This is one of those rare moments where I’m going to wax marketing on you. I’m writing this on behalf of me, not Moxsie, so there’s your disclaimer. This is not an industry blog. This is not an industry blog. This is not an industry blog.
“My Baby” of a project was picked up by the SF Weekly’s SFoodie blog, and it was so exciting to see that recognition so early on in our experiment!
My latest proudest moment has been stuffing people’s faces with food. I, for one, particularly enjoy that pastime, so why shouldn’t everyone else? Every Friday (and I’m very thankful for this – so necessary for a small company’s morale!) we round up the Moxsie office for a company lunch. One department picks the cuisine, and instead of ringing a triangle, someone sends out a company-wide e-mail and hungry mouths suddenly appear.
A few weeks ago our CTO surprised us by inviting MoGo BBQ to provide our lunch. I don’t have enough time to verbalize how gluttonous and delicious it was. Street food is just a lot of fun, and I’m all for this novelty which has so far been kept exclusive to San Francisco and the East Bay.
When we were wrapping things up, I couldn’t stop the ideas sparking in my head. “We should do this every week!” I said, and I was dead serious. It’s like telling a five-year old there’s a pony in the back yard. Don’t joke about food.
It wasn’t just my stomach driving my excitement, though I can see why one would think so. Not only was MoGo highly enjoyable, it was also sending me a spike in Facebook activity. DLP actually wrote on my wall to tell me that MoGo was coming to my office. People were that excited for their appearance, lining up in this random Palo Alto parking lot to try Korean-inspired tacos. DLP and I discussed the tacos in the haze of our separate food comas, and I mentioned to him the hyperbolic thought of hosting a street food cart every week. There’s a point in even Internet conversations where “seriously” becomes less of “SRSLY” and more of “no, seriously,” and it became apparent that someone had to make this a regular occurrence. Fortunately, an email from our CEO came to me just in time, saying “I think you’re onto something…”
“I’M ON IT!” I fired off in reply. And Moxsie Street Eats was born.
What’s the point?
Moxsie doesn’t make any money off of street carts parking in our lot, so why be an online store that ships internationally while wasting time planning an in-person event that occurs only locally? At the heart of it, street food is within our mission statement. Moxsie only sells independent designers, a feat which, in itself, is really about exposure and setting off the tipping point for the next big thing. Supporting independent businesses like MoGo BBQ and Sam’s Chowder Mobile is a natural extension of bringing something fresh and new to the masses. Moxsie also practices social responsibility, and real-life students of “deep economies” – business owners themselves – can understand that supporting your local businesses is investing in your surrounding community.
There’s also the cool factor of being that office who does that thing. As my coworker said, it’s our first “branding” event and it characterizes us as a company that’s unafraid to try something new. Startup organizations are mistaken to believe that being a startup automatically gives you quirky personality. You really have to build it. Be the quirky.
Filling a hole.
While San Francisco has had its Street Food Festivals and Oakland has hosted its Eat Reals, the Peninsula has been the neglected eldest sibling in the Bay Area family. Maybe Palo Alto is too esteemed. Maybe it’s too posh. But I can assure you, even after three months of commuting and being militant with bringing my own lunch, University Avenue gets old. Sometimes I don’t want to sit in a restaurant worrying if my Patagonia top is neutral enough with my European sandals – Okay, no, all the time I don’t want to sit in a restaurant worrying if my Patagonia top is neutral enough with my European sandals.
Palo Alto is full of startups, VCs, college students, and people who’d love to let their hair down. With a weekly no-pressure meetup, we’re injecting a bit of fun into a generally overlooked community. The Moxsie office is well off of University Avenue, so there’s parking for the vendors, but still in walking distance, so it’s not much of a stretch for local employees to come out.
Of course, you never know who you’re going to meet when, and networking will naturally sprout from a gathering of people with one common interest. One of the beauties of bringing people together through food is that even if you’re not a creme brulee fan, you’re a human with a basic need for sustenance. Food, good and bad, is an equalizer. Everyone can talk about food.
We’ve already been witnessing instances of unexpected networking. For one, I learned that the woman whose husband ultimately introduced me to Billiam was in the same undergraduate Chinese class as my boss. In a more social media-based case, one of my friends from college brought a coworker who later added me on Facebook. And added pics from the event to her photos. After adding herself as a fan to our Page. Eventually, she Liked one of the pics we posted to Facebook. And later on, we noticed she had RSVPed to the original Yelp event we had posted. (She checked in on FourSquare as well.) Finally, as proof that a more personalized introduction will get you something, after having met up twice at Street Eats, Lynnie Chan made her first Moxsie purchase today.
So again, this is not an industry blog, and I can really only claim this line of thinking as my own, and not representative of all of Moxsie. But while you’re here, bookmark our calendar: http://bit.ly/streeteats – It’ll do your stomach good.