One of the advantages of being both a retail and DTC brand is getting immediate feedback, say, Jen Liao and Caleb Wang, co-founders of XCJ or Xiao Chi Jie, a brick-and-mortar restaurant and DTC purveyor of Chinese street food.
“We take the learnings of the restaurant side and apply it to the DTC side, which I think is fairly unique,” Caleb says. “You talk to customers. We actively do that on the DTC side as well.”
Still, the change between producing food at a restaurant and preparing food for a customer to cook at home is substantial.
“When you’re in a restaurant, you have a trained chef cooking the product … (but) when you send it to customers’ homes, there are varying levels of experience, there are varying levels of equipment,” Caleb says. “You have to design a product to withstand those variabilities.”
Future plans include a product that would be plant-based or vegetable-forward dumplings. Barbecue skewers will be launched soon.
As for availability, some retailers have reached out to the brand, but with production constraints, that’s something that will need to wait.
Offering advice to other entrepreneurs, Jen says adaptability and perseverance remain two essential qualities to embrace. Still, the “guiding star” remains the customer.
“It is about the customer experience and ensuring that they’re enjoying it,” she says. There’s a fit there in terms of product-market fit, and we can deliver a fantastic experience every time to them. I think that’s what we are striving for in everything we’re doing.”
In Part 2, Jen and Caleb talk about:
* The differences and similarities between running retail and DTC sides simultaneously.
* The challenges of designing the same product for a restaurant and home chefs.
* Shipping and feedback issues.
* How to make an authentic product for a new audience.
* An explanation of their products and how to prepare them.
For more on Xiao Chi Jie, visit: https://thexcj.com/
This episode is brought to you by Ordergroove.
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