A Healthy Business Outlook

At Pop Karma, sustainability gives flavor to healthy treats. 

September 2016

For one New York City small business, success is more than just selling tasty snacks—it’s promoting a healthy planet and a healthy lifestyle. Sustainability is a priority for gourmet popcorn purveyor Jean Tsai of Pop Karma.

“I am passionate about organic ingredients and sustainability,” Tsai says. “Because organic food is not only better for people’s health, but the way it’s farmed is better for the environment.”

For Tsai, Pop Karma started as a personal challenge: “I love to snack, and when I started eating healthier, I could never find anything that had ingredients I trusted, that was also delicious,” she says. If she was going to find the tasty, healthy snacks she craved, she was going to have to make and sell them herself.

After several years of gaining experience and making connections, Tsai left her job in corporate America to open Pop Karma and share her commitment to promoting a healthy environment—in New York City and beyond.

“My passion for healthy snacks turned into a business opportunity when I got the right team in place, met my chef and other food entrepreneurs,” she says.

Tsai’s team, which is spread across two New York City locations, relies on advanced technology to tell Pop Karma’s story to a growing audience of health-conscious consumers across the country.

One key to reaching more people is high-speed Internet, which powers Pop Karma’s social media presence, online store and catering business.

“E-commerce is an important part of our business—we ship nationally,” Tsai says. “And, Internet helps us with our catering business because we get most of our customer inquiries online—that’s how people first get to know us.”

Besides high-speed Internet, Tsai credits advanced phone service with enabling the quality customer service that helps grow business. “People are always calling us to get more details,” Tsai says. “So having good phone service is important.”

When she was starting her business, Tsai realized that popcorn was a natural choice. “Popcorn has a great history,” she says. “It’s the oldest snack that humans have ever eaten. It’s over 5,000 years old.”

In addition to its health benefits and history, its versatility meant it could be flavored to appeal to a range of palates. “Popcorn is a wonderful canvas,” Tsai says. “It’s a whole grain, so it’s a whole food. And, it’s a base to add a lot of flavors.”

Tsai’s commitment to whole foods permeates her whole business.

“Our name is Pop Karma because I firmly believe that all of our actions have consequences—even in the food you eat,” Tsai says. “Everyone should have a responsibility for their health, their community and the environment around them.”

And, judging by the small business’ success, being a steward to the environment, indeed, brings good karma.

Watch our video to learn more about Pop Karma’s success story, including the technology used to help promote its mission of healthy snacking.

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