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Introducing UPRISERS’ first Family Market at ComplexCon 2021 | Get to Know Asian-Owned Snack and Beverage Brands

From exclusive capsule collection to celebrating best-loved Asian-owned, UPRISERS Family Market is making its presence at ComplexCon

 

 

Persimmons. Asian snacks. Good vibes. Can you guess how we’re showing up to ComplexCon? Introducing UPRISERS’ first Family Market. We reflected on various avenues of celebrating our cultural roots while standing true to “what you wear is what you represent.” The conclusion is our capsule collection that sparks meaningful conversations to dive-deep. For this specific collection, Founder + Creative Director of UPRISERS Michelle K. Hanabusa was inspired by her childhood memories of her great-grandparents and great-aunt. Specifically her memories of eating fresh cut persimmons from her great-grandparents’ homegrown persimmon tree and the legacy of her great-aunt, who was not only known for her magnetic personality but also owned a convenience store in Los Angeles. When we look at this collection, it’s a celebration with purpose – learning where we came from to inspire where we’re going. Ultimately, with the hope that in the midst of these conversations, understanding we’re all connected in more ways than one. 
 
It’s a loud and proud celebration of our roots – a reclaiming of the narrative. We’re familiar with the stories of our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles owning and operating their own businesses and restaurants. For them, it’s the anecdote of survival, local family markets were a home away from home, and Asian-owned restaurants were a way of connecting back to their culture through food. Ours is of rewriting the narratives, claiming a seat at the table, and pioneering industry-shifting representation. It’s time to get a little rowdy, we’re honoring what made us different. Here’s all the Asian-owned brands you’ll see at UPRISERS Family Market. They’re delivering the bold, nostalgic, authentic flavors and spices of their cultures.  
 
So without further ado, here’s the complete list. 

 

 

 

PANDA EXPRESS 


Did you know? Panda Express is the largest American Chinese fast casual chain in the United States, and has more than 2,200 locations in 12 countries, including Mexico, Japan, Korea and Philippines. 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Orange Chicken? Panda Express. Which makes sense – Panda Express is the largest American Chinese dining concept in the world and the creator of the iconic Original Orange Chicken. For nearly four decades, Andrew and Peggy Cherng, Panda Restaurant Group’s Co-Founders and Co-Chief Executive Officers, have embodied dedication, innovation, associate care, and philanthropy.

Surprisingly, their first business endeavor wasn’t Panda Express. (There was a prologue before the original orange chicken was created.) It was actually Panda Inn, which was operated by Andrew and his father, Chef Ming Tsai Cherng. The business proved to be an all hands on deck operation; Peggy left her engineering job to help out. After months of pouring their hearts and souls, things finally turned for the better. 

Then came the history-making pivot in 1983. Andrew and Peggy opened the first Panda Express at the Galleria Mall in Glendale, California. Tapping into her background in computer science, Peggy built the company’s first operations system to assure the best food and guest service. This was the turning point that allowed Panda Express to scale in size. From there, Panda Express became the first taste of Chinese food and culture for so many Americans and people all over the world. 

Led by their belief of paying it forward and the company’s value of giving, they have generously given back to the community through Panda Cares, Panda CommUnity Fund, and additional donations for COVID-19 relief efforts. As they expand coast to coast, the company continues to make an impact at a global scale.

 

Hunni 

Did you know? Hunni will be the first Soju made from California rice? 

Everyone stares at the guest who brings the pack of soju – it could either be a good time or an inevitable hangover; regardless, there's unanimous agreement it’s going to be one memorable night. We couldn’t not invite Hunni Soju. The name itself is an expression of closeness, it stems from the English translation of “yobo” which is a Korean term of endearment that means “honey” or “darling.” 

Hunni Soju is the newest brand extension from Yobo Drinks Inc., the makers of Yobo Soju. Reminiscing on the fond memories of K.Town, founders Carolyn Kim and John Noe are introducing a line of premium flavored soju products available in two formats – ready-to-drink canned sparing soju cocktails and 750 mL multi-serve pour-over flavored soju. 

Through Hunni Soju, they’re introducing others to Korean culture, food and heritage. Going beyond the drink, it’s a blend of Korean and American cultures to reimagine soju for the next generation of soju drinkers. 

 

 

Cropsticks 

Did you know? Cropsticks by Cropmade are in 500+ restaurants, hotels and retailers nationwide. 

A winning situation? Your chopsticks not rolling off the table. A win-win situation? Sustainable chopsticks that don’t roll off the table. Founder Mylen Fe Yamamoto was inspired with the idea of Cropsticks while on a flight to Asia because her chopsticks kept rolling off the tray table. She brainstormed ideas to solve this problem – Cropsticks was created. She was determined it was going to be more than a creative invention, there was going to be purpose. “Leaving behind a greener environment for future generations”' became the core vision for Cropsticks.  

Before fully committing to Cropsticks in 2016, Mylen was teaching entrepreneurship as a clinical professor at Loyola Marymount University. She’s a fourth-generation Japanese-Filipino American who was born and raised in Hawaii. Having a strong connection to her generational roots, she believes her grandfather, Yozo Yamamoto who fought for America in the 100th Infantry Battalion during WWII, helped pave the opportunities she has today. It’s the actions of the past generations that motivate her to create a better future for upcoming generations. 

 

Sanzo

Did you know? Prior to starting Sanzo, Sandro Roco worked at a nuclear power plant, Wall Street, and a men's fashion start up.  

Sparkling water is a must for any grocery list. Let’s get a little adventurous and add Sanzo’s Lychee and Calamansi flavors to our cart. These flavors were developed when Queens-born and New Jersey-raised founder Sandro Roco was walking through a popular Asian supermarket in Manhattan’s Koreatown when he noticed a gap between the modern, clean labels of “American” brands and the preservative-laden and sugary labels of legacy Asian brands. His solution: celebrate high quality Asian flavors.  

From humble beginnings in his 500 square-foot studio with a single kitchen scale to sold  in-stores and restaurants nationwide, Sanzo continues to represent the bridge of East and West cultures.

 

 

Fly by Jing

Did you know? The word “Fly” refers to the hole-in-the-wall restaurants that are so popular in Chengdu that they attract people like flies. And “Jing” is Jing’s birth name that she recently reclaimed after going by Jenny for most of her life.  

Can’t have a Family Market without bold, spicy, unapologetic flavors. Hand over the Mala Spice Mix, Sichuan Chili Crisp and Zhong Sauce. All amazing flavors inspired by Jing’s hometown Chengdu. Jing is a chef, entrepreneur and renowned expert on Chinese cuisine. She uses her experience as a chef to share meaningful flavors that introduce new ideas and conversations. 

While on a quest to reconnect with her roots, she was inspired to rewrite false narratives on Chinese cuisine in the West. Fly By Jing was her way of telling her story. Through her cooking, she wants to show that Chinese food can be made from the highest quality ingredients without artificial additives and preservatives 

Spearheading meaningful conversation continues as Fly By Jing will soon be launching in Whole Foods, Target, Costco and more.

 

 

HanJan

Did you know? Oriental Raisin, known as Huggae in Korean, is a powerful, rare fruit used in traditional Asian medicine to remedy liver health for hundreds of years. It’s also one of the key ingredients in HANJAN. 

Ditch the Asprin, Pedialyte and Pho. Cure the evidence of a good night out with HANJAN jelly. HANJAN is a next-generation wellness brand offering a one-of-a-kind anti-hangover supplement, which promotes natural alcohol defense and supports liver health. Your headache will thank you. 

HANJAN was created in 2021 by founders Althea Lim and Kuik Xiaoshio. The goal was to reinvent age-old orential ingredients and honor traditions with a modern twist to keep up with today’s lifestyles. Proud of their heritage, the team sought to create a next generation wellness brand for passionate individuals who love to work and play harder – without compromising their health. 

 

 

 

LaTea Lounge

Did you know? Most boba shops import their boba from overseas, meaning they’re filled with preservatives and artificial ingredients. Meanwhile, LaTea’s boba is made in-house from scratch. 

We can’t forget everyone’s favorite, boba! And of course it’s LaTea Lounge boba. We’re all here for the natural and fresh ingredients with zero preservatives and artificial ingredients. We can never go wrong with grandma’s top secret recipe. 

It’s the journey of two determined college students who turned a business concept into a successful company with multiple locations nationwide. Founder Jack Hsiao grew up deeply inspired by his father’s entrepreneurial spirit. He knew he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and open his own business. Pursuing his dreams, Jack came to the United States during his sophomore year of high school, and later attended Purdue University. It was 2012, his senior year of college, when Jack and his roommate TJ developed a business model based on his extensive knowledge of the bubble tea industry he gained from his grandmother’s experience. The following year, they collaborated with local restaurants to sell LaTea drinks, which was so successful they opened their first brick and mortar the next year. And the rest is history. 

 

 

Neonize

Did you know? Neonize has easy-to-use online design tools to customize your neon sign. 

Hit the lights. Give the space a glow-up.  Neonize offers the best quality neon lights for all types of surfaces, indoor spaces, and occasions. Perfect for the Family Market space.  

Neonize was founded early 2020 by two friends Nic and Jermone. With no clear agenda but a go-with-the-flow approach, they moved to Canada from the Philippines. It wasn’t until they attended university they entertained the idea of starting their own business.  

Starting a business in a different country invariably came with different levels of challenges, but they were determined to give back to their roots – with no regrets. Their first business was Outgive, a Toronto-based company specialized in E-commerce and digital marketing. The goal was to give opportunities for fellow Filipinos to share their talents.  

Neonize turned into a reality when Nic was searching for the perfect neon sign but couldn’t find one. He decided to make one  – it was a way to express himself through art. For them, it’s more than just a business: the neon light is a representation of empowerment, bringing a sense of confidence to the room. 

 

 

 

Nomsi

Did you know? Calamansi is native to the Philippines and is believed to be a natural hybrid, with kumquat in the percentage. 

It’s not a lime, It’s not an orange. It’s calamansi! If you haven’t tried it, what are you waiting for? It’s a must. Nomsi is the taste-of-home calamansi fruit juice. 

Nomsi started from an epiphany. Founder Victor Elizaga was sitting in his backyard in Walnut Creek, CA. with his buddy Ricky. He glanced over at his calamansi tree and reminisced on how much he missed authentic calamansi beverages from his childhood in the Philippines. He decided to produce his own calamansi beverage, this was the birth of Pacific Fruit Beverage Company. 

It took nine months until Victor perfected the recipe. The final product was unique, authentic and thirst quenching. Today, Pacific Fruit and Beverage is the purveyor of superior calamansi beverages marketed under its trademarked brand, Nomsi. 

 

 

Must Love  

Did you know? Mollie and Hannah met in undergrad during a rush event for a co-ed business fraternity. Mollie is actually Hannah’s “little.” 

Anyone have room for dessert? Of course we all do! Don’t worry, we have the lactose and talented folks covered. Must love is a modern-day, non-dairy ice cream brand. It’s mission is to create the most delicious dairy-free treats that bring together ice cream lovers who want to make healthier choices. 

Founders Mollie Cha and Hannah Hong met at UC Berkeley and it was friendship at first sight. They became best friends, roommates, maid/matron of honors at each other’s weddings, and cofounders. So why dairy free ice cream? Friends for over 15 years, they became lactose intolerant in their early 20’s, but still wanted to enjoy the taste of ice cream. Mollie discovered banana nice cream and made it for Hannah – this was the beginning of Must Love. 

As first generation Americans born to immigrant families from South Korea, they grew up watching their families build their businesses in the United States. They credit their families for instilling in them the entrepreneurial spirit they have today. Must Love can be found at all Sprouts Farmers Markets nationwide.

 

 

BowlCut 

Did you know? 

Adrian played the main villain, Reverend Parris in The Crucible in High School. Will once played rocks paper scissors with Logic on the streets of Soho. When Crystal was three years old, she won the jackpot in Vegas with her dad using his quarter

Have you eaten yet? The question Asian grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles always ask on cue. Culturally, it’s an expression of care and love. Food is a way of communicating a dialogue words don’t always quite convey. BowlCut is continuing the conversation. The brand is a line of Asian American sauces inspired by their parents, bottled by them. 

As children of Chinese restaurant owners, the kitchen was a crucial element in navigating two distinct worlds and food was their means of connecting them. Founders Adrian Ng, Crystal Ung, and Will Kang are channeling their past experiences to provide modern sauces. All natural with unique flavors that remind us of those home-cooked, childhood meals. 

 

 

 

  

 

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