Before and After: Prime Roots in 2017 and Now
Ever wonder what is was like for your favorite brands when they were itty bitty baby businesses?
- Like, what made them an "overnight success"? How did they get from creating a product in their garage to suddenly owning their industry?
- Steve Jobs said, "Overnight success stories take a long time."
- And there is nothing truer ever said about any of your favorite brands...including ours. So we wanted to give you a glimpse of how Prime Roots got from "where it all began" to where it is now and what our co-founder and Chief Foodie, Kim Le, has to say about what it was like in the early days.
2017: In the beginning
What were the first prototype trials like? Where did the ideas for those first products come from?
- Kim: In the early days we were focused on making seafoods, specifically salmon and other seafoods like crab. We were doing a lot of experimentation. We did everything from growing the koji to tackling novel natural plant based flavors for seafoods. We had a lot of fun tinkering around with the growing of the koji!
- All of the product development was done in my little 300 sqft apartment in Berkeley. We used all of the unnecessarily large square footage for kitchen equipment, like my rice cookers, instant pot, etc.
- What did the day-to-day operations look like for PR in the beginning? What were the main priorities at the time?
- Kim: Day-to-day operations were really focused on making the best products and growing koji. It was fun since we had a small crew and everyone was extremely hands on.
- Our main priorities were making recipes and trying to feed people. We'd get their opinions and then go back to the drawing board to make the recipes we had better. We really felt the need to prove that we could make products that had the texture, nutrition, and the flavor of protein that we wanted and expected in a meat product.
- Every day was and still is really different. Everyone on the team holds a lot of hats. Everyone gets to do some fun and glamorous things and some not so fun and exciting things. I remember talking to a New York Times reporter while in the middle of walking and taking out the office recycling. Many times we would take meetings and calls and be in the middle of cooking up samples. It was hectic and there is never a dull moment at a startup, but we move fast with lots of passion and purpose, which keeps us all going.
- What were the biggest hurdles and growth opportunities at the time?
- Kim: Being able to focus on developing good prototypes of a specific product was difficult. We had so many thoughts and ideas on all the different things we could use the koji in, and we definitely tinkered on the side with some products. But being focused on making the best protein and best base products was really hard.
- It was also hard to wear all the hats, given we were just two people. We soon grew to include some interns and some extra hands to help out, and we got it done. There were a lot of late nights putting together recipes while putting together our website at the same time.
2021: Prime Roots in the now
What did Prime Roots accomplish last year amidst the pandemic and political turmoil?
- Kim: 2020 was a big year but also a year that was met with a lot of uncertainty in the whole world. We were thrown a lot of curveballs, but we persevered, kept the team safe and were able to launch and ship out products to our supportive community. We have also been making strides at scaling our product line and increasing the availability of our products. You can learn more about our 2020 challenges and triumphs here!
- What do the day-to-day operations look like now?
- Kim: Everyone still wears a lot of hats, and it's a lot of fun to be able to learn and scale and see things come to life fast. We are a team of 20+ now so we are always working on a lot of different exciting things! But we are still small enough so it's familial like. We all can't wait until COVID is better/over so we can more easily and readily share food with one another, which has always been a really big thing for us.
- What are the current challenges and growth opportunities now?
- Kim: I think the opportunity for growth lies with the koji. We can make so many things, and we now have a community that wants us to make hundreds of different products, which is exciting!
- It is challenging to scale all of our processes from making the Koji to making the products, since we are essentially going farm to table. So we are navigating scaling things up to be able to have more products and be more widely available to more people across the country (And around the world. We see you, foodie fans in 50+ countries!)
- What are the similarities and differences between Prime Roots 2017 and Prime Roots 2021?
- Kim: We still have the same passion and love for our products and our community! We are still focused on uniting people and sharing delicious food with everyone. Creating good tasting, high quality food with no compromises is still the cornerstone of what we do.
- The difference? We're so excited to finally be able to share our products with our community and the world more readily on our website and online! It took many years of recipe tweaking and development to grow and share our hard work with the world. We are excited to continue to grow and do that even more!
- Is Prime Roots today what you had envisioned in 2017? What came to fruition? What came as a surprise?
- I think it's hard to see that far in the future. Initially, we're just trying to make a recipe work and we don't know if it will or not. Persistence and perseverance are important, but sometimes you still just don't know if it will work. So, in the beginning, we were really focused on making delicious food that people will love. Food that would bring together meat eaters and plant lovers alike. And we still are doing that today, just in a slightly larger building with more people on the team. In the community, we have been surprised at the unwavering support we've received! The community helps us make the best products and has been bearing with us through the development delays, shipping delays, and all the ups and downs. We are looking forward to more wins for people and planet!
- Everyone loves a good story, especially when it's about helping people and planet live healthier and happier lives! We believe this is only the beginning of the Prime Roots journey. With your help, we'll continue to reimagine meat (and meals) together and strive to feed the world!
- We'd love for you to #meatthefuture with us! Join the community and reap the rewards of being one of our food besties!
Check out our FAQs for more info.
More questions? Contact us at Hello@PrimeRoots.com
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