How did you go about building your audience for @foodsinthe6ix on Instagram? What makes you stand out among the food influencer accounts?
Well Foodsinthe6ix first started as a personal food blog page where I just started posting dishes that I would eat exploring the Greater Toronto Area. With a catchy name and the love for food amongst many already in the foodie community the audience grew itself. When I started @foodsinthe6ix, the number the hashtags was at 11 (which was just my posts). Currently it’s at over 11.5K tags with hundreds of people tagging the page daily to be featured. I’d like to think I stand out from other food influencer accounts because the term “foodsinthe6ix” is more of a brand now that is partnered with multiple businesses.
How does @6ixkitchen fit in the picture? Have you been able to monetize your Instagram following? If so – how?
When I started @foodsinthe6ix, I envisioned it to serve as a medium to help promote other businesses I had in mind including 6ixkitchen in the future. 6ixkitchen is a hot sauce, marinade and dry rub business which I started recently promoting heavily on @foodsinthe6ix and now it currently has its own large following which I was able to monetize. Social media marketing is by far the best marketing platform. 6ixkitchen started late December 2020 and in just 4 months, I’ve sold over 600 bottles of hot sauces, released 3 flavours, got our products into 3 retailers and it was all because of brand recognition on Instagram.
How does your full-time job at TD fit in with your aspirations here? Is the work you’re doing on Instagram something you would like to build into a full-time income? Why or why not?
To be honest, TD does not fit in with any of these aspirations at all. TD is more of an opportunity for me to learn how a corporate environment works while gaining professional skills to better myself. The Instagram brands and businesses are more of a passion, something very close to my heart. I would definitely like to build this into a full-time income and I’d like to believe I’m already on my way there. I start every vision I have with an abundance of potential for growth, and that’s the path I’d like to take with these brands.
What is something about being a social media influencer that you would say could be viewed negatively? Anything about being an influencer that has been unexpected?
Being a social media influencer gives me a certain first impression of me based solely on what they see on social media – good or bad. Something that was unexpected, was the overwhelming love and feedback I got for the 6ixkitchen products. Although I don’t look for it, the external validation was did give me more motivation to inch toward my future big goals for it.
What’s one goal that, if you were to accomplish it over the next three months, would feel like a big win for you?
If I were to tell you, it would ruin the surpise no? I have a few ideas and goals in the upcoming months under the 6ixkitchen line, so keep an eye out! What I can tell you is that I will make it a priority to get the products I currently have to more retailers so that it becomes easier to access. I want sure as many people as possible have access to my products.
How have your family and friends supported you through your journey? Did you have any doubters?
Family and friends were very supportive. They encouraged me right from the beginning when I started with my food blo page and helped spread the word via social media platforms. My family and friends have always lended a helping hand in whatever was necessary to ensure the success of my products. Yes, I do have doubters as well, but I do my best to focus on the positive.
Where do you see yourself personally in the next 3-5 years?
I see my various brands hitting their respective peaks. I have a plan that is quit detailed (with exact dates) on how I plan to roll out everything in the next 3 years. I believe it’s important to plan ahead as a business owner, especially since what I want is to create a full-time gig of my side hustles where I wouldn’t need a 9-5 job anymore.
What is a failure you’ve experienced in the last 5-10 years that you’ve learned the most from?
This question made me laugh because if I wrote out all my failures it would be a novel. I fail all the time and probably more than a lot of people because I try a lot of different things. There is no way around failure if you want to learn. One lesson I would say I benefited from, is not to repeat the same mistakes over and over because of the toll it takes on your will to keep pushing forward.
In terms of your personal legacy, in a few sentences, describe how you want to be remembered by your family and friends?
This is easy – I want to be remembered as a nice and caring individual. Beyond this, I want to be remembered as a person that worked for everything he has and built a dream out of nothing but his own imagination and will.