ONE YEAR πŸŽ‰πŸŽˆπŸŽ

This week we celebrated GUUDBELLY's 1-year existence. Not gonna lie, its been a surreal experience & it doesnt even feel like a year. Our first delivery order took place on September 28th, 2015 -- And its been nohing but an uphill journey since 😊  

 

And we didnt do it alone! Starting from Day 1, we've had help pretty much every step of the way from other small businesses, local organizations, friends & family. 

 

Its going to take a bit, but we truly want to acknowledge and show appreciation for as many IF not all the people we owe even the slightest ounce of success to. And in no particular order, we're going to do just that! Sit tight, here goes:

 

To Michael C. Hsuing, Louis Roskoch, Cuddles & Rage and Dom Bam for your independent artistic talents -- We gave you our information & entursted each of you to translate your own unique visions of us into art. THANK YOU.

 

To Tyler Horne & the entirety of the Urban Harvest Organization here in Houston -- Without you guys blindly giving our product a try, believing in us and understanding everything we stand for, we would NOT be here. This time last year, you guys invited us to our first market: City Hall & then later in November 2015 to Eastside(our second). You guys knew that we literally had never run a food business or done anything like this before, but recognized our dedication, appreciated our hardwork & took a leap of literal faith. THANKYOU.

 

To Dylan Carnes of Sinfull Bakery --  For every bit of advice, encouragement, and support you've ever given. From sharing our debut on social media, to introducting us to Tyler Horne, inviting us to rent your kitchen space, giving us sweet treats, suggesting Costco & swearing off Whole Foods to source supplies, to allowing us to order from UNFI till this day. You've played a huge role in our non-stop success. THANKYOU.

 

To Stephanie and Trey of Ripe Cuisine -- For literally buying our guuds multiple times a week for months. We've enjoyed sharing stories and experiences with you guys. We're so glad to embark on the journey that is feeding the masses plant-based food

 

To all of you that played a role in beta-testing our tamales and filling out our Google Form during GUUDBELLY's inception. THANKYOU.

 

To everyone thats EVER donated a stack of recycled paper grocery bags -- You have helped us with our costs AND help make the planet a better place. THANKYOU. 

 

To the companies GreenWave, Fabri-Kal Greenware, WorldCentric, EcoChoice -- IM SO GLAD YOU EXIST & WE WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT YOU. Thanks for doing your best to keep humans from fucking up the planet even more by using compostable plant-based materials instead of petroleum.

 

 

To every kid thats ever vouched for and fallen in love with our veggie tamales -- if it wasnt for you guys telling your parents, those puppies woulda been kicked off the menu a looooong time ago. You guys gave us the everlasting confidence to keep experimenting and pushing to create amazing things we thought would NEVER be a great hit. THANKYOU.

 

To Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Squarespace -- you arent people, persay, but you HAVE allowed us to have an insanely strong presence and reach people all over everywhere who may have never known about us otherwise. Without you guys, we'd have to spend on advertising and who-knows what else. So yeah, Thank you.

 

To Vistaprint -- You arent a person either, but you guys are single-handedly responsible for helping welcome our images into the world. And also for allowing some thousands of people to take a GUUDBELLY keepsake home and/or to their friends, family, and coworkers. Thankyou. 

 

To everyone that ordered delivery before October 17th, 2015 -- All of you took such a great leap of faith without having the slightest clue what the hell you were getting yourself into. THANKYOU.

 

To Jill & team at Monster PBJ  -- Starting a food business isnt easy. Thankyou for all of your kind words and support as we were feeling our way around. 

 

To every food establishment thats reached out about ordering wholesale from us -- OMG. You guys get us so pumped for the future. We cant wait to work with you soon. You guys remind us just how incredible our food is. Thank you.

 

To Robert -- for donating our website domain. Thankyou.

 

To Gardein & Beyond Meat -- Without you guys we wouldnt receive phone calls, texts, and FB messages all throughout the day from both omnivores, vegetarians AND vegans in disbelief that our food truly IS vegan. We love hearing the reactions of people freaking out, and then being able to confidentely reassure them everything is okay. You guys' hard work has allowed us to do that while creating some incredibly high-demand guudnessπŸ‘ŒπŸ½  THANKYOU.

 

To the few people who courteously told us that our initial tamales were "just alright" -- MY GOD. Without your honest critique, our tamales would still be a 6/10. And that is simply unacceptable. You guys' dissatisfaction led to a whole new world of possibility for us. We listened, we changed, and it worked. THANKYOU. 

 

To Sylvia -- for being a decent human being & offering your food truck under a 3-month rent contract with the intent to buy. We learned SO MUCH in those 3 months about what it means to run a kitchen on wheels. With your help, we were able to sanely and calmly give up the romantic idea of having one. THANKYOU.

 

To Makerspace, Adam of Stoked, Brittany of Pop Shop, Kemi of Kyra, Axelrad Beer Garden, The Railyard Houston, Town In City Brewing & VSOP -- Every pop up we've ever done with all of you has been a HUGE success & has allowed us to share our guuds with more of the world than we would have otherwise. THANKYOU.

 

To Daniel of Tamale Fest Houston -- BRO. We will never forget the huge favor you pulled to have us at the festival last year. Not to mention sending CW39 and Channel 2 our way 😊 . We truly appreciate it man, THANKYOU.

 

To Rowdy Girl, Sown & Grown, and Plant-It-Forward -- For religiously and happlily taking our trash and making the absolute best of all our compost/organic waste.  

 

To Fiesta & Our lil homie Reyna at Canino Farmers Market -- For taking care of all our Banana Leaf needs in a part of the world that considers them foreign. Thankyou.

 

To Winter -- For our incredible organic hand-stitched GUUDBELLY bag complete w/ horchata & diablo sauce. We love it and will continue to use it 3+ days a week until it dies. THANKYOU.

  

To Sprouts Farmers Market, Plant It Forward, Gundermann Farms, and Texas Hill Country Olive Co., San Fransisco Salt Co. & Monterey Bay Spice Company - You guys have supplied us with the best possible ingredients. Every week, we and our customers have happy souls and bellies thanks to you guys. THANKYOU.

 

To Roy Rodriguez of the East End Foundation -- for allowing us into the East End Street Market despite our being sort-of-Mexican. We truly appreciate you guys having us. THANKYOU. 

 

TO ALL OUR REGULARS THAT ORDER DELIVERY & FREQUENT MARKETS -- A year ago we truly had no idea our food would create a following this huge. You guys roll out of bed every Saturday & Sunday morning & walk down from your offices every Wednesday to give us massive amounts of money in exchange for our food. Every dollar you guys have spent has allowed us to take bigger steps towards living the lives WE want and being able to spend time with & better take care of our family. Not to mention, Vic was able to quit his second job! We are able to continue GUUDBELLY every week up until this point because you religiously buy our guuds and share them with the world. Thank you all so much. We would not be here without you. 

 

TO ALL OUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND PAST COWORKERS -- My word, you guys have been so supportive through everything since the beginning. From handing out words of encouragement, to offering to invest, to all of your suggestions to help grow and better manage GUUDBELLY, to also being our literal guinea pigs, we thank you for sticking by us. Its been a rough road of stress and non-stop 90+ hour weeks, but all of your  love has kept us grounded and growing in so many ways. And just like how GUUDBELLY wasnt the same as a year ago, neither are we. THANKYOU for staying honest and truly supportive while cheering from the sidelines. We love you guys! 

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- L Arroyo ✌🏽️

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RIP MAKERSPACE 😫

We received notice a couple weeks ago that the MakerSpace Houston has come to an end.  

We weren't directly affiliated with them, and YET we're so thankful for their presence in Houston and all the help they've offered us in the last year.

Multiple times they invited us to vend at their Saturday Makers Markets to promote GUUDBELLY. Thanks to those guys we hosted our very first event on October 17th, 2015. We caught such a big break when they welcomed us to drop our compost at Sown and Grown, their in-residence local farm run by Becca Verm 😬🌱

We appreciate all that these guys have done for us and for Houston. GUUDBELLY would not have grown to be the same without you guys!  

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- L ✌🏽️ 

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TAMALES ELSEWHERE

Hello there!

Since we've gotten started with GUUDBELLY, there's been a lot of confusion and non-belief among a LOT of people about where our tamales originate from.......

AND the 100% honest truth is "Inside Our Heads". Vic has never studied any sort of culinary arts anywhere ever. He taught himself to cook from a young age & to this day experiments with different ingredients and flavors without consulting a single resource. 

And me, on the other hand, made tamales for the very first time EVER IN MY LIFE last summer(July 2015), in which my only resources were 2 different banana leaf tamale recipes online -- which of course we're modified to be vegan.

People's minds are blown away by the idea that one day last year the two of us tried something new, made a FB page and just like that "hit the jackpot" -- Throw in 10+ months of hard work, and that's literally the way it happened.

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ANYWHOO.. BACK TO WHAT I CAME HERE TO SHARE WITH YOU 😁

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We constantly have customers with family from Mexico and other places abroad tell us our food reminds them of home. Whether its the aesthetic or flavors, we get asked about our process or if either of our families originate from South American countries like Columbia, Guatemala, or Belize.  Once we had someone ask if my "mother-in-law taught me how to make tamales". I interpreted the question initially as an insult until I realized what she truly implied -- OUR FOOD IS THE SHIT. Since then Ive been fairly loud and proud about our story and the amount of effort that goes into our food. Because really, why not?

A place we've been hearing the name of a lot is a southern Mexican city called Oaxaca, where banana leaf is primarily used for tamales. Vic and I are all about learning and discovering more efficient ways of growing ourselves and our business. After snooping a Oaxaca-based episode of Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown, we've juggled the idea of traveling to Mexico to do just that. --  We have no idea what we would eat there, outside of raw fruit, but there's so much culture and technique that goes into their food, its unbelievable how much there would be to learn. 

Not too long ago, I found a company called Naive Slow Fashion based out of Oaxaca that seems to work with the rural community to make hand-made and hand-dyed textiles, fabrics, and goods. You can find them on Instagram at @naiveslowfashion. They have an Etsy account HERE where you can peep & purchase their products. AND In the midst of photos of looms and people walking through streets and markets, I found these beauties:

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THE RESEMBLANCE IS INCREDIBLE

(Of course, what they're making is in no way vegan, but the visual similarity of their process and cooking space to our isn't very far off )

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Anywhoo, all of that reading was just to show you these photos and teach you something new about somewhere different in the world πŸ‘€πŸŒŽ Now its back to GUUDBELLY.. Come visit us tomorrow night for some #Guud eats from 6p-10p at:

The RailYard Neighborhood Bar
4206 San Felipe St.
Houston,TX 77027

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LAST DAY AT CITY HALL πŸ‘€

Sup peeps ✌🏽️

 

Today was the last market of the season for Urban Harvest City Hall 😒 WHICH is the bad news, of course.. 

 

The good news? Starting in July we'll be doing both Sat and Sun markets AS WELL AS delivering Wed-Fri for lunch and dinner all

over Houston ($15 order minimum AND $5 flat rate delivery fee AND as far out as Beltway 8) πŸ™€ Our schedule will be as follows: 

 

WED 10a-2p & 6p-10p

TH 10a-2p & 6p-10p

FRI 10a-2p  

 

Got that? 😻  GREAT! 

6.29 City Hall Farmer's Market 😻

6.29 City Hall Farmer's Market 😻

-L ✌🏽️ 

JUNE UPDATES β˜€οΈ

To every small business Ive ever questioned for not keeping their blog updated regularly, I feel you. And will never doubt you ever again ☝🏽️

 

But alas, I am finally here to fill all of you in on what you've been missing:

 

WE. HAVE. BEEN. BUSY.  And by that, I dont mean to only point out our sales. We're officially 10 months deep into the glory we call GUUDBELLY. And that means seriously cracking down on our future plans and overall organization. 

 

Since our last blog post, we have: 

1. Officially returned our would-be stuffs truck 

2. Relocated to a new insanely incredible commerical kitchen in the Heights (we rent hours)

3. Picked up two independent events this month (elaboration below) 

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 Thats right, peeps! As always, we'll post official details as they arrive. But for now the basics are that AT LEAST once a week we get inquiries and invites to vend/cater events in Houston - we momentarily consider, and then politely decline the best way we know how: with the truth. It would be maximum overload for the two of us to add the equivalent of a 4th market. 

 

But times are a' changing, peeps. We've said yes to not only 1, but 2 events this month. Both organizers have been so excited and persistant that we didnt quite know how to say no πŸ˜‹  

On July 18th, GUUDBELLY be at RailYard Houston from 6:30p-11:30p doing the Vegan Drinks Houston event 😎

On July 25th, GUUDBELLY will be downtown from 6p-10p at St.Johns' BlockParty birthday bash for Rudy and Juanita Rasmus

 

We'll post the details for these bad boys in the near future! 😺

 

IN THE MEANTIME -- Our City Hall Farmers Market downtown ends on June 29th(last market) and wont return until the fall. AND that means we'll be back to deliveries during the week! More specifically Wednesdays and Thursdays πŸ˜‹πŸ‘πŸ½Β 

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Stay tuned 😬 

-L ✌🏽️ 

#RIP #STUFFSTRUCK

Considering we did a brief post about it earlier last week, its only proper that I blog as well πŸ˜‰

  

Heres the post with photo:

"For those of you excited and asking about our #stuffstruck plans, we are sad to say that our dream is no more 😫

After involving our mechanic and getting proper estimates and evaluation for costs, we've discovered to cost to fix is WAYY greater than expected πŸ™ˆ We've decided to not keep the truck and resort to plan B (TBA) instead πŸ˜³πŸ’Έ RIP"

The inside of the #stuffstruck

The inside of the #stuffstruck

To begin ☝🏽️

After careful consideration and advice from others inside and outside of the industry, we initially had in our minds that we were NOT going to take the full-blown food truck route. And for good reason too, we discovered that its costly, it wouldnt be an efficient work or prep space for us, we know NOTHING about mechanics or where to start, the inspection and certification process equals some thousands in fees to register.. And yeahhhh.... No. 

 

Lucky for us, Vic has a good friend whos friends with a lady that happened to be renting and selling her food truck for a more than reasonable amount πŸ™€ We contacted her & went to check it out mid-February. We immediately fell in love. The "Los Colorines" truck was everything we needed. Most of all, the owner told us there was nothing apparently wrong with the truck and that it had

no problems. As we drove away from meeting with the owner and family, we bartered a better deal via text.. Her response? She was 100% down. 

 

On the 23rd of February I signed a contract stating that we would rent the truck for the first 3 months starting March 1st through the end of May 2016. After said 3 months, we would be free to give payment for the truck, transfer the title and move forward with our stuffs truck plans. -- 

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In late March/early April, we realized that wasnt quite going to happen. We initially stumbled upon multiple interior issues that had not been mentioned: broken seatbelt, horrible interior leaking, and a mostly-dead battery.  We hired Marvin, our mechanic friend, to inspect the truck for a day, and heres what we found: 

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underbelly of the stuffstruck

underbelly of the stuffstruck

under the hood of the stuffstruck

under the hood of the stuffstruck

Before we'd even seen these photos, Marvin  advised us flat out to not buy the truck. He went easy on us and gave the good news first: that the tires, wheels, steering wheel, and a few motor parts were no good and potentially hazardous. The news that immediately followed was the deal-breaker: the entire chassis needed replacing. Such a job would make our estimate of reparations greater than what we agreed to pay for the truck itself 😱

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That was the moment we learned a new lesson in life: Big ticket items must ALWAYS be inspected. Thank the goobers we were renting and not buying.

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Fortunately when we called Sylvia(the owner) to tell her we wouldnt be giving her our money, she understood completely and apologized. We'll be returning the truck as planned at the end of May. 

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Until then, its back to the drawing board ☝🏽️

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#stuffstruck

#stuffstruck

-L✌🏽️ 

NEW JOINT

After almost two weeks of packing, moving,  unpacking & now torrential rain, tonight I got to check out our new Heights neighborhood 😍

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Running and expanding your own business means there's always research to be done, info to document and paperwork to file. Naturally, a calm environment is greatly appreciated. Extra points if theres coffee and a porch involved. Ive found all 3 at my latest favorite spot on Heights Blvd:

Indoor panorama

Indoor panorama

I just realized I have no idea what the name of this place is. Silly me... "EQ Heights" πŸ˜‹ Outside of coffee and some packaged nuts and oatmeal, I didnt see much in the way of vegan-friendly stuffs. AND thats okay too ☺️

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As far as size, aesthetic appeal and vibe, this place is along the lines of what we want for GUUDBELLY in the future. Maybeeeeeee thats why I like it so much. πŸ€”

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-L ✌🏽️ 

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HELLO

Hello Everyone ☺️ 

We hope you're loving the new website as much as we are! For a long time you guys have pushed us to have an online space to fully share GUUDBELLY. Here it finally is! It took about 1.5 months of patience to create, resize & reshape to make sure all of our content was perfect and properly placed!

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THANKS TO SQUARESPACE, you guys can now:

learn more about GUUDBELLY, PLACE YOUR ORDER, peep our full menu, know where to find us every month, and read updates straight from yours truly ☺️

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PS. Any and all notifications of typos are very much appreciated πŸ˜‹ (thanks Eric 😻)Β 

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-L

3.30.2016

No matter how many articles you read or small-business peeps you talk to. No one EVER tells you what its really like to run your very own food business. No matter how many emails, texts, or coffee shop talk is exchanged, word-of-mouth does NOT suffice. We've been told "Its hard as balls to make sales, and even harder to find locations" or "some day this will all be worth it", "social media sucks and its incredibly hard to keep up with" or my most favorite, "You shouldn't work too hard or too much, take a few days off a week and make time for you"

We work incredibly hard non-stop with little rest because for us, nothing less is acceptable. And honestly, THIS IS THE BEST SHIT EVER.

WE HAVE AN UNEXPECTEDLY GREAT PRODUCT THAT BLOWS EVERYONES MIND. We're 6 months in, and to this day we don't have any problems with sales or marketing or getting our Guuds out into the world. That aside, running GUUDBELLY is very hard work & occupies between 70-95 hours of my week alone. & We do sleep very little, and it does get rough, but my days are jam-packed with ZERO dull moments. Once the sun comes up it back to work: checking inventory, replying to emails, texts and FB messages occupies a handful of time, but we get to connect with all of you that support us. There are non-stop opportunities to practice years worth of photography skills all day everyday. Running GUUDBELLY is an ever-demanding job. We value our company so highly that we have and always will push to provide the very best quality Guuds to all of you. In order to do that, we must constantly research and learn new information to help us grow and improve, such as educating ourselves on more eco-friendly packaging and marketing techniques. Price checking ingredients and driving all over Houston for supplies is a regular task that doesn't always go over smoothly, but every situation we encounter and person we meet leads to experiences we've NEVER EVER HAD BEFORE. That just goes to show how much the human experience is so awfully under-rated. We love every bit that we do. So much so that we forget to eat and go to sleep on time.

Everything has been worth it from Day 1.

sixth months later

Exactlly 6 months ago we had our very first delivery from Serghio! We still have the $12 framed on our wall ✌🏽

photo by GUUDBELLY

photo by GUUDBELLY

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It still doesnt hit me how far we've come since Day 1. So much about GUUDBELLY has changed. From the way we take orders, to packing the food, marketing, even OUR PRODUCT has changed for the better. The majority of all of that is thanks to you, our friends, family, and followers who have taken the time to express your thoughts and feedback to us. THANK YOU all that have followed us, bought our food, and/or shared the word about us with the world! We’ve got big stuffs happening in the near future and every single one of you reading this has helped get us here 😁

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- L