Ideal Founder Series 007
Erin Wen, Co-Founder of Hououdou
Jun 11, 2023
簡單的幾個字，卻很好的描繪了 Erin 創業路上的心路歷程。從最初為了和朋友分享自製的花椒油，到正式創立並開始販售鳳凰堂花椒油，最後受到來自台灣和日本大廚們的認可。
Erin 和她的夥伴兼伴侶 Jellent，始終享受著創業的每分每秒，遇到難題就解決、遇到知識就吸收，充分地展現了上善若水的精神。身段柔軟的他們，一路上享受著遇到的所有大小事，一步步地將鳳凰堂帶入國際的視野。
《上善若水，把握當下》, in English it means staying flexible and adaptable as we go on in life, and enjoy every moment. In just a few simple words, we can capture Erin's entrepreneurial journey, from initially sharing her homemade peppercorn oil with friends to formally establishing and selling Hououdou peppercorn oil, and ultimately gaining recognition from renowned chefs in Taiwan and Japan.
Erin and Jellent, Erin’s partner in both business and in life, have always enjoyed the process, tackling challenges head-on and absorbing knowledge as they go. They fully embody the spirit of 《上善若水，把握當下》, remaining flexible and adaptable while doing their best to experience every moment. Along the way, they have relished in all the experiences, big and small, gradually bringing Hououdou into the international spotlight.
Q. 請用三個詞形容你自己 / Use three words to describe yourself
Creative, Liberal, Joyfulness
Q. 如果你沒有開始你的事業，現在的你會在做什麼呢? / If you weren’t building your startup, what would you be doing?
Back in 2014, many of my close friends started their own businesses, and I, who was working at Yahoo at the time, was very interested in building a company from scratch. However, due to the risk it may bring, I chose to join another startup to explore the process.
The company went through various ups and downs and challenges, and it was these challenges that laid a more solid foundation for Hououdou.
If I hadn't founded Hououdou today, I would probably still be fighting alongside the startup I joined, as we faced various challenges together, and carved out our own niche after going through shared hardships.
Q. 在創業的過程中，你遇到的最大驚喜是什麼 ? / What is the biggest surprise you’ve experienced along the way?
我們遇到最大的驚喜就是國宴主廚 - 阿慶師，在一次試吃過我們的花椒油後就立即訂購了1000瓶，這讓那時的我們增加了不少信心。
There was an incredible moment when Chef Ah Qing, a national banquet chef, tasted our product and immediately ordered 1,000 bottles. This significantly boosted our confidence.
As we expanded into restaurants, many prestigious restaurants adopted our chili oil into their cuisine. Even a Michelin-starred chef loved it so much that he not only used it throughout his restaurant but also filled his restaurant with our posters. As a food lover, receiving such recognition is genuinely heartwarming.
What we learned from this is that even the best products need to be promoted to gain recognition and spread through word of mouth.
Q. 在創業的過程中，你面對最艱難的挑戰是什麼 ? / What significant challenges have you faced when working on this company?
As the blueprint for expanding Hououdou into the Japanese market becomes clearer, we hope to find suitable partners to join us in introducing Hououdou chili oil to the world. Expansion on a larger scale is essential, but the key factor is that we are still trying to figure out how to find the right partners who will work with us to take Hououdou to the international stage.
Q. 你是怎麼衡量你的成功? 你衡量的標準是什麼? / At the moment, how do you measure success? What are your metrics?
At this moment, our primary measure of success is focused on expanding our business beyond our domestic market. Our short-term goal is to enter the Japanese market, as we believe there is a great potential for our products there.
We understand the importance of setting achievable targets while also pushing ourselves to grow and reach new heights.
Q. 你會對其他的有野心和熱情的創業家說什麼? / What would you tell aspiring startup founders?
Youth is our biggest asset.
I personally admire young founders who dare to take risks and have the ability to execute. As a founder myself, the journey has certainly not been easy. Sometimes, things went so well that it feels unreal, while at other times, they seem like a never-ending nightmare. However, all of these are part of the journey.
As long as we stay true to our initial intentions and work hard to overcome the challenges, the success will be ours!
Q. 鳳凰堂是誰? / Who is Hououdou?
Hououdou is a food research, manufacturing, and marketing startup focused on delivering top-notch flavors. The company's core lies in the secret recipe of a private chef in Tokyo's Gotenyama district, which combines the essence of authentic Sichuan and Japanese Chinese cuisine. Endorsed and adopted by Japanese Michelin-starred chefs and Taiwanese national banquet chefs, Hououdou is making its mark.
Choosing Taiwan as a starting point, Hououdou aspires to provide consumers worldwide with a delightful culinary experience, offering safe, delicious, refined, and enjoyable foods at any time.
Q. 用幾句話說明你的公司還有你要解決的問題 / What is your company and problems you are addressing in a few sentences?
Hououdou is a company committed to providing consumers with delicious and healthy food options. We believe that the food we consume should not only be tasty but also free of harmful chemicals and preservatives. This is why we have taken the initiative to create our own peppercorn oil, a condiment that is not only savory but also made with natural and wholesome ingredients.
Our vision is to continue to offer a variety of different condiments that are both healthy and delicious. We are committed to using only the highest quality ingredients in our products, ensuring that our customers can trust what they are putting into their bodies.
At Hououdou, we believe that it is possible to enjoy great-tasting food while also prioritizing our health. Our mission is to make it easy for consumers to make healthier choices without sacrificing taste. Join us on our journey towards a healthier and more flavorful future.
Q. 用簡單的句子形容，你能為誰提供什麼服務 / 產品? / In a few sentences, what do you offer and to whom?
With a dedication to using only genuine, high-quality ingredients and a commitment to maintaining that quality, at Hououdou, we strive to bring the authentic flavors of these ingredients to our customers' meals. We focus on creating natural, non-artificial deliciousness that our customers can feel good about. The high repurchase rate from our customers serves as the best validation of the quality of our products!
Q. 為什麼現在是你的公司存在的時間點? / Why is now the time for your company to exist?
As a result, we at Hououdou believe that it's important to prioritize quality over quantity. We take pride in sourcing the freshest and most natural ingredients, and our focus on health and authenticity has helped us stand out from the competition. By offering delicious and healthy condiments, we hope to provide our customers with a guilt-free way to enhance their meals. At Hououdou, we are committed to promoting a healthier lifestyle and we strive to continuously improve our products to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers.
Q. 你認為在今年你的成長里程碑會是什麼 ? / Where do you think your growth and milestones will be for 2023? (Short term)
By leveraging our experience in the Taiwanese market and building strong relationships with local partners, we aim to establish a loyal customer base in Japan. Our focus on using high-quality, natural ingredients and our commitment to delivering exceptional customer service will set us apart from competitors in the Japanese market. We are confident that our products will resonate with Japanese consumers who value health and quality. We are excited about this new chapter in our journey and look forward to introducing the taste of Taiwan to Japan.
Q. 目前你的公司正在尋找什麼? (例如:資金、新市場擴張、人才?) / What would be the 3 things that your company is looking for now? (e.g. Funding, new market expansion, new hires?)
Additionally, we are constantly researching and developing new products to meet the changing needs and preferences of our customers. We strive to maintain the highest standards of quality and authenticity in our products while keeping them affordable and accessible to everyone.
As a company, we are committed to promoting a healthy lifestyle and bringing joy to people's daily meals. We are excited about the future and look forward to sharing our passion for delicious, natural seasonings with more people around the world.
Meet The Team
Q. 你有團隊嗎? 請介紹一下團隊成員，以及你喜歡你團隊的什麼部分？ / Do you have a team? If yes, what do you love about your team?
我們的團隊只有兩個人，Jellent 跟我，我們兩個都有正職的工作，而我本身在網路產業15年，因此熟悉產品製作、網路行銷和電商操作。Jellent 則是有著超級業務的靈魂，兩人這樣的組合剛剛好非常適合從0開始的創業，全部的業務兩個人就可以完成。
Our team consists of only two members, my husband Jellent and myself. Both of us have full-time jobs, and I have 15 years of experience in the internet industry, with expertise in product development, online marketing, and e-commerce operations. Jellent is a natural salesperson, and together we have the perfect combination of skills to handle all aspects of the business.
My heightened sense of smell and taste allows me to identify even the most subtle flavor nuances, which has helped us in creating delicious and unique recipes. We both share a strong passion for experimentation and enjoy tackling the various challenges that come with recipe development and production. Through our efforts, we have successfully crafted a premium Sichuan pepper chili oil that is free from chemical additives and preservatives while highlighting the delicious flavors and versatility of Sichuan pepper.
Ｑ. 你會如何和其他新創公司的創辦人分享你的經驗和感想，關於成為理想Ideal 社群中的一員？ / What would you tell other startup founders about being part of the Ideal community and your experience here?
Ideal 是個非常適合新創團隊們進駐的商務空間，在這邊辦公室本身並不是主角，在 Ideal 活動、努力的人們才是，我曾經參加過一次由 Ideal 主辦的活動，僅僅參加過一次就能感受到整個 Ideal 團隊的用心、熱情以及最重要的 - 專業。
若對成立自己的公司有興趣，來 Ideal 看看絕對會是值得的！
Ideal provides an outstanding environment for startup teams to establish their business. Rather than focusing solely on the physical office space, Ideal puts the spotlight on the people working there and the events they organize. As someone who has attended an event hosted by Ideal, I was impressed by the team's commitment, enthusiasm, and professionalism. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, I highly recommend exploring what Ideal has to offer.