April 15, 2024


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For our show The CEO Series, I’ve been lucky enough to sit down with some of the smartest and most creative business leaders in the world and get their hard-won advice on what it takes to launch and grow a thriving brand.

This episode took us to the New York Stock Exchange floor to talk with Norma Chu, founder and CEO of DayDayCook. The direct-to-consumer food and content brand has a reach of over 60 million users and completed its initial public offering in November of 2023. Norma told me that the company’s mission is to promote the joy of Asian cooking to the world through a growing portfolio of authentic Asian food brands focused on convenient ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat products.

Over the course of our conversation, Norma explained the evolution of DayDayCook, her passion for food, her strategy for business building, and, luckily, got me in the kitchen to whip up an insanely delicious red curry noodle lunch.

Below are some highlights of our conversation, which have been edited for length and clarity. Watch the full video above to learn all of her incredible insights (and to see if Norma was able to turn me into a five-star chef!)

DayDayCook’s business evolution

“DayDayCook started about 13 years ago with a simple idea: I wanted to create something that can inspire the future generation to continue to enjoy cooking. And I started doing that by creating a lot of short-form videos and sharing the content on social media platforms like YouTube. For the first three years, we’re really focused on the Hong Kong market. And then later on we expanded into the mainland China market. That’s when we started exploring different things like going into content commerce and incorporating some product recommendations into our video. And from there, I decided to launch our own branded product portfolio.”

Related: He Built a Personal Finance App That Manages $8 Billion for Half a Million Customers. Here Is the CEO of M1’s Hard-Earned Advice for Future Founders.

Trends in the food industry

“There have been a few really interesting trends in recent years. Number one is that three out of five consumers view the kitchen as the new epicenter for creativity and trying new recipes. The second trend is that East Asian cuisine has become more and more popular. And the third trend is that more people are cooking at home. Forty-three percent of consumers find themselves cooking at home more versus twelve months ago.”

Her passion for spreading joy

“I always tell people I had two true passions in life: cooking and the stock market. [Laughs] The passion for cooking started at a very young age. My parents and grandparents had a very early influence on me in terms of thinking about cooking not as a chore, but it’s as an act of care. So when you care about what you cook and what you eat and you share that with other people, joy and happiness come naturally. And that’s something very important to the company, continuing to share that joy while preserving our heritage.”

Related: How Personal Passions Fuel Business Success for the CEO of Vivid Seats

The keys to success as an entrepreneur

“When I was young, I didn’t really think about starting my own business. But at a young age, I always liked trying new things. And that carried over to my work life. I worked as a hostess, and as an intern at a private bank and at accounting firms. I also taught Chinese and English in Japan. I think that having that kind of mentality of curiosity and not being afraid of the unknown are some of the key components of being an entrepreneur. And always thinking on the positive side. If you see maybe more people are coming into this space or there’s more innovation in this space, look at that in a positive light. Think about How can I be a part of that? And the third step is really going for it. Not just having an idea. Not just having awareness. When you see the opportunity, you actually seize it and you go for it.”

Her changing role as CEO

“I started the company with a co-founder and a very small team. At first, it was about just kind of executing on the early concept of this vision. But then over time, we started raising capital and then a few years later, we decided to take on institutional investor money. So I had to learn different things. I have to learn how to fundraise. What does the series A mean? How do you prepare to pitch to investors? What is a cap table? There are a lot of things to learn. I think it’s just a continuous journey of learning over and over again. That’s a constant of being an entrepreneur and being a CEO.”

Related: Inside Potbelly’s Recipe for Fast Casual Success

DayDayCook’s IPO

“The listing journey itself was an exceptional experience. It challenged my mental toughness in terms of navigating all these different obstacles and staying level-headed and being able to map out the right strategy going forward. It was a rollercoaster. But after accomplishing something like this, I look back and realize it made me stronger and more prepared to become CEO of a listed company. And also I think the entire team just became stronger. You really need to come together to pull off a successful IPO and we did it.”



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