• Johnny

The Impact of Coronavirus on New Businesses in Oklahoma City

Updated: Apr 28

The first time we sold Vatsana's Seafood Hot Sauce was as an exhibitor at the 20th Annual Texas Hot Sauce Festival in Houston, Texas. We researched how we wanted our booth to look, what we should say, and what things to bring, but we had no idea what to expect in regards to sales. My heart still races from recalling how nervous I felt while setting up that Saturday morning. Then, we SOLD OUT just a couple hours before the event ended (we brought about 10 cases of hot sauce). Additionally, we received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. For example, people would sample our sauce, visit the other vendors, and then come back to us saying that Vatsana's was the BEST SAUCE at the festival.

By the time it was over, I had resolved to leave my full-time job as a chemical engineer to invest all my time and energy into transforming the hot sauce into a real company. I was all in by November, and since then we've attended more festivals and continued shaping the parent company, Phaya Naga Foods.


BUT THEN... CORONAVIRUS.


Vatsana's piques your interest first with its unique branding, then it captures your heart with its content. In other words, when you taste it, you know. Festivals and farmers markets allow us to play to this strength by giving us direct access to people's palate, but due to COVID-19, all of the festivals we planned to attend have either been postponed or cancelled. Not only do we have to wait several months to a year to recoup those costs, but we've also lost huge marketing outlets. It’s been tough for us, and we're sure it's been hard for most of you. As members of the community, we’ve been doing our part by staying home. For us, the big question is, "How do we spread the joy without spreading the virus?"


In times of crisis, we find opportunity. We here at Phaya Naga Foods are doubling down on our efforts to:

  • build our digital presence,

  • improve ourselves by leveraging free, online classes recently made available by Ivy League schools, and most importantly,

  • focus on our relationships with local retailers like Gulfport Seafood Market.


WHAT LOCAL BUSINESSES ARE DOING


For those living in Oklahoma City, our friends at Roam Coffee Company and Big Buns Bakery are taking similar measures during these uncertain times. They're doing online deliveries for their products at a reduced price and "there are no charges for delivery as [our] show of solidarity with this difficult situation we are all facing together". Now I don't drink coffee often, but when I do, I'm drinking Roam's amazing cold brew, and I'm pairing it perfectly with my favorite gourmet cinnamon bun from Big Buns: maple bacon!


GLANCING BACK, BUT LOOKING FORWARD


If I had known back in September that a pandemic was going to strike in the beginning of 2020, would I still have gone all in on this endeavor? ABSOLUTELY. These times are not ideal, but if I had waited for the right time to do this, then that time would've never come. It's all part of the adventure. So, be adventurous, wash your hands, and get a bottle of Vatsana's Seafood Hot Sauce online today.


Spread the Joy,

Johnny

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Phaya Naga Foods

Oklahoma City, OK

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