“My old boss was making it too easy for me to just quit my dream in LA and become comfortable in my old life.”

Daniel Odesanya, Co-Founder of Luxe Bites

Credit: Luxe Bites

I originally started out in the IT field and studied Business Studies in the UK. Since I was always naturally more drawn to technology, I thought for a long time that this would be my career path. I also ventured in different businesses by organizing live music events and comedy nights, and I was doing e-commerce, selling clothing, shoes and I had a marketing consultancy company as well – that’s where my marketing experience came from.


One day, I came to Los Angeles on vacation to visit my family and I fell in love with the city. I wanted to come back badly so I put a plan into place and made it happen. I thought my career path in LA would go down the entertainment industry, since that was what I was doing mostly before. So I started with doing consultancy for businesses and PR for events. And then COVID hit and it literally put me out of business. No one was allowed congregating in large numbers, which meant for me that I had to literally pivot everything I did.


Then, two years later, in 2021, I met my business partner Cherie Chua and she proposed the charcuterie business idea. Even though I had no idea about the food industry, I was intrigued and gave it a shot. Cherie was a corporate sales director in Canada and until then, she was making these charcuterie boards for fun as a side gig. Her dream was to go all in, but the lack of financial resources kept her away from turning her passion into a startup. I honestly didn´t know anything about charcuterie, let alone was I even able to say that word at this point. But once I saw the potential, I decided to join her.

The business had a great start and we saw how people enjoyed what we were putting out there. Our first client was a full success, and then the second happy customer came around, and the third one, and I started to realize that we were really onto something here. We could take this pretty far.


The first year was a real pinch me moment, because I didn’t think the business was going to do the numbers that it did. Through the early stages, we got very aggressive and were open seven days a week, because we both dropped out of our previous careers and wanted this to work. We were in full survival mode and were thinking: if we´re not working, we´re not getting any money in. We worked every day until 10pm, seven days a week, but we also realized pretty quickly that this wasn´t sustainable. Over time, we had to set strict work hours and become more realistic with what was going to bring longevity. Also, I felt like out of all the marketing strategies I had knowledge of, I had not even scratched the surface of what I could do for the business. I couldn’t believe that we were so successful without me really putting my hands in it.


In the beginning I was responsible for customer management, administration of the events, marketing, branding, and the tech side of things like setting up the website and so on. Cherie was the creative part and was in charge creating the charcuterie boards. Then as we got busier, I not only had to learn how to make them too and get a strong suit in the kitchen, but we also had to think about hiring more staff to be able to fulfill all orders. The question was, do we stay lean and I help in the kitchen to keep the cost down, which would also mean that it would take me away from expanding the business, or do we hire more staff and I can focus on getting more business. When you´re so consumed of what happens in the kitchen, you don’t really have the mental capacity to see the business in the bigger picture, aka bring more business in. That was actually a big discussing point between Cherie and myself. Cherie is very good with numbers and finances, but also very shrewd when it comes to how we spend the money. She didn’t really have any business experience. In her opinion, we would have not needed more staff and would be able to handle everything ourselves. So we needed to work this out as a team. Sometimes business partners have these different views and ways to approach and solve things, and it´s necessary to get on the same page to solve these issues and to be able to expand.


Another tricky part was to find a perfect location for our kitchen. When you run a food related business, there’s going to be limitations about how much stock you can have, since some of it had to be refrigerated. Besides that, once you make over a certain amount of money, you have to work out of a commercial kitchen space. So at first, we moved into a ghost kitchen, which was still not optimal because we had to book slots to come in, get our stuff prepared, and get out. Imagine what it was like catering for events or companies, booking a slot for three hours, rushing in to prepare and get ready in time and then still have to clean our station and pack our stuff. It was very stressful. Now we moved into our own kitchen space in Downtown LA, which was really exciting to me because it feels like an actual business now. Now I can just take a step back, have a better look at my inventory and best of all, we don´t have to move anything; we can come in and start right away. This was a big milestone for us.


Credit: Luxe Bites

We we´re thinking about expanding the business to different major cities in the US, e.g. hire more staff in San Francisco or New York to be able to cater in those regions. We currently only cater within a 40-mile radius of Hollywood because it’s perishable goods and we need to make sure that we are able to make it presentable at the customers location. We’re also looking into expanding in regards to having our own ethic product line, e.g. cheese, knives, and so forth. We actually currently working on packaging designs and waiting for samples to come.


When my adventure in LA started, I honestly questioned my decision more than once. I wondered if I may have made the mistake of my life. Why did I do this? It wasn’t like I left London on bad terms, but I wanted a change in my life and I didn´t want to wait until I got stuck for one reason or the other. My old manager at my previous work place even told me, that he would hold the doors open for me in case I would change my mind and wanted to go back. He was making it too easy for me to just quit my dream in LA and become comfortable in my old life. But I just left London with a big bang, had a going away party and I was telling everyone about my amazing plan. Additionally, I didn’t have a Plan B. I was just like; this is what I’m going to do and failure is not an option. Then COVID hit and it knocked me off my feet.


As hard as it was in the beginning, I think it really is just a matter of opportunity. I feel like if I started this business in London, I’d probably be a multi-millionaire by now. But there are multiple factors that come into play. This is not just about being successful financially, but also to be happy. There’s something in the air in Los Angeles that makes the whole experience so different. It’s about having a better quality of life in terms of enjoying all the hard work you do. The consumer behavior is so aggressive and you have real money here. As long as whatever you’re doing is presented well, you’re going to make it happen. And I feel like London was never going to do that for me. It´s just a different mentality. People in London like structure and will stay away from concepts that are a bit more exotic or don´t go down the mainstream career path. Being self-employed is not guaranteed money, and if you don’t see the results fast enough, it’s almost like you’re a failure. They don´t give themselves the time and space to grow into new adventures. And I didn´t want to go back and regret that I didn´t try everything in my power to make this happen in LA. I convinced myself to give me a little bit more time and thankfully eventually the tables turned, even though it took two years. A lot of good times and bad times, it was never consistent. For every day that was perfect, another challenging one followed. But to this day I never regretted my decision.




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