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Exploring Life & Business with William Kwak of Keto Krack’d

Today we’d like to introduce you to William Kwak.

Hi William, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
All throughout high school and college, although I was working out and was in relatively decent shape, I completely disregarded my diet, sleep, and mental health and it wasn’t until my first week of working in the corporate world that I knew I needed to make a change. If my lack of focus at work wasn’t a sign the 4 cups of coffee in the morning just to make it through to lunch definitely was.

Being so tired and lethargic at work made me re-evaluate my diet and sleep habits. I realized I couldn’t continue living off the dollar menu at fast-food restaurants, nor could I continue sleeping at 4am as I had done all throughout high school and college. These bad habits I’ve built up throughout the years were finally catching up to me and it had a huge toll on my health and performance at work. When I realized this, I had all this motivation to put in 100% of my effort and change everything all at once. I began working out more frequently, meal prepped, and was sleeping at 10pm every night and I felt amazing. Everything was great until my motivation began to run out and I was back to my normal terrible habits within a few weeks.

I realized I was trying to make too many changes at once and I was relying completely on motivation instead of building healthy habits that I can turn to for when motivation runs out. So, I made another attempt to improve my health but this time, by changing one factor at a time.

My first challenge was diet. I didn’t find a good diet that I felt I could sustain until one day, my friend’s cousin was telling me about this crazy diet he was on where all he ate was fatty cuts of meat and he noticed health improvements. At the time, the diet sounded so ridiculous to me because it turned my knowledge of “healthy” eating on its head. I started researching the diet and that diet was the “ketogenic diet”, which consists of low-carbohydrates and, high fat. After researching keto, I felt I could sustain it and ever since starting it, I’ve continued it and  haven’t looked back.

Throughout the years, maintaining keto was relatively easy because stores were beginning to add low-carb / keto treats to their stores. Every time a new low-carb / keto treat came out, I bought it but was disappointed by the taste Every. Single. Time. Disappointing treat after disappointing treat, I knew I could make something more palatable so I began researching low-carb confections and began experimenting.

I felt that if I truly wanted to make outstanding low-carb confections, I needed to learn the basics of regular confections and apply my knowledge of low-carb ingredients so I could convert them to low-carb treats. So, I began my journey of learning about chocolates and confections by taking chocolate courses, reading confectionary books, and after making hundreds of test batches of a variety of confections, I was able to create sugar-free, dairy-free, and keto-friendly confections that don’t taste like a sacrifice!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Although I finally launched my business a few months ago in July 2021, it hasn’t been a smooth ride. I originally thought it would take me, at most, one year to launch, but it took nearly two and a half years as unforeseen circumstances forced me to make drastic pivots.

My initial plan for the business was to fund it with my savings and monthly income by continuing to work full time. A majority of those funds would be allocated towards contracting a food manufacturer to mass-produce my recipes. I spent nearly six months trying to find a manufacturer that would take on a small business as myself and when I finally did, they informed me that I needed to change my recipes as it would not work with their machines. For months, I frantically redeveloped my recipes so it would work with their machines and when was ready for my first production run, I was laid off from work. This meant that after my initial production run, it would become unsustainable for me to continue working with a manufacturer so I had to change my business plan.

Due to the dramatic change in my financial situation, I decided to pursue the path of least resistance in terms of both time and money to get my business going so I decided to manufacture the confections myself. I redirected all my efforts towards finding and purchasing machinery, as well as developing new recipes that I could mass produce myself so I can launch quickly and generate revenue to sustain the business.

This was a very stressful pivot not only because of the additional work of having to adapt quickly, but because I began to question myself. I started to doubt my business idea and wondered if I had intentionally been slow to launch because I was too meticulous throughout the entire process of launching or if it was actually because I was afraid to fail. Even though I had all these thoughts and fears, I continued to make progress towards launching and even though I couldn’t plan everything as well as I had liked, I made the decision to officially launch and I haven’t regretted it one bit. My only regret is that I didn’t launch sooner.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Keto Krack’d?
Keto Krack’d offers confections that are sugar-free, dairy-free, and keto-friendly versions of treats that we had while growing up. For example, our “Butter” finger Peanut Butter Bar is an upgraded version of a Butterfinger bar, except it’s made with organic ingredients, premium Ecuadorian cacao, all without sugar or dairy.

Over the past few years, dozens of companies popped up to take advantage of the “low-carb and “keto” craze but most of these companies’ products aren’t actually low-carb or keto-friendly. Other common complaints from the low-carb and keto communities are that these products don’t taste quite right, have unrecognizable ingredients, and have strange textures.

What we specialize in is understanding the needs of the sugar-free, low-carb, and keto communities and what makes us different is that we’re able to combine our knowledge of confections and ingredients that are friendly for these communities to create treats that are truly sugar-free, low-carb, dairy-free, and don’t taste like a sacrifice!

Brand-wise, what I’m most proud of is that we focus on customer satisfaction. Our main priority is to make our customers happy, whether it’s through our interactions or with our confections, it makes me happy to know that we can brighten someone’s day, even if it’s only for a moment. When you’re on a restrictive diet such as low-carb/keto, sugar-free, or vegan, small treats can make your day and provide some normalcy to life and I’m extremely grateful that I can provide that.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
Growing up, I was a shy chubby kid that loved playing video games and I was often teased about my weight so I was always conscious about it. For years, I didn’t do anything about my weight because I thought it was just baby fat and puberty would take care of it but that wasn’t the case. My health didn’t improve because I wasn’t actively taking any steps to change it sleeping I finally took matters into my own hands during summer break going into high school and I started working out in the backyard with my friend.

I was enjoying the process of working out and getting healthier so shortly thereafter, I signed up for a gym membership and continued to work out all throughout high school and college. During that time, I became more active and lost weight so I naturally thought I was “healthier.” Little did I know, I was still pretty unhealthy as didn’t take into account my terrible diet, lack of sleep, or mental health. It wasn’t until after college that I realized health isn’t one-dimensional and rather, it should be viewed holistically and take into account factors such as diet, exercise, sleep, and mental health amongst other aspects. Understanding that health has many aspects of it is what really sparked my interest in becoming healthier and I’ve been trying to improve my health ever since.

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