After nearly two decades of offline business, Yang Kee Trading is finally getting the e-commerce treatment, thanks to marketing maven Michelle Yang. Like many Airmart shops, Yang Kee Trading is a Chinese-owned family business.
Michelle’s parents started Yang Kee Trading in 2004 to bring vegetarian Taiwanese foods to the San Francisco Bay Area. They’ve been a major supplier of frozen foods and dried snacks like imitation pork floss to local Asian grocery stores ever since.
“Vegetarian and vegan foods have been a big part of Asian cuisine for a very long time,” Michelle explained. “Many Asian foods just happen to be vegetarian or vegan by nature. But we really only see Western vegan products in stores.”
There are a few competitors out there, but Michelle says no business provides customer service quite like her family’s. ” My dad is super diligent and hands-on. He’s always had us place our products on the store shelves ourselves, and he is constantly checking the inventory at stores.”
The affinity for vegan and vegetarian products comes from a long family history of health-consciousness. Michelle’s grandmother was a Chinese herbal doctor, and her mother is “vegan-ish.” “We only sell products we would eat ourselves,” Michelle shared. “We never sell anything with ingredients that you’d need a chemistry degree to understand.”
Though Yang Kee Trading started when she was quite young, Michelle has always played a key role in the family business.
“As many children of immigrants will know, when your parents start a business, you become a part of it,” Michelle said. “I was the IT department, their business lawyer, you name it.”
Growing up, Michelle spent many weekends hosting product demos in grocery stores. When she went off to college, she stepped away from the family business to pursue her marketing career.
In 2022, she realized that as successful as Yang Kee Trading was, the business had zero online presence to speak of. She decided to change that by setting up a Shopify store.
The shop went unshared for months but to Michelle’s surprise, still received a handful of orders. Then, earlier this year, Michelle launched a few ads that brought in a steady stream of orders. E-commerce was looking promising, so Michelle left her full-time job to put more energy into the family business.
When Airmart reached out, she was quick to sign up. “I’m always happy to support other Asian businesses,” she said. “The platform is super straightforward to use, too.”
Michelle appreciates the free tier of Airmart’s services as well. “We need to lower the entry cost of starting a business, especially for Asian and other immigrant-owned businesses.”
Michelle looks forward to adding more products to the Airmart shop and scaling the business now that it’s online. “My parents have never hired anyone, they’ve always done things themselves. I want to add employees but still maintain our quality and the family business feel.”
Bring your family food business online with Airmart.