Behind the Brand
Fly By Jing was founded in 2018 by Jing Gao. Born in China’s Sichuan province, Jing moved across the world to attend college and business school in Canada, where she found herself growing increasingly disconnected from her roots and adopted the name “Jenny” to better connect with her peers. In her last semester of business school, Jing did an exchange program in Beijing, which ended up becoming a pivotal time in her life. Jing saw Chinese culture through a new lens, becoming especially fascinated in the diverse regional foods. Fortunately, a few years later, Jing had the opportunity to move back to China through her work and decided to pursue opportunities in food. She co-founded Baoism (an award-winning, fast-casual, and modern Chinese restaurant) in Shanghai and started an underground Sichuan-inspired supper club in Chengdu. Through her experiences, she grew captivated by the particularly unique flavors of Sichuan cuisine, but slowly began to realize that these flavors were inaccessible and virtually nonexistent in North America. Using food as a vehicle, Jing wanted to bring Chinese culture into the American market.
Jing went back to Shanghai and began searching for Chinese manufacturers. Given her lack of experience in food manufacturing, it took about nine months to find one that was willing to work with her. Her first production run cost her $30,000, which she couldn’t afford upfront, so she decided to launch Fly By Jing on Kickstarter. She asked 400 people in her network to support her campaign and cold-emailed a couple of journalists who ended up covering her brand on launch day. Thanks to her efforts, Fly By Jing became one of the highest-funded craft food projects in Kickstarter history. From there, Jing built and launched her own website, which was followed by a multi-page New York Times feature that caused her to sell out of six months’ worth of inventory in just a few days. Today, Jing has officially reclaimed her Chinese name and continues to pave the path for Asian representation in food.