Fashion Marketer by Day, Food KOL by Night

Fashion Marketer by Day, Food KOL by Night

It started when I got introduced to an APP where foodies get together and I would cook for total strangers
— Mary Ma, KOL

Meet our very own Superwoman. A luxury fashion marketer by day and a food KOL by night, Mary Ma is a chef, a foodie, and an aspiring restaurateur. The passion she brings to the scene is infectious and all began back when she was hosting dinners right out of her house for total strangers. Now, she has launched a very popular pop-up burger stand that specializes in boutique burgers at affordable prices, and she is well on her way to achieving her dream of one day opening her own restaurant.

And all of this while she is working full-time.

For her pop-up burger joint, the scene usually sells out within the hour. They start promptly at 11 PM, just as everyone is beginning to trickle out of the clubs tipsy from their alcohol. She utilizes professional chefs in the area to infuse unique and fresh flavors and ingredients into burgers she pumps out on the weekends, and she also fuses customer interaction by pulling someone up on the stage and incorporating them into the show.

It is this blend of wonderful food and positive audience interaction that has kept them coming back for more, and now she is pumping out hundreds of burgers simply on the weekends alone!

In the beginning, their target audience was simply the people coming out of the bars. They wanted to take advantage of the munchies that people usually get when they are drinking, but it became such a cult phenomenon that people now stumble out in their pajamas to wait in line for one of her burgers.

One of the things that has stunted Mary Ma in the restaurant world is the idea of rent. It is catastrophically high and takes the lives of many budding restaurants within the first year, so her pop-up burger stand allows her to test the market. Not only that, but it enables her to garner a following as well as perfect her craft so she can reduce variance within her product. It gives her more confidence-- as well as more monetary wiggle room-- to take the steps she needs in order to fulfill her own dream.

However, this is not all she is. Mary Ma is also a KOL. A ‘key opinion leader’ is simply someone who is followed within an industry whose opinion is important to the masses. Her journey to becoming a KOL began three years ago when she was utilizing a friend’s app that brought together foodies and home-cookers. What would happen is this: the home-cookers would cook and take pictures of their food, then set the number of people they could feed. Then, people could register to come to their home and partake in the delicious food.

Yes, she was serving complete strangers out of her home.

That launched her to where she is today with her pop-up burger stand, but that is what she does during the evenings. During the day, she is the PR agent for a luxury goods brand and is surrounded by creative people who share their life experiences.

Here is what Mary Ma’s day looks like: she wakes up around 6 AM and gives herself two hours to put herself together and think about things regarding her burger booth, such as potential guest chefs and new burger combinations. Then, she goes into work and takes her lunch hour to think about more private things, such as the checklist she usually makes in the morning. She gets off work, she goes home to cook and see her husband, and then it’s straight into preparing for your pop-up burger stand!

It’s a whirlwind of a day done by a woman who has two great passions in her life.

The biggest lesson she wants people to understand is that trying is better than dreaming. You can dream about your passions all you want, but action is necessary in order to put them into motion. Look at her, for instance. She had a passion for cooking but had no idea where to start, so she started feeding strangers out of her home.

Sometimes, off-roading is necessary to get you to where you want to be. Just because someone has carved a path for you does not mean that path will fit your goals. One thing is for certain, however: you will never get what you want from life simply by dreaming.

Do what Mary Ma did. Get out there and make those connections. Take their advice and see what it does for you. Take your dreaming and turn it into actions.

Rebecca Travis

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