, you should go through this business bootcamp. And I was like, Maybe I should. So I went through Ty X L. Ty is a huge organization like worldwide but they have tight Oregon locally. And so they have a business boot camp. So after work, when we were still working in person, I would two days a week, three hours at night, do this business boot camp and it's like a concentrated version of creating Her business plan, it was called a lean canvas. So they would bring in experts to talk you through different components of it, I had to validate my idea. I had to do market research, I had to practice pitching. And so that was about like an eight week or something thing. I came out of it, having validated my idea, and it was like, I recommend it to everybody, if they have an idea. Yeah, talk to people about it, practice it, like go for it. And one of the outcomes that they say about Ty is like, even if you go through and you find out your business is not viable. That's a good outcome, because then you don't waste your time. Fail fast, right? Yeah, fail fast pivot. I did that. So when I worked at prosper Portland, and one of the programs we have is inclusive business resource network. So prosper funds, about 16 different community organizations to provide business technical assistance. And so I worked in that department, I met a lot of people within the food industry, they support other businesses as well. So you can get free workshops, you can get classes, you can meet with a business advisor, and they definitely want to support business owners of color. Like that's the main priority. They have grants and a monthly newsletter of resources. So everybody should take a look at it nice.

Gabriel Flores  11:11  

Now, so you know what, what you there's a lot of work, right? Being a small business owner, going through the process, going through a business kind of incubator, and then doing it while doing a full time job. What motivates you to keep going?

Nai Zhao  11:26  

What motivates me is I want to take this as far as I possibly can. I just want to like pave the way I want to be a representation of what you can achieve with a dream, because my parents never like told us to like chase your dream, they wanted us to pursue something safe, right? It was about survival for them. And so I did go into school for something safe. They wanted me to do doc, like be a doctor. But I was not studious. So I went, I started as a science major. I'm not academic. I tried

Gabriel Flores  11:57  

to build code. You build your building code. You're nice. How does that?

Nai Zhao  12:03  

Like I'm a nerd at heart. But so I went into social work, but I never got that creative outlet, because I was like, I'm gonna save job. And so that's kind of what motivates me is I always knew I could build a brand. I just never got a chance to do it based on my experience. So yeah, I want to be an example of for especially for young people, that if you set your mind to something, just try, like just go for it. Yeah, see how far you can get.

Gabriel Flores  12:29  

Yeah. Now you talked about the brand. And you talked about like website design. What what, what goes into building a brand,

Nai Zhao  12:36  

what goes into building a brand is

Gabriel Flores  12:39  

or what wouldn't actually specifically what went into building Shakira.

Nai Zhao  12:42  

Glittery is I have a point of view like I knew that I love charcuterie, it's my passion and I know other people love charcuterie as well. So it was easy for me because I was like, selling to myself. I was imagining the customers myself imagining them having the same taste as I do, wanting to treat themselves and like the voice I use in my social media and my post it's like very fun, lively and trying to be vibrant, making it accessible to people who don't know a lot about charcuterie want the convenience of charcuterie? You know, we don't have that much time in our day. Yeah, that's true. Yeah. I don't know what

Gabriel Flores  13:18  

yeah. Now what about the what about the actual meats and the cheeses? Where do you get those products from?

Nai Zhao  13:23  

I get them from wholesale distributors. I work with Peterson cheese. I do buy some local cheeses sometimes, but most of them are imported. The local ones are kind of expensive for me right now. You know, they're

Gabriel Flores  13:36  

local. Yeah, this local

Nai Zhao  13:38  

Yes. Yeah. So I buy them here. I buy them from them. i Right now I'm using cheddar Cruz from face rock Creamery, which is local. So it's just like kind of depends on what I'm looking for. At the time, and I will buy new ones to test them out. See if I like like the box. I bought you. I'm trying out this new Teresa that I found nice. And some new cheese's like Jasper Hill, it's a hard harvestin It's a soft ripened brie. That's really good, too. So yeah, so I kind of like it's trial and error. Like try some things. See if I think that maybe it'll appeal to a lot of people's taste and then incorporate it.

Gabriel Flores  14:11  

Yeah, totally. Yeah. Now do you go out and like test all of these items before you put them in your box?

Nai Zhao  14:16  

Yeah. So I get to I get to order online like I'm a total online shopper. So I order my online even though I pick it up locally. I'll just look through their catalog and see if it like piques my interest. And then I'll order one one portion of it and try it out and see if I like it. I get feedback from friends and family if they like it and so I have a pretty good right now like a starter charcuterie platter of cheeses that I know a lot of people like

Gabriel Flores  14:43  

nice yeah, you know I was thinking right now about Portland salt company. I just listened to that podcast you want I think the the pita salt that they have if you have hummus in your charcuterie. It goes pretty well with the hummus. It's pretty solid about

Nai Zhao  14:56  

Yeah, I follow them on it. Yeah, I heard the episode and

Gabriel Flores  15:00  

Ah, they're great. They're awesome people now, back security me, what keeps you up at night as a business owner?

Nai Zhao  15:06  

So many things because I wear every single hat. It's like a list of things that are urgent, a list of things that I want to do. So it's just yeah, like mentally there's so many things I know I'm out of nuts right now. I haven't ordered them. I have emails that I need to return. It's a lot of inventory. Because even in one box, there might be like 20 different items. And so it's all in my head like do I need order produce yet? No. Do I need order cheese yet salami yet? There's an endless list of things.

Gabriel Flores  15:36  

How do you stay on track of all your your To Do lists?

Nai Zhao  15:40  

Do what you can do wait till tomorrow.

Gabriel Flores  15:47  

Procrastination is great, because it gives you just enough time to get things done.

Nai Zhao  15:50  

Yeah. Because in the morning, it's like I have to make the boxes, then I have to deliver them.

Gabriel Flores  15:55  

Wow. So you still kind of do this all by yourself.

Nai Zhao  15:59  

By myself. Sometimes I call on like an on call delivery driver. I've tried to hire a couple of times haven't been successful. Like I missed the big hiring thing before the Great Recession. Because I was still working full time I couldn't hire. And I wasn't big, you know, I hadn't grown enough to feel comfortable putting somebody on staff.

Gabriel Flores  16:18  

So you've grown big enough that you can bring on staff, I want

Nai Zhao  16:21  

to bring on somebody part time, I need a food stylist so that at least the manual labor can free me like if I don't do it, if I don't have to do that I can focus on creative stuff. Like I love marketing. I love testing ads, I want to do a photo shoot. I've only ever done one photo shoot for the company to over two, almost two years ago. Wow. So those are the fun parts for me like partnerships and collaborations I haven't been able to focus on because I'm doing all the actual work

Gabriel Flores  16:48  

used to you keep mentioning like marketing and branding. Do you have a background in marketing and branding?

Nai Zhao  16:53  

No, I just feel like I've grown up with social media. And so I would follow brands that I love, especially fashion brands. And so I've always observed and felt like, that job would be so fun. And so I just want to test things out. I want to have cute campaigns. You know, it's just fun for me. Yeah.

Gabriel Flores  17:10  

Then what do you use to kind of do your marketing?

Nai Zhao  17:14  

Social media? Um, I'm not so great at ads. I have one Google Ad going. It's like, not, it's like $10 a day. It doesn't get me much, but I just want to show up. I'm just testing it out. Um, I haven't done Facebook ads as much those haven't been as fruitful. So yeah, marketing is just my social media. If people aren't paying attention to their Google business profile. It's a hidden gem. Like some of my photos that I've uploaded. They're, like 20,000 views. Oh, interesting. Oh, photo, like it's crazy. It's like, oh, but add photos because people are seeing them somehow.

Gabriel Flores  17:50  

That's very good to know. Yeah. That's pretty snazzy. Now, let's I wouldn't I kind of want to have this go through the process of like, what are the people telling you about the safety requirements and all these things you mentioned there kind of go into your kitchen and what are they telling you like what are the things that you just have to abide by

Nai Zhao  18:06  

things that you have to abide by? is where to store the fresh fruits and meats and cheeses for me because the meat is cured. It's not like a raw meat so it can be stored next cheez it can be stored next to fruits and veggies, but if you had like raw meat and eggs and poultry, those have to be like on different shelves and stuff. Oh, interesting. Yeah. Dry Goods are okay on the same shelf like my boxes, my peanuts and other dry things are okay, but when it's inside the cooler, yeah, there's different standards you have to have like, I think meat cannot be above eggs on the shelf. Because of the dripping. Oh, potentially. Which I don't have to worry about. But

Gabriel Flores  18:46  

yeah, no. is it do you rent like a kitchen like a professional kitchen?

Nai Zhao  18:50  

Yeah, I run a Commissary Kitchen. So I share it with other makers. Okay. And it's hourly.

Gabriel Flores  18:55  

Okay. So do you just kind of keep your items there? And then you go there.

Nai Zhao  18:59  

Yeah, the storage is an issue for me. So right now I'm working on getting my own kitchen space because I want to be there whenever I want to be there. Right. So sometimes I forget things at my home because I have to store like boxes there. So it's a hassle. I drive back sometimes in the morning. I'm a creative I'm like,

Gabriel Flores  19:16  

I love it. I'm owning it. What would you say is the hardest part about being a business owner?

Nai Zhao  19:25  

The hardest part of being a business owner is managing your time I think because there's so many things that goes into it. You have to manage inventory, you have to manage emails, you have to take calls while producing something that you hope people want to buy and keep buying and coming back to buy.

Gabriel Flores  19:41  

Yeah. What about let's flip it what what has been easy?

Nai Zhao  19:46  

What is easy? I think the making like now I've gotten to such a routine that my process when I'm making the boxes is pretty easy for me. I know how much time I'll need a day. Also social media is just fun. It's not easy because Instagram was hard It keeps changing. Yeah, but it's still fun. So I think that's easy because like, I just put it out there and see how it performs to me like that's fun.

Gabriel Flores  20:08  

Yeah, I same way I don't. In fact, I think I was talking about like, brand strategies the other day brand guidelines. And I'm like, I have a very, very loose brand guideline.

Nai Zhao  20:18  

Name. I'm just like, it's my own voice kind of thing. That's easy. Yeah.

Gabriel Flores  20:23  

Now, have you ever had a moment of like, self doubt about the business?

Nai Zhao  20:26  

Yes. Last summer, I got like the one of the biggest orders I had at the time, and it was for the pleasers. Oh, wow, it was wild. And I said yes. Knowing I couldn't really do it by myself.

Gabriel Flores  20:39  

Yeah, that's exactly. Good, man. That's how entrepreneurs live. Right? You say? Yes, yeah.

Nai Zhao  20:46  

And then so it was like during playoff time, which was super exciting. So I don't remember. I think this was June. And like, they didn't know when they would need it, because it depended on when the Blazers lost. So they wanted to like celebratory day for all the staff. So as a huge order, and I ended up delivering it late. We stayed we like pulled an all nighter, it was me and like two three other people kind of taking shifts when they could come or not. It was like my cousin and a couple acquaintances. So we ended up delivering it late. I was really hard on myself. And yeah, I just kind of like needed a couple days to process it. Because I wanted to do better. I just didn't have the capacity. It was a learning experience. But it was like the biggest opportunity. The freakin Blazers from Portland. Yeah, so I haven't heard from the person that ordered. But it's okay. It's okay. It was super exciting. And I learned from it. Um, yeah. So I just like had to like go dark a couple of days. And then I reached out to back to community right, I reached out to another food entrepreneur. And Nikki said Newton, she just meals for heels. It's a vegan. Oh, interesting delivery service. She actually has a spa off at the red and salmon, like a little standalone food walk up window. I reached out to her. And it was funny because I told her what happened. And she was like, Oh my gosh, I just went through the same thing this week. Like it was something that made me want to quit. And so it felt so good to like, talk about it with somebody and feel like heard or you know that she understood what I was going through.

Gabriel Flores  22:12  

You know, you mentioned this opportunity with the Blazers, you mentioned opportunity on the news. How did these opportunities arise?

Nai Zhao  22:20  

I really believe that if you build it, they will come like, I've been so blessed. And so lucky that I built a brand that people can see, like I'm, I'm pretty visible. I think I have good SEO on you know, Google if you search I could do for me. Yeah, um, so people can find me and like these opportunities just come like I have a lot of earned media. I got a Portland monthly feature. Like I was printing. It was my first print in a magazine. And it's a Portland monthly. It's still on newsstands right now. Yeah. So that was really cool. Yeah. So I just think if you build it, and you focus on it, and you have a strong brand, the opportunities will come.

Gabriel Flores  23:01  

No like it. I like it. Now what what advice would you have for like the listeners at home that are maybe thinking about getting into this business,

Nai Zhao  23:09  

into this business, like into this, like into the food business,

Gabriel Flores  23:12  

or just just advice

Nai Zhao  23:15  

advice, I think you need to just go for it. So when I first had the idea, I wanted to be the HelloFresh of charcuterie. But I lagged for over a year because imagine the packaging, like I had no idea what to do. I didn't have any money until when the pandemic hit, I pivoted. I was like, let me just do something in person local delivery. But yeah, just try it. If it goes well, like I wasn't scared of failing, I knew that if I failed, I still had a job. And I could do something else. You know, I wasn't putting all my eggs into this charcuterie basket. So just try it out. learn as you go. Like I was literally buying stuff at Costco in the beginning, because that's all I knew. Until I could like get the capacity to research where to buy cheese from where to buy the great the good meat that I like to use. Another one is if you're starting a business, try not to do it by yourself. Because I started it by myself. So now I don't know if I could bring somebody on and give them equity. Because I've built it. No. So if you can come up with an idea with somebody so then you can have a teammate.

Gabriel Flores  24:17  

Yeah, you know, you kind of actually mentioned this a bit like networking. How important has networking been for you?

Nai Zhao  24:22  

It's been amazing. Like it's word of mouth is my biggest marketing and the relationships that I built with people along the way. Like I just did a graze table for Peterson cheese. Actually, this week was the American Cheese Society Conference in Portland that I had no idea about until which I should know I should be a member but I can't afford it. But my cheese person recommended me to his company Peterson cheese and they hired me to do a grades table. So yeah, like that opportunity came because I've been ordering cheese from them for like a year and you know we have a good relationship. That's something I've learned as I've gotten older. Were like in college. I did not invest anything into relationships, you know. And I think as you get older, you have more confidence. And because I started doing like fashion styling before I did food, I had to network in Portland. And so I got I got comfortable meeting people. And yeah, so relationships are everything. Definitely find your community. Because there's a big food community. I heard Portland salt company talk about the fic is the Food Innovation Center.

Gabriel Flores  25:28  

And I think nukes hot sauce also went through that as well. You know, there's, it's interesting how powerful networking can be for now, you mentioned something very interesting. You mentioned that, you know, when you're in college, you you didn't really have much relation or didn't really pay too much attention to relationships. But you said also because of confidence. Mm hmm. Where did you find confidence? How did you build it?

Nai Zhao  25:50  

I think I'm working on it every day. But anything I'm competent, because I believe in what I'm doing right now. Yeah, if you tell me no, it's not like a no, it's not like a final no period. It's like, there's a way you just have to, you just have to believe in yourself believe that there's a problem to the solution. Yeah, I know. It's just like an opportunity to pivot. Yeah, like I pitched to. Bridges is a meeting that built Oregon does. And its meetings with buyers of like New Seasons, I think basics market was there, I pitched a little charcuterie container box thing that I would want to see in retail. And the main issue is when you slice cured meat, it's like a deli meat. So it can only last three days. Oh, interesting. Meaning basically, you can't get into a store because how can they sell something on a shelf in three days? By the time they get it, but when I heard that they were like, maybe you should just not include me. And I was like, no. Sorry. cluttery means cured me. So yeah, like I heard that and that's fine. I'm just tabling that opportunity for now because there's other things I can focus on.

Gabriel Flores  27:00  

So does that is that true? Security meet mean cured meet. Yeah.

Nai Zhao  27:04  

So charcuterie comes from the word like flesh in French and I can't remember now I just did a tick tock on interesting charcuterie means cured me. So that's why when you go to a restaurant, they have charcuterie boards. Sometimes they have cheese boards, because they're separate. Oh yeah, charcuterie is mainly the meat. Gotcha. That makes sense. I think it means cooked me. Yeah. Oh, interesting. Like cured me. Yeah.

Gabriel Flores  27:32  

Learn something new every day. Yeah, look at that. So where do you see security me going to the next five years? Where are you at?

Nai Zhao  27:40  

In five years? I definitely want to be able to ship my boxes. That's something that you know, I still have the HelloFresh dream. Yeah, I like it. Um, but it's like the logistics and packaging that I don't have the time to research right now. I definitely want to have a bigger team, of course, a headquarters I just yeah, there's like the limit doesn't exist. It's like what I can dream and what I can execute. Yeah,

Gabriel Flores  28:08  

yeah. And you know, it'd be interesting to if you're able to do it on a national level and maybe have individuals at those locations helping you create the boxes

Nai Zhao  28:18  

Yeah, like franchise is something that's been thrown around Oh, man. But there's yeah, there's already people. You know, there's charcuterie everywhere now, like that was like one of the biggest industry booms during the pandemic Realty. Because now my feed because I do charcuterie like my feet is all charcuterie from everywhere. Oh, interesting. Once you start searching shark, Cooter, you'll start to see, yeah,

Gabriel Flores  28:39  

there's like a hidden little network. Yeah,

Nai Zhao  28:42  

it's big. Wow, people that are bigger than me and like, on a scale bigger than me, but that's not stopping me. Because you know, I'm starting here. Oh, yeah, grow where I can.

Gabriel Flores  28:52  

That's what I'm talking about. Speaking of social media, where can the folks at home find you? Where are your social media? What's your website? How can they actually purchase and we're where do you deliver to?

Nai Zhao  29:02  

Yeah, so website is I deliver like between 20 and 25 miles outside of Portland. So when you go to checkout, you pick your box that you want and I have a thing that pops up, you choose your delivery date. So if you were to order today, it's Sunday, the earliest you can order for is Wednesday, so about two days in advance. And then yeah, I do the local deliveries. If you have an event, you can put in a submission form for your event and then I can coordinate whether I have availability that day or not. Oh, and then Instagram is Facebook is charcuterie. Me follow us on Tiktok and Instagram. That's where I put my focus

Gabriel Flores  29:44  

perfectly. Yeah, I'm currently I need to narrow my focus because I have like the LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I'm not really active on Twitter. I think like LinkedIn, I get probably the most traction just because of the podcast is kind of professional your

Nai Zhao  29:59  

audience Yeah, you know, I did it finally I didn't analysis like Where should I put my marketing efforts? Instagram is not like a cut because I have a question. How did you hear about us? They don't choose Instagram most of the time, but it's more fun for me. So

Gabriel Flores  30:13  

same with me. I have like, nobody follows me on Instagram, but that's where I spend most of my time.

Nai Zhao  30:19  

You know, we need to adjust some things. And then Twitter it took two years for people to start mentioning me on Twitter like I've had the account but just this week, people have been like tagging charcuterie me so it's like, yeah, random.

Gabriel Flores  30:31  

Nobody tags me on Twitter. They will. please tag me. Yeah, you can add me. Nice. Thank you so much for being on the show. Such a great conversation. I'm excited to dig into the security bar myself. Folks at home please please could support Niner in the security me business. I'm really excited again, please let me know. Let in fact, before we go, is there anything you want to say to the guests like that maybe might be able to help you? Hey, you're looking for help. Looking for part time positions? Yeah, shout out.

Nai Zhao  31:00  

I have the job listed on my website. Looking for a food stylist part time. Yeah,

Gabriel Flores  31:08  

what is the food stylists?

Nai Zhao  31:09  

A food stylist? I made that up. I think I just need somebody to make the boxes. Food stylee Yeah, it's all about making it pretty. It's about making it look nice. Yeah, juggling so designing the box perfect. I think it's an actual job, but I like I

Gabriel Flores  31:28  

thought it was like dance sounds legit. Where Where did you learn to do this? Pinterest. Oh, my goodness night. Thank you so much. Again, folks, please visit And you can please follow the shades of E on Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok and all those other locations. Although again, I don't have much

Nai Zhao  31:51  

but build it. They will come if you

Gabriel Flores  31:54  

build it. They will come Ladies Gentlemen, thank you and have a great night.

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