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Meet Trailblazer Candace Chen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Candace Chen.

Candace, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started pursuing my “American Dream” when I was 15. I left my family in Taiwan and moved to the U.S. to become an international businesswoman. I wanted to make the world a better and smaller place by importing/exporting awesome and beneficial products.

About 3 years ago, after I graduated from college, I was working as a production manager at one of the largest corporate food manufacturing facilities in the country. I was able to learn how most popular packaged snacks & beverages were made. I soon realized that these favorite American snacks were unnatural and extremely processed. It then became my goal to create a healthy, honest food & drink company using simple, natural, and organic ingredients.

A year and a half later, I resigned and began traveling around the world. I made a stop to Taiwan, my hometown, where I discovered a popular guava themed juice bar that had beautiful presentations, reusable bottles, and natural, delicious products! I was inspired by how creative they were at making masterpieces out of a super fruit. The beautiful food presentation made it fun to be healthy, for kids & adults alike!

In April, 2017, I returned to the U.S. to turn my dream into a reality and to bring something beneficial back to the states; beautiful, natural, sustainable, and delicious drinks that everyone will enjoy. After months of research and development, we created the most delicious and presentable beverages made out of dragon fruit and other superfoods.

I began the journey in August, 2017 with my beloved sister Patricia, who is passionate about environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and equality. With Patricia’s marketing & creative direction, and my sales and operations experience, we educated people of Los Angeles about Dragon Fruit, built a strong customer base within eight months by doing pop-up shops, and continue to DOUBLE our sales on a monthly basis! All while donating all of our hard-earned tips to a charity that supports women in business!

We were rejected by many yoga studios, grocery stores, and investors, but we never gave up. We continued to refine our recipe to improve the taste. Eventually, we got a huge amount of support from influencers, celebrities, foodies, and businesses! Which include Cody Simpson, Emma Kenny, Sophia Amoruso, Sur Restaurant… and more. We now sell hundreds of bottles to local LA restaurants, online, and at our popups every week. We are also working on a deal with one of the largest natural food grocery chain at the moment. We can’t wait to bring beautiful superfruit drinks to everyone in the country.

Great, 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?
Starting a business is never easy. Especially when you are a woman trying to start a business. My dad and other family members are extremely conservative, and they don’t believe in young women leading and running their own businesses. With minimal support from my family, I had to find a way to succeed without their help. A great number of people in our society still thinks like my family. Interestingly, the more people don’t believe in me, the more I want to prove them wrong. You may have to try 10 times harder than a man to get an investment or make a sale, but if you have the confidence, the passion, and the motivation, you’ll get to where you want to be.

One huge advice: Don’t be afraid of rejections! Rejections can hurt sometimes, but you can always learn from the rejections and get better next time. Trust me, rejections are much better the regrets. Even when you fail, you can always learn from your failures. I was rejected by Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and Kroger…but I continued reaching out to other grocery stores. Eventually, the biggest natural food grocery store chain responded and said they were interested! (Signed an NDA, so I can’t mention their name.) If I had given up when I received the first 100 rejections, I would have never got this one important YES.

Also, utilize your resources. There are many amazing non-profit organizations and successful female entrepreneurs that will be more than happy to guide you. Just reach out to them! Don’t miss out on the great opportunity. I cold-emailed and cold-called a lot of people who believe in the same cause. We got a few responses, and one of them was Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal and Girlboss. She has been a great support ever since.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Pink Matter – what should we know?
I am the CEO/Head of Sales & Marketing of Pink Matter. I oversee the operations, marketing, and sales of the company. I started the company with three core values: Sustainability, Healthy Living, and Supporting Your Local Girl Gang! Because of these values, we use glass bottles/recyclable bottles to remain environmentally friendly, utilize every part of the Dragon Fruit (using the shells as bowls), partner up with yoga and other fitness studios for healthy lifestyle events, and donate ALL hard-earned tips to girl boss charities. Not only do we serve food and drinks, we serve a purpose. I LOVE that part of our brand.

#supportyourlocalgirlgang

Our products are healthy and aesthetically pleasing. (bright pink!) You can’t find a super healthy drink that’s this beautiful anywhere. Also, millennials love them for the gram! The pitaya bowl is served in an actual dragon fruit shell, so we can reduce the amount of waste. Our detox water is not your ordinary infused water. It is a refreshing naturally flavored water that supports your digestive system, boosts your collagen production, increases your antioxidant level, and makes your body glow from within. Our aromatherapy lemonades are packed with antioxidants and deliver a variety of benefits ranging from stress relief to energy booster. Our all natural smoothies contain antioxidants, 20% of your daily fiber, zero added sugar — swirled into a beautiful drink.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
Growing up in Taiwan then coming back to the states has truly opened up my eyes. Although I was born in the U.S., I moved to Taiwan when I was one, so I had no memories of the U.S. then. In Taiwan, every kid was extremely competitive. I remember studying until past midnight every day when I was only 13. When I came to the states, I kept that competitiveness with me and adapted to the teamwork environment as well! I also realized having a team of different backgrounds can bring incredible results that you cannot imagine. With an open mind and a competitive heart, I have come to where I am today.

My mom also played a significant role in my success. She was a single mom who ran her own business and took care of me and my sister at the same time. She taught me the value of money. She made me and my sister help out with her business when we were just 8 years old! She was also very supportive. I feel extremely lucky that she helped me through my education. I still call her almost every single day with her being on another side of the world.

Pricing:

  • $6 Honey Rose Lemonade
  • $6 Lavender Lemonade
  • $4 Rose Detox Water

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

@emilyaeyoung, @betweenballoons, @foodieonfleek, @yensisters, Dena Dao, Patricia Nguyen

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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