Lauryn Chun started Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi as a solo endeavor and created it as an homage to her mother in 2009. Today, her mother’s delicious family kimchi sits on the shelves of popular grocery chains and is shipped directly to homes across the nation.
The appetite for more
A layoff during the 2008 recession made Lauryn ask herself how to make things that she loved into a job. That’s when she had her light bulb moment. Lauryn shares, “There was a whole craft movement happening at that time – beer, cheese, jam. What if I could position Kimchi as a craft fermented food?”
Lauryn lived in New York at the time but frequently returned home to California. Every visit, her mother, who owns a Korean restaurant called Jang Mo Gip, always wrapped up her special kimchi to bring back with her. There was nothing like it on the shelves. So, the next time Lauryn walked into her local market, she approached the owner. Here, with 10 jars from home, she kicked off a thriving Kimchi empire.
Spicing up sales and growth with Google
Mother-in-Law’s House Kimchi quickly became a revered favorite with vegan recipes and a full line of condiments shortly after. After years of success in grocers, a published cookbook, and even Oprah spotlighting the brand, an ecommerce website was thrown together to support online orders.
From 2012 to 2017, they ran a small ecommerce business. But it was when they tapped into Google in 2019 that things scaled rapidly.
Maggie O’Rear continues, “It didn’t slow down when grocery stores closed in 2020 either. With Google tools, we were able to capitalize on the demand for ecommerce when all of the retailers were closed.”
“Once we saw success in branded Google Ads and keywords, we also started to put our product on Google Shopping in 2021. We have niche products people die for. Ecommerce is great because we can offer customers everything they want even when retailers don’t see the value in carrying it.”
With Google Ads and Google Shopping, Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi saw a 270% increase in total sales online, averaging 2 million digital impressions per year.
Running on Google now and then
From their beginning, Lauryn tells us, “Google Analytics was very powerful. We learned about our campaigns, what regions our customers were in, who was landing on our site — just really incredible.”
Today, Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi runs on Google Workspace. With marketing in New York, a nationwide sales team of 20, and production all over Southern California, “we use the whole Google suite a lot — especially with our external partners and vendors,” Maggie says. They also use Google Teams to chat, Google Voice for customer service inquiries, and multiple Gmail accounts for Google Ads.
A labor of love with accolades
Mother-in-Law’s house kimchi remains the only kimchi brand in the country that uses full leaves of cabbage, carefully hand folded into glass jars.
As the first brand of kimchi nationally accepted and carried by Whole Foods, it’s clear how Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi products have earned accolades from renowned chefs, countless food magazines, food editors at The New York Times, and more.