We had the good fortune of connecting with Wynn Austin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wynn, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I was looking for an Asian sauce that didn’t have sugar, preservatives, and MSG, or gluten, I realized that there was a huge void in the grocery stores. I decided to experiment in my own kitchen and created my own version of Saté sauce, which is inspired by a Vietnamese sauce that I grew up eating. After years of sharing my sauce with my friends and family, they were hooked! It became a must have jar in their home and mine! I knew there must be other people that loves Asian sauces but are committed to eating a more health conscious diet. I decided to take a leap of faith and started Wynn’s Kitchen.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Growing up, I would never have imagined having such a diverse resume. I worked in finance for 10 years, then started a luxury wedding planning business, which I had for 12 years, and a year and a half ago, I officially launched Wynn’s Kitchen. Every career path has taught me a diverse amount of skills. I’ve always loved to cook and am a huge foodie, but the food business found me. In 2016, I started suffering from anxiety despite being an avid tennis player. Desperate to feel better, I focused on eating healthier, by cutting out sugar, and focusing on whole foods. My health started to improve, but I was craving Asian food. I started reading the nutritional labels and realized most of the Asian sauces that I used to cook with contained sugar, gluten, and/or preservatives. I noticed a huge void in the marketplace, because I couldn’t eat any of the sauces that were sold on the shelves. I decided to start experimenting and created an Asian sauce inspired by a Vietnamese sauce called Saté, but with all natural ingredients and no sugar added. After making hundreds of jars of sauce for my friends and family, I decided to take a leap of faith and turned it into a business. At the time, I had no knowledge about the food product business and the information online was very confusing. It took me years of research before I was able to have a product that I could bring to market. There is nothing easy about Entrepreneurship or growth. It’s a rollercoaster, and you really have to be passionate about your product or services to make it worth it. You really have to believe in your product and yourself. My mission through Wynn’s Kitchen, is to be able to share natural Asian food products with flavors inspired by the Vietnamese cuisines that I grew up eating. I truly believe that we don’t have to sacrifice flavor for quality.
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?
There are so many amazing spots in San Diego! If my best friend was visiting San Diego, these are my must do and must eat list! Hiking in Torrey Pines and lunch at The Lodge at Torrey Pines because they have the best hamburger Sushi at Ken’s sushi workshop Paddle boarding in Mission Bay then head over to Almost Famous for lunch Kayaking tour in La Jolla with lunch at Puestos, some desserts and coffee at Michele Coulon Dessertier, and dinner at Herringbone.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I feel like I am incredibly lucky. I know that I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today if it wasn’t for all the people in my life that believed in me. This is true, especially in times when I didn’t believe in myself. There are a few people I would like to recognize! Tammy Donofrio, Founder & boss babe of Fitchick Granola. She was the only person that I knew in the CPG Industry when I was doing research. She was a wealth of information and really helped me take the first baby steps. Also, Whitney Wholer, Founder & boss babe of Just Made Keto. She gave me so much support and helped me find my first local co-packer to produce my sauce! Also, at this point in my business, I have been working on raising money for my business, and the scariest part of the whole process in getting started is doing the financial forecasts. I couldn’t believe that my friend Nikki Ostrem, Founder & CEO of NOCO Strategies Inc. just launched her business teaching start ups how to create a financial model. Without her, I don’t think I could have been able to finish my pitch deck!