Happy Holidays and Thank You
What a Noodelist Year
The year started with rolling up my sleeves and piling as many Noodelist boxes as possible into a large ice-hockey bag - this was one of the ways I transported many boxes to my car for customer deliveries. I also learned the art of co-packing with our first batch of Bold & Juicy Shiitake soup base by literally working on the factory floor and filling pouches with our soup base.
Following the production of a limited amount of Noodelist packs, I tested out the consumer demand and reactions through tasting demos at local Bay Area tech companies and the Stanford Business School. All was rolling along pretty well …. until Work-From-Home and Shelter-In-Place (SIP) shook up all of the previously laid plans. As an entrepreneur, pivoting is part of business survival, and SIP drove the creation of the Noodelist Survival Box, 24-meals of quick, tasty and healthier meals. As it turned out, customers were happy to forgo the trip to the grocery store and get a box of nutritious noodles shipped to their homes, plus get enough noodles to store in their cupboards for many meals to come.
Surviving, then thriving with Noodles
It seems that our noodles hit a sweet spot with consumers. Noodelist was especially liked by busy parents and their kids who were all working and doing online classes from home. Another big hit was with tech engineers, who found themselves working from home and a lack of time or desire to spend hours cooking. Noodelist made their lives easier.
The support and love for our new Noodelist brand was heartwarming. People’s word of mouth was very powerful, and our biggest Noodelist fans have been ordering a box per month since March. I got emails about customer’s kids who were making their own Noodelist lunches while parents were working, and this in turn led to those kids making family Noodelist dinners too! Parents sent Noodelist Survival Boxes to their kids in college who were out of town. Many shipments were gifted to parents/grandparents, who wanted to introduce these plant-based instant noodles as a new, healthier way of eating without sacrificing the flavor. And one amazing customer even sent out 14 Survival Boxes - just to cheer up her friends!
Delivering Noodelist with my Mini
For the first months of the pandemic, I drove around the San Francisco Bay Area in my Mini Cooper and delivered the Survival Boxes myself. In hindsight, I should have covered my Mini in Noodelist stickers like the Red Bull Mini and blasted out signature music like the ice-cream trucks do (but perhaps more rock style for me ;). Well, maybe that will be in the plans for next year!
Even though Noodelist is a small start up, it was important to find ways to give back. For example, while delivering Survival Boxes, we also distributed face masks which were made by the local Finnish community. We donated and stocked hospital break rooms with Noodelist soups for the real heroes, the front line workers to eat. We donated profits to support scholarships through Finlandia Foundation. I will always keep this as a part of our company mission. Giving back makes everything better.
Tadah - the Online Store Goes Live
The Noodelist online store went live in April, and we started to ship Noodelist around the U.S. Our noodle soups have even been shipped all the way to Hawaii. Customers’ testimonials and feedback have been very positive & uplifting:
Virtual Noodle Night
What better way to end the year, than with amazing community support with Yelp Elites for a virtual noodle cooking night. Over 150 Elites zoomed in to join our online, social cooking event with charismatic Chef Matthew Dolan at his restaurant Twenty Five Lusk in San Francisco. Chef Dolan showed viewers how to make a new meal with Noodelist from a recipe created by Chef Petteri Luoto (that’s what I call Chef synergy!). The chat room was filled with zany comments including one of my favorites, “A Finnish noodle recipe from a NY guy with a Cali restaurant -- God Bless America”.
A Heartfelt Thank You for 2020
That’s our year in a nutshell with a few highlights on how Noodelist came to life through our network. It’s all about the community who have helped spread the word and supported a new brand like Noodelist. It’s all about the customers, the people, You - who share the same love of noodles as we do. We promise to keep sharing our Noodelist joie de vivre, state of mind and behind the scene stories.
Noodelist Team and myself want to say BIG Thank You, keep enjoying our bowl of #InstantHappiness, Happy Holidays and noodle on into 2021!