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Conversations with Andrew Lee

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I am a Golf Professional and my Wife Zin is a Respiratory Therapist. Even though non of our professions are food-related, my dad had many restaurants and I have always been in the food scene. Previously, I had a calamari stand at the 626 Night Market called Cali Calamari as well as a donut ice cream sandwich stand called Square Donut Ice Cream. As far as ZinDrew Chili, It was never meant to start as a business in the beginning.

Zin loves spicy food and condiments. She likes to use chili oil in almost everything she eats. The only problem is, she doesn’t like any of the chili oils that are available at the markets. We have been searching for a long time and never one that she loves. Finally one day, I decided to make our own to see if I can make her happy. I bought all the ingredients and started trying different combinations. Finally, I create something that she just loved! From there we gave it to some friends and family to try. They all loved it and pretty soon, a lot of people started asking us for our chili oil. That is when I decided to bottle it and sell it. The name ZinDrew is what our friends has called us as a couple for many years, so we thought that ZinDrew Chili was the perfect name to call our creation.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When we first started, we made everything in our home kitchen. As our demand grew, I bought a second wok to speed up the process. As more sales started to come in, we were getting overwhelmed sometimes spending 9 hours a day just making chili oil and packaging. It was definitely hard work. With every struggle, we managed to overcome it. Now we have a Co-packer that helps us make the chili oil so it frees up a lot of time for us to focus on other aspects of the business. During Covid-19, supply chain is a big issue. In the beginning, garlic prices was almost 3x more expensive. Also, glass jars supplies were very limited and took a long time to come in.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a Golf Professional. I have been playing golf for 28 years. I played professional golf for a while and now I just teach. Golf has always been my “thing” however, business is my passion.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Perseverance is very important. Starting any business, there are roadblocks but you have to keep going and work out the difficulties. Keep learning. I am still learning and I am by far from where I want to be. I have to keep improving and try to take this business further.

Pricing:

  • OG Batch 9oz is $7
  • OG Batch 9oz is $7
  • X Batch 9oz is $9
  • X Batch 16oz is $15

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Helen Arase

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