Innovating the Food and Health Industry with Healthy Seasoning Options - JADA Brands | EP. #43

July 27, 2022 | Author: Andrew Maff

On this 43rd episode of The E-Comm Show, our host and BlueTuskr CEO Andrew Maff is with Khasha and Maynard of JADA Brands, a vegan food seasoning company that aims to encourage people to be healthier cooking and, overall, live a healthier lifestyle. Starting from their main staple, the chicken salt, they have come to innovate different variations of tasty seasonings and spices.

Tune in to this episode of The E-Comm Show as Khasha and Maynard share their successes and a fair share of struggles in launching America's first shelf-stable plant-based chicken.

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Innovating the Food and Health Industry with Healthy Seasoning Options


Andrew Maff and Khasha Touloei




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Khasha Touloei


Khasha Touloei is a dermatologist who launched JADA Brands while in residency. Initially, started off mixing seasonings in his kitchen, and then over time expanded to online and retail. Most recently launched America's first shelf-stable plant-based chicken on Shark Tank.



And once we realize we're going to be on the show, we started thinking you know, we should go on Shark Tank with a new product, something that's a higher turnover. So why don't we create our own plant-based chicken?



Hey everyone, this is Nezar Akeel from Max Pro.



Hi, I'm Linda and I'm Paul and we're Love and Pebble. Hi this is Lopa Van Der Mersch from RASA. you're listening to and you're listening and you are listening to The E-Comm Show.o and you're listening and you are listening to the show.



Welcome to The E-Comm Show, presented by BlueTuskr, the number one place to hear the inside scoop from other e-commerce experts. They share their secrets about how they scaled their business and are now living the dream. Now, here's your host, Andrew Maff. Hello,



everyone and welcome to another episode of The E-Comm Show. I'm your host Andrew Maff as usual, and today I am joined by Khasha and Maynard of Jada brands. This is going to be a great one. Love having consumables on the show. And I'm sure everyone has already heard of this brand already. So we're gonna get into it. Khasha, Maynard, are you guys ready for a good show? Are you ready to do this? We're absolutely



excited to be beautiful.



Thanks. So why don't I let either of you or both of you kind of kick it off a little bit? Tell us a little bit about Jada brands where you guys got started and how you got where you're at. And we'll kind of start from there.



Sure, I can start? Yeah, so my name is Khasha. We launched Jana brands around 2016 It started off with just literally mixing a seasoning in my kitchen. I grew up in Australia, where chicken salt is a big phenomenon there, you go to a restaurant and you get french fries, there's salt, pepper, and a lot of Australians asked for chicken salt. And, and when I was in my training to be a physician, I noticed you know, we don't have any chicken salt here. And, and I would always struggle with my patients who had high blood pressure, and diabetes. And one thing I thought I was, you know, these patients, you know, they want to eat better, but it's hard to eat better and also maintain, you know, good taste. And the only thing I could think of is what my mom gave me when I was growing up. And that was chicken salt. If I didn't eat something, she would just put some chicken salt on my food. And, and then I would eat it. And so I was like Americans need chicken salt. And so we created a vegan version of the products. It's gluten-free and MSG-free. We launched it here. And, and then subsequently after that we launched a product called Tumeric salts. And it's Tumeric with some spices. And it's a good balance for people who are trying to be healthy but also need salt in their diet. And we got very lucky Valerie Bertinelli put our chicken salt on the show. And that really on her cooking show, and they really put us on the map. And then we had a couple of chains of events. But let me have Maynard also just you know, tell you guys who he is. And then we'll talk about how we got on to Shark Tank and all that. Yeah. Yeah.



So yeah, pretty much Khasha highlighted the history of the company kind of the origin of everything. I and Kosh actually met in college, the University of Washington in Seattle, Go Huskies smaller dogs out there. And, and we know we'd always kept in touch always been friends. And he was in Miami at the time. And I just moved down to LA. And when he presented the idea about chicken salt, which I hadn't had I'd never heard of chicken salad either myself. And it's not a great sign of a good idea. And we'd always kind of talked about doing some business or doing some sort of collaboration together at some point. And so I came on board and I was kind of helping out with social media and some random other stuff. And like I said, we just had a really unique chain of events, Valerie Bertinelli highlighted our products on one of her recipes on the Food Network. And we had some other just random viral moments that just took off, that really helped build some momentum with our business. So and then, later on, we talked about coming on full time as a partner to kind of help the company continues to grow and just kind of be more strategic with how we're gonna lay out the company. And that's how our connection came to be with us coming on board as partners on the project. And it's been a crazy ride, you know, we've been doing obviously a lot of the vegan festivals across the country, a lot of people getting more familiar with our product, which has been amazing and you know, we don't have a background in food, my backgrounds in Civil Environmental Engineering. Catia works as a dermatologist, but you know, we had a passion for what we thought would be great options to be able to provide good healthy eating for people and that's really our motto is really to be able to encourage healthier home cooking and so that's what we try to do. do with our brand new products. That's, that's



so interesting because you do have completely different backgrounds from what you're doing. What, uh, so are both of you doing this full time now? Or is this or how's that working?



Yeah, I mean, look, we do this as full time as possible. So I'm a dermatologist three to five days a week. And then in my off hours, I'm working on this, whether it's the weekend evening before work during my lunch. And, you know, it's definitely become, you know, a big commitment. And I mean, the dream is to make this, you know, our full-time jobs. But, you know, with startups, it's just, it's so up and down. It's hard to just be like, Okay, let's quit what we're doing and then now just do this. Yeah, but I mean, I mean, I we at least put in, you know, at least 40 to 60 hours a week just working on this every week. Yeah.



Yeah, always. I always tell people Yeah, we were basically running two full-time businesses, you know, between both of us, you know, conscious doings dermatology work in and Jada work. I'm a science communicator. So I'm doing all sorts of science projects, and I work on my own, you know, so that definitely helps to be able to run my own business and kinda to allocate my time as needed. But yeah, when we're not doing any of our other work or other priorities, we're doing this. And you know, we're talking at random hours of the day and nights on weekends and putting the time to continue to help the business grow. And it's, you know, me and me and Catia running pretty much everything. And we have a really small team still, so we're definitely fully hands-on.



Yeah, nice. So you mentioned you know, that chicken salt and turmeric salt and the growth from there, but you also have expanded the product line outside of that,



correct? Yeah, so what happened was, I think about two years ago, we actually had a meeting with beyond meats and beyond meats at the time had had a chicken that they took off the market. And we came to them and we met with their whole r&d team. And we basically were trying to convince them to bring back their chicken and use our chicken salt seasoning because it has such a chicken taste. And they were really really interested and we thought we honestly thought we were gonna get do like you know, we thought that this was going to be a huge breakthrough and unfortunately, it didn't happen. And so at that time, we were auditioning for Shark Tank. And once we realize we're going to be on the show, we started thinking you know, we should go on Shark Tank with a new product something that's a higher turnover. And then we thought, why don't we create our own plant-based chicken you know, and so we worked on we worked with an engineer and we launched a shelf stable plant based chicken is not something that needs to be refrigerated and it's a really versatile product you literally just had oil and water and you can shape it into a patty meatball and not get crumbles. And, and you know, we launched that off Shark Tank and it was definitely quite the experience.



It's always interesting we have sellers on the show that have been on Shark Tank because it's always a different reason for why they went on the show. But one that you mentioned sounded very interesting. So you were already going to be on the show but then you decided to expand the product line into this plant-based chicken you just mentioned



that correct? Yeah, I mean, we went on when we came up with the idea we had a prototype and we went on the show wanting to get money to launch the product and so we knew we had a killer product and the sharks loved it. And you can see by the reaction in their video and then basically our goal was to get capital to actually launch the product and retail and online etc



Yeah, the crazy so obviously you're selling a lot online



the crazy story about that was you know, we were in our it was like full r&d mode with the plant-based chicken. We hadn't even started selling the product or anything yet. But we knew we needed to have something that was going to really bring that wow factor when we went on the show. And you know, we kind of started thinking coming up to the GA leading up to the show that we may not have enough with just our seasonings to really, you know, gain investment from the sharks. So we needed something that was going to be a unique kind of showcase of breakthroughs And this is something that we always had in mind. And we're still in r&d on it. But we were able to put together enough product to be able to actually present some for the sharks to taste. And so we were actually really on the fence of whether or not we were going to have the sharks try it out because we hadn't really fully gone through the whole process yet ourselves. And so the reaction you see on our faces was like, it was definitely a reaction of like, oh, we really hope they like this because we have no idea how it's gonna turn out. And so, yeah, so that was definitely we're excited that we did that Kasha talk to dive into it, because I was on the fence of whether or not we should present it to them even right, like leading up to the show, like just an hour before. And we're glad we did because that was definitely the big selling point for us on the show.



Yeah, so what's life like after the show? Like, do you every time you know when you air and all that stuff? Is that something where you guys are ahead of that schedule, and you kind of adjust your marketing to reflect that again, we gotta rerun come in or something like that?



Yeah, I mean, now, you know, the first few reruns. I think we've every rerun, we've gotten better and better. And now it's, we definitely feel more comfortable with the first round, it was definitely more challenging. It was weird, because the first time we ran, it was the day that Joe Biden was like, about to give some speech. And so during our first of all, our episode got moved from, I think it was like the eight o'clock prime time to like 11 o'clock. And so a lot of people didn't even see that episode. We actually did decently well. And then we had another rerun, like two months later. And, and that was like, in our opinion, I was like how first run because so many people miss the first episode and, and it was definitely challenging to keep up with the orders Maynard and I because of our warehouses in Miami. And we both live in LA, we were doing red eyes to Miami to help our logistics team put the orders together. And then we would read I had back and I mean thinking back now, I mean, I literally there was one night I slept on the warehouse floor from 4 am to 8 am on like a piece of cardboard just to keep it going. And another thing about it, you know, we ended up because it was just getting so much we teamed up with a logistics company, which we should have probably done in the beginning. We weren't aware, we had done QVC runs. So we thought we could easily handle this because we could handle QVC. But Shark Tank is just a different ballgame. Yeah.



So your use of engineer Fulfillment Centers In Miami, but you got to paste that hell a what's the what's with the cross country? Fulfillment Center and why and why in Miami? Considering the difficulty of leaving that area?



So no, I actually, did my training as a dermatologist in Miami. And so the business started there. And so the third person in our company, Jorge, he lives there, and he's running the logistics. And so we've kind of just kept the warehouse there. But we work with ship Bob and the main warehouses in Dallas. So yeah, yeah.



What's the what has your marketing strategy be? Like? I know with consumables, it's incredibly challenging because, you know, typically no one wants to be the first one to taste something that they haven't put in their mouth, especially if it's on E-commerce where you know, your chances are you gotta buy a good amount because of shipping and all that fun stuff. Like how have you been able to kind of get over those hurdles and get people to order the products online or even just try them in retail?



I think one of the benefits or one of the good things that have happened is when we were on Shark Tank,  you know, we have a video of the sharks tasting our product. And so when you see their reactions, they're like, Oh my God, this tastes like chicken. Oh my god, you just added oil and water. That's it. Oh my God and only has 120 calories per serving. You know, just having that shock factor and having these credible people just kind of vouch for the product that's helped us immensely. You know, definitely this year has been more challenging since you know, with iOS you can't really track people's activity on it. So it's getting harder and harder to target people. But I think you know, for us, I think that's been the main thing we know because most people are doing the influence around you got these credible people who are vouching for your product. Most people know that these people are probably getting paid to vouch for the product that you know on Shark Tank if they don't like your product they're gonna spit it out and so when you see somebody like them vouch for the product I think that's what's helped us the most



what's the expansion of the product line looks like as you guys get down like as time goes on, you know, obviously you're gonna have to expand the product line for that business to continue to grow Have you thought about what you're going to end up putting into the pipeline start testing out



we definitely have a couple of ideas I have a few ideas that I feel like would be groundbreaking in this industry to be quite honest, but I don't want to put it out there because somebody's gonna take it but I think the and this has been kind of a Remainer that you know, Maynard is always to me like alright, we need to slow down and I'm always like, no, no, no, we need more products. Let's keep going. It was kind of a good balance, but I think it's kind of taken me it's been a hard learning process that you know, you just cannot keep launching more and more products we need to keep building out what we have. See if it works if it doesn't, you know discontinue and just focus on what we have once it becomes stable then go to the next one but I mean, ideally, you know, we've been making a lot of stuff you know, in the chicken space from chicken salt, we have a Mediterranean chicken and we now have we just launched a barbecue chicken to our knowledge there are not really any barbecue plant-based chickens on the market and so we feel like you know, it's a good niche that we're hitting. And we also have you know, we have our, and then we just revamped our original chicken and I think at this time you know, our goal is just focused on what we have tried expanded and once we feel comfortable then start adding more skews.



Where are you currently available? I know you obviously have your own site but have you ventured into the different marketplaces what retail stores are you and if any what's what are the sales channels looking like



there are seasonings in the biggest retailer in Texas heb and Central Market our plant-based chicken is in sprouts nationwide. And we're also in Whole Foods Florida and we just have been sending emails just this week to see if they'll bring on our barbecue chicken and maybe take it nationwide you know one thing we've learned is you know getting into retail is cool but if you cannot move the product you know you're really shooting yourself in the foot so we're not in any rush to get mass retail expansion because that you know a lot of these companies will get investors to spend a lot of money they get on all these shelves product doesn't move and then and then the company goes bankrupt but we've kind of focusing on this kind of just health only retailers you know like sprouts and Whole Foods honestly, I



don't want to take up too much more guy's time I know you guys are slammed really appreciate you guys being on the show. I would love to give you an opportunity here let everyone know where they can find out more about yourselves obviously and of course Jada brands



Sure, you can buy our products on Amazon it also J A DA, and then if you go to any local sprouts, you can buy our plant-based chicken there and if you live in Texas, definitely go check us out at HEB



love it. Thank you so much for your time guys. Everyone that tuned in per usual please make sure you rate review subscribe on whichever podcast platform you want or YouTube or just head over to But as usual, thank you so much for tuning in. We'll see you all next time. Have a good one.



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