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Vendor Spotlight: KAPOW NOW!

June 15 Laura Ward

  

 

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This is Tiffany Shen, the woman behind Vancouver food brand KAPOW NOW!. We had the chance to speak with her this week about what it's like starting an ethical food business and specifics about branding, community, and growth.

Tiffany and her team exude positively and an authentic care for the company, healthy living, and showing up like they mean it. We met on the East Side of Vancouver in a trendy co-working studio called "SPACE

 

A post shared by SPACE (@spacetospace_co) on

Photo Credit: SPACE (via Instagram)

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TIFFANY SHEN (KAPOW NOW!) AND LAURA WARD (LOCALIZE)

Photo Credit: KAPOW NOW!, Honestly Social, and SPACE

 

The inception of KAPOW NOW! was spurred when Tiffany made a decision several years ago to live a more vibrant lifestyle — starting with a cleaner diet. 

"It doesn't even have to be food necessarily," Tiffany comments, "the products are a vehicle to support the mission." They hope to inspire people to live in the moment, love themselves, and have the energy to make the changes they want in life.

KAPOW NOW! creates nutritious breakfast cereals, chickpea crackers, and chocolate glop to fuel an adventurous and joyful life — whether that be on a mountain or in the city.

 

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Growing up, Tiffany loved cooking and experimenting with food, now identifying food as her language of love. "It's not just nourishment, but also an expression," she says, going on to describe being in the kitchen as an art form where she paints with the spices — an attitude informed by past artistic prowess with glass blowing,painting, drawing.

KAPOW NOW! sources their ingredients through a Vancouver distributor, doing their best to find the highest quality ingredients as locally as possible. Tiffany comments on the importance of knowing what you are willing to compromise and what you are not, having had to drop suppliers who did not fully align with their values despite being the more economical choice.

No certifications for KAPOW NOW! just yet. They are in the process of becoming Non-GMO Project Verified, but share that third party certifications can be an intimidating investment cost for small food producers. For more info, check out our blog about third-party certifications.

When asked about the most challenging part of starting a food business, the KAPOW NOW! founder did not refer to scaling, production, or labeling, as you might expect, but offered an honest self-reflection: "The most challenging part has been overcoming personal patterns and internal challenges — starting a business is a huge personal development opportunity," she says.

Tiffany's secret for navigating the gritty corners of food business confusion is to buy a lot of coffees! If she ever didn't know something, her solution would be to find someone who did and pick their brain over a coffee. What I loved about Tiffany and KAPOW NOW! was their emphasis on collaboration and community — eager to connect with other food brands and grow as a collective. Reflecting this value, Tiffany manages a shared kitchen space in North Vancouver where she crafts all her products and does her office work in a co-working space as well. 

 

Tiffany Shen (KAPOW NOW!) and Laura Ward (Localize) 

Tiffany Shen (KAPOW NOW!) and Laura Ward (Localize)

Photo Credit: KAPOW NOW!, Honestly Social, and SPACE

 

Having found significant growth and success in just a year and a half, the founder credits her graduation from market to retail to finding a distributor (LCG foods) early on. "The first 5-10 stores are very hard," Tiffany remembers, "everyone wants to know who you're with or who your distributor is."

In our current retail system, it can be difficult for food makers to connect directly with customers. Recognizing that innovation is driven through connecting with customers, Tiffany thinks of her packaging as a portal to share their story and communicate how people can connect with them further. Experienced in marketing and graphic design, Tiffany understands that it is important to stand out, get people's attention, and communicate what you're about on-package — having actually designed her own graphics — "but", she says, "what's really important is what's inside — the mission, the deeper values, and the core ingredients." Beautiful — we couldn't agree more! 

Our last question for Tiffany was, "What does supporting local mean to you?"

"Supporting local means supporting your neighbors and keeping value within the community. [...] It means working together, being able to meet and collaborate, having a story you can relate to, being more aware and trying to connect with the producer rather than treating things as transactional objects —having a relationship, not just something expendable." - Tiffany Shen

Thank you, KAPOW NOW!, for sharing the story behind your amazing brand, and Honestly Social for supporting our collaboration. 

KAPOW NOW! products are available online and in stores across Canada. Click here to find a location near you!

Char, Laura, Tiffany, and Liz

CHAR LORO (HONESTLY SOCIAL), LAURA WARD (LOCALIZE), TIFFANY SHEN (KAPOW NOW!), LIZ HAMMOND (HONESTLY SOCIAL)

Photo Credit: KAPOW NOW!, Honestly Social, and SPACE

 

Check out more Localize vendor spotlights here. Would you like to be featured? Let us know at hello@localizeyourfood.com. Not yet a Localize vendor? Join today! 

 


About Localize

We are a B-Corporation, certified woman-owned business with a mission to support diverse, social, and ethical products to thrive in retail aisles. Localize was founded in 2011 to answer one question: "Where does our food come from?" Since then, we've evolved to become a connector between food businesses, retailers, and consumers who care.

Interested in exploring how to go beyond the package to tell your story and share more information consumers care about? Learn about our scannable graphics that link to your online Localize profile here. Not yet a Localized vendor? sign-up free! 

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