Artisanal food businesses founded by Asian American women proudly market products that are rooted in and influenced by their culture.
Many businesses benefit from social media engagement as it helps them build a loyal and passionate customer base, but they often endure racist and sexist comments.
Fly By Jing (Los Angeles, CA)
Famed for its Sichuan chili crisps, delicious dumplings, and simmering hot pots, as well as its good-humored online presence.
At a time when violent incidents against Asian Americans are on the rise, this kind of online violence isn’t taken lightly. But founder, Jing Gao, has found that making its clients laugh is one of the best ways to neutralize online trolls.
Omsom (Brooklyn, NY)
Sisters Kim and Vanessa Pham co-founders of Omsom, a start-up that makes all-in-one seasoning packets like Thai Larb and Vietnamese Lemongrass BBQ, aren’t opposed to mocking trolls’ comments with humor but said “there hasn’t been anything funny” about the online cruelty directed at their company.
Omsom deletes plainly offensive comments from its social media feeds but keeps those that could lead to a fruitful conversation.
Food Biz Wiz (San Francisco, CA)
A consultancy founded by Alli Ball that helps early-stage packaged food entrepreneurs. She said that how businesses responded to online trolling could differ.
The 38-year-old founder doesn’t think there’s a right course of action for everyone as it depends on the business’ brand style and brand voice, as well as the mental and emotional capacity a founder has to respond to.
“Jing is this wonderful, sassy woman,” she said of Fly By Jing’s founder, “so it feels aligned with her brand personality.”
Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen (Brooklyn, NY)
Known as “the best in the West” by Malaysians living in the US. This food business makes sambal, a traditional chili paste, and other products found in Malaysia like kaya jam (coconut jam).
Last summer, a man named “Don from Philly” emailed the founder, Auria Abraham, claiming that her Sambal Oelek recipe wasn’t authentic. She shared a portion of his message on her Instagram feed which sparked jokes about Pennsylvania being the birthplace of sambal, as well as serious statements about stepping out of the “good immigrant” role to call out rudeness, mixed with quips and laughing emojis.
Himalayan Dumplings by Kyikyi (Beaverton, OR)
Tenzin Yeshi, also known as Kyikyi, uses her social media platform to raise awareness about all aspects of Tibet, where her parents were born and fled to Nepal.
Occasionally, Kyikyi takes her time to respond and is respectful about it. She even adds ‘Have a good day’ to her rebuttals.
Nguyen Coffee Supply (Brooklyn, NY)
It is America’s first specialty Vietnamese coffee importer and roaster. The founder, Sahra Nguyen, has zero tolerance for trolls.
Antagonistic or demeaning remarks are deleted or hidden on their online channels, as the 34-year-old founder doesn’t want her employees to enter a toxic environment. She’s also mindful of customers as she doesn’t want them to experience that type of negativity either.