We had the good fortune of connecting with Vania Bouffard and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Vania, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Becoming an overnight success is rare. There are many facets to starting a sauce business. People think it’s as easy as cooking up a sauce in their kitchen, bottling it up in a jar, and selling it in stores. The reality is that you have to consider things like recipe testing, the right kind of bottles you want to use, product liability insurance, permits, nutritional labels, and marketing. You have to build your brand. You’re not just selling your sauce, you’re selling yourself. You can have a great product but if people don’t believe in the you, then you won’t succeed.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Vania’s Gogo Foods started with a Korean Gochujang sweet and spicy sauce. Understanding that “Gochujang” may be a bit hard to pronounce, we decided to call it “Vania’s Gogo Sauce.” We formed our company and then the pandemic hit. The whole world was put on pause. In some way, it put things in perspective and made us think about our business and how we wanted to run it. We wanted to meet with the people we were selling to and develop that relationship. We feel that we differ from the bigger sauce companies out there because we hand make our sauce and know the care that goes into making an artisanal sauce. The consumers believe not only in our product but us as well. When we finally started to sell our sauce at Farmer’s Markets, we were met with challenges due to the COVID restrictions. The biggest challenge was that sampling was not allowed anymore. How do you get someone to buy your sauce without letting them try it? That is a challenging thing to do and we’re essentially asking the customer to trust in us. Our very first day was 117 degrees and we only sold three bottles. I don’t think anyone gets rich right from the beginning but we know that hard work, dedication, and honesty pays off in the end.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First we would wake up early and go hiking at Griffith Observatory. The views of the city early in the morning are fantastic and is worth the workout. We would also go to the Original Farmer’s Market on 3rd and Fairfax to eat. The variety of cuisine offered there is an example of the diverse cultural melting pot in Los Angeles. Then we could have a drink at Golden Road Brewery, K-town for the best Korean food in the world, CityWalk and Santa Monica Pier for some sight seeing and people watching and finally a bike ride through Venice Beach.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The Pasadena SBDC and its wonderful crew, namely Annie and Andrew! Our friends and family. Les and Rowena Krifaton. Katy Strouk and her team at Monsieur Marcel for taking a chance with us and helping us grow. All the supportive customers who keep coming back for more. Fellow vendors who give us support and encouragement like Djosefin and Marie with Black Forest Bakery. Finally, my partner in life and in business and my #1 fan, Christopher Han.

Website: www.vaniasgogosauce.com
Instagram: vaniasgogosauce
Facebook: vaniasgogosauce

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