Ramon Vela of "The Story of a Brand" Interviews Leland


The Yai’s team was so excited to listen to Leland’s interview on The Story of a Brand with Ramon Vela! The two talk about the company’s history, the importance of authenticity and sticking to your values and roots, what it’s like to run a brand with your partner, and what’s most important to Leland for the brand. 

Leland speaks on how Yai’s Thai aims to make Thai curries, Thai stir fries and other classic Thai dishes a staple in American’s weeknight dinner rotations. 

Ramon and Leland talk about how a lot of heritage foods are gaining popularity in the US. The two agree that just like Mexican food, from Vela’s heritage, being a staple in American’s weekly dinner plans, Thai food should be as well. 

Ramon asks Leland if he started the brand because heritage brands have been gaining popularity recently, and the answer is quite the opposite.

“We noticed that there wasn’t a whole lot of innovation happening in the Asian set,” says Leland. "There were a couple legacy brands and not a lot of players. We definitely saw that as an empty white space, but it wasn’t until recently that that set has gained a lot of traction. We really were one of the first to move into the set and start to do things differently and do some new takes, new innovation, a new type of branding.” 

Ramon and Leland discuss authenticity and the challenges of holding strong to your values in the modern day CPG climate. In fact, Ramon asks Leland what he’s most proud of, and Leland says that it’s having “my Yai approves of the sauces. Having that approval and having my [family] actually be consumers of the sauces is really important to me and that’s the thing I’m most proud of personally.” 

He’s also proud of maintaining that authenticity, especially when it comes at a cost with raising capital.

To hear more about the beginning stages of the brand, the entrepreneurial side of the brand’s story, and even what it’s like to run a business with your spouse, be sure to check the full interview. You can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts!

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