DANIEL KURNIANTO PRODUCES TEMPEH IN THE US OUT OF LOVE
Daniel Kurnianto set up food startup BOSTempeh in the US because his beloved wife craved some. Talk about dedication.
BOSTempeh sells one of Indonesia's protein staples, tempeh, to the US market. The founder, Daniel Kurnianto, is an Indonesian who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. He works together with his wife, Meylia Tio, as well as another Indonesian couple, they are Aristiya Dwiyanti and Octavianus Asoka.
Luckily, The S Media team have a good opportunity to talk with Daniel about his journey when he established this business in a foreign country.
Thanks for bringing Indonesian tempeh to Boston. We heard that BOStempeh was born from the sincerity of love, is it true?
Thank you for noting our initial seed. It is indeed that my wife’s craving for authentic and original Indonesian tempeh here in the United States and my love to her that BOStempeh was born: fresh, delicious, healthy, no aftertaste or bitterness, and best of all, it doesn’t crumble - something that set us apart from our competitors.
As Indonesians, we know all too well that food brings us together. Given the arduous tempeh-making process, I made multiple packs, enjoyed ourselves, and shared with our family friends when I make some. Credits go to them who encouraged us to market them because of BOStempeh’s authentic and original taste.
We first advertised them on Facebook, and responses were extremely positive. The rest is history.
Could elaborate more on the superiority of BOStempeh? How did the US market react?
One of BOStempeh’s signatures is that our tempeh doesn’t crumble easily. When you slice them super thin, the beans are intact. The saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and I hope this video intrigues you more.
Our customers are largely locals who show tremendous appreciation to our artisan tempeh. I welcome you to visit our Google reviews and other social media platforms where testimony and reviews are posted.
(I think the potential for Indonesian culinary business in the US) is limitless. It is in the growing trend: green, sustainable, plant-based and healthy lives. We are expecting to keep growing our sales as well our production throughput for our main product: the fresh tempeh.
Upgrading the production machine is our main priority to get a scalable process while keeping the authenticity and high-level premium products.
It’s mentioned that you work with your wife. Do you meet such special challenges in terms of working with the couple?
This is not our first time working together as a power couple. A few years back, Meylia assisted me in establishing a manufacturing plant from the ground up in Salatiga, Indonesia, PT Formulatrix Indonesia Salatiga.
It is imperative to note that when having business discussions, we position ourselves as professionals. By doing so, when arguments or disagreements occur, we are not mudding the water of our personal lives as husband and wife.
Is that difficult to run a business in a foreign country? What are some challenges that you mostly meet?
I started a manufacturing plant in Salatiga back in 2006. As I recalled, the business establishment process and its associated paperwork were a lot more complicated back in Indonesia than here in the States. Between Surat Izin Usaha Perdagangan (SIUP) and Tanda Daftar Perusahaan (TDP), we were told that in order to get a SIUP, we needed TDP and vice versa.
There are a series of structured regulations, certifications, and inspections we must comply with and pass to run our business and sell our products to customers. Tempeh has huge potential despite its lower popularity when compared to tofu, so our strategic plans include creative ways to introduce tempeh as a protein source through different cuisines such as Mexican taco and Japanese katsu.
What led you to entrepreneurship?
Ever since I was in middle school, I made stuff and sold them to my fellow school friends, from hairpins, stickers, T-shirts to hamsters or guinea pigs. In other words, entrepreneurship is in my DNA, and it always excites me.
Whatever career path we are choosing, it comes with its own challenges, so as long as we get our focus right and strive to succeed, I believe you’ll accomplish what you put your mind into.
How do you define success, do you believe you are a successful person?
For me, success is an ability to continually learn and grow. Expanding is a success that makes me happy. Money, which is translated as profits, for example, is a positive by product obviously.
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