Q&A with Wynn Austin, Founder of Wynn's Kitchen

This post is part of a series where we interview Chisos portfolio company founders.

Today, we're talking with Wynn Austin, Founder of Wynn's Kitchen, a CPG startup that's rethinking the Asian food aisle.

Wynn’s Kitchen imagines a line of Asian food items, sauces, and condiments that have simple and REAL ingredients, without all the sugar, gluten and artificial ingredients. We strive to recreate your favorite Asian food products that not only tastes better, but be better for you.

Let’s get started with some fun facts.

Fun Facts about Wynn Austin.

  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • How would your friends describe you? Fearless, funny and resilient.
  • What did you want to be when you grew up? Finance executive
  • What app do you use the most, besides texting? Instagram
  • Do you have a favorite book, movie, or podcast? Business or just for fun! Finding Freedom. It's a beautiful memoir of Erin French-owner of The Lost Kitchen on redemption & resilience through her passion for cooking.

Tell us a little bit about Wynn's Kitchen.

In 2016, I embarked on a healing health journey and had to clean up my diet from sugar, soy, and gluten. I scoured the nutritional panels in the Asian aisle, and discovered that all the sauces I loved had tons of sugar, gluten, and preservatives. I was impossible to find Asian sauces and condiments that had clean ingredients, real ingredients, with no added sugar.

In my kitchen, I conjured up the very first batch of my Saté Asian Chili Sauce, made with real ingredients, without sugar or gluten. It became a huge hit amongst my friends. In 2019, I decided to take a leap of faith and Wynn's Kitchen was born.

What was the moment when you knew, "I'm ready to take the plunge and pursue my idea?"

When I was up until 1AM hand labeling and bottling up 100 jars of saté chili sauce every 2 weeks for people I know in the neighborhood.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when starting your own business?

I wish I knew how distribution worked and the cost that is involved with having a distributor.

How do you think about success and failure as a founder?

Failure is a necessary part of finding success. It teaches you how to problem solve and pivot.

What is one moment from your founder journey that you're particularly proud of?

I'm proud of being able to break into the CPG industry with no experience in this sector or in any type of commercial food experience.

Did you receive any advice along the way that would be meaningful to share with other founders?

Don't be so eager to work with someone that you are afraid to ask questions. If someone you are looking to work with is not able to or are unwilling to answer your questions or communicate, most likely they are not a good fit.

How did funding from Chisos help you grow?

The process of getting the funding taught me an immense amount on what investors are looking for and an introduction to the world of VC for me. The funding helped me hire a professional team for a e-commerce website, marketing team for my rebrand in style, brand messaging, and product label redesign which helped me immensely in pitching my product to retailers.

To learn more about Wynn's Kitchen, follow along on LinkedIn and Instagram.