Episode 135
December 6, 2022

Keen on Kitchens

with Eunice Byun, Co-Founder and CEO of Material

About this episode

Today, Lee sits down with Eunice Byun, Co-Founder and CEO of Material. Eunice talked about how she grew up in San Diego with parents who owned a Chinese restaurant, how she started out working for the school newspaper at Northwestern University, why she invested heavily in PR from day one after launching Material, what she did early on to build the brand, and why it's important to align on what success looks like with investors in order to filter for the right ones.

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • (1:30) More about Material, a modern kitchen brand. If you're looking to upgrade your knives, cutting boards, cookware tools, or really anything you need to prepare a delicious meal, Material designs and manufacturers kitchenware for the modern home.
  • (3:40) What it was like growing up in San Diego, surrounded by food and spending time in the kitchen due to her parents opening different restaurants
  • (8:00) Why she believes entrepreneurship comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms, and that for her it looked really different compared to others
  • (9:40) Not knowing what she wanted to do throughout college, some of her early jobs working at her parent's restaurants, and how she ended up at Goldman Sachs
  • (20:00) How she processed working in a startup and transitioning to corporate America, and knowing that one day she would have her own business
  • (21:50) How she met her Co-Founder, David, and how they came up with the idea for Material
  • (30:00) The steps they took to get Material off the ground, and how they began to validate the idea
  • (33:00) Why they chose to start by selling to friends and family first and pushing the brand forward with PR
  • (39:00) Why building early relationships is important to help build influencer marketing
  • (40:20) Why she believes building capital ebbs and flows, and how to filter for the right investors
  • (54:17) The advice she has for aspiring entrepreneurs and what’s next for Material

To Find Out More:



“I truly had no idea what I wanted to do or be when I was older.”

“It was also almost an insatiable thirst for being able to learn stuff.”

“I love being able to figure out what people need and how they can't articulate it, and figure out how can I unearth that within them and then help them.”

“What’s hard in the early days is knowing how everything is intertwined and working together.”

“We realized that there's this real empty space for well-made, high-quality things for the kitchen and for this more modern home cook.”

“We really wanted to make a brand that made sure our product over delivered.”

“We didn't know how to talk about the things that really make us who we are as a company”

“We realized this is a relationships business. It's not just about sowing your seeds and spreading them far and wide. It’s about going deep.”

“Be mindful about the deployment of capital, rather than sitting on it.”

“The speed of growth can really undermine the quality of growth.”

“Be okay with changing your mind”

“Tomorrow's another day. Dust yourself off, and pick yourself back up. When you love what you do and you love the people you're doing it with, you're able to roll through it.”

“Be in community with other people that are doing this.”

Read the transcript

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