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What’s Sunny, Saucy, Healthy & Heating Up?

Sunny Kaminski is the owner of this new food business. We recently caught up with her to talk about how and why she decided to enter the competitive food products world. Korean cuisine continues to be among the top food trends.
Sunny invested in a professional publicist (with experience in the food industry), which is what led to this profile. As you build your business, hiring subject matter experts to help you grow can be a worthwhile investment!
How did you decide to launch your brand?
“We started in the restaurant business over 25 years ago and developed our own sauces and seasonings for use in our dishes.  We just couldn’t find anything in the market that was all natural along with being low sodium, AND tastes good so we made our own!  Eating well and healthy has always been at the core of who we are.
Over time, customers starting asking if they could buy our Korean Teriyaki sauce & Kimchee so they could make the magic of Sunny’s at home.  So we started bottling it up for special customers and it just grew from there.”

You own a successful restaurant, so what made you decide to change directions?

One of my favorite pastimes is cooking and entertaining at my home for friends and family.  Our products are designed to work very simply with fresh ingredients making everyone an at home chef.  Being able to bring people together in the comfort of their home to bond over delicious food brings me a lot of joy!
I got the idea one night at the restaurant when we had run out of the usual dipping sauce for our mondue (Korean Dumpling) and told the staff to use the teriyaki sauce.  Immediately the reaction from customers was so positively affirming, I knew I had something.  I researched the market and saw that no one else had a Korean Teriyaki out there quite like ours so we went to work on it.
How do you decide on what products to put on the shelves in grocery stores? Do you test them in the restaurant first?
Both our Korean Teriyaki Sauce & Kimchee Seasoning were first created for use in the restaurant with the flavor profile being our top priority.  We noticed the trend with consumers becoming more health conscious with healthy eating and cooking at home on the rise so that became a big factor on how we decide.  We started with “Korean Pantry” basics and plan to expand on the line as our market share grows.

What advice do you have for aspiring food entrepreneurs and business owners looking to grow and expand?

Don’t give up!  Invest time into understanding what is most important to your consumers and retailer partners and never compromise on quality and authenticity.  Our brand is built on over 25 years of relationships.

I went to our local Whole Foods and spoke the manager and had him try our product and told him that, “I want to be in your store.” That’s how we got started and I still continue to go and talk to each of the store managers that we want to work with.

Where do you see Sunny’s Korean Products in the next five years?

Available in retailers across the entire U.S.! We are already in several grocery locations in the Midwest. By utilizing our existing partners, I believe we can expand with them first. For example, we are in about 35 Whole Foods locations. We are in the process of expanding to the entire region, and have the opportunity to go national with them as well as the other grocers with multiple stores. Beyond that, we will definitely expand our product line once we have a better idea of what our customers want as an extension of our product line.

I know you are a family business, what is it like working with family as a mother/daughter duo? Are there challenges or is it smooth sailing?
I love it!  My children are wonderful to me.  I love working with them.  They all take on their responsibilities with full cooperation.  I would rather work with family over anyone else!
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