Rising StarMichael Pan of Pan’s Mushroom Jerky Dares Carnivores to Think Vegetarian

Michael Pan’s family has been enjoying a meat-free Malaysian mushroom snack for years. Motivated to share his family’s vegetarian secret with the world, Michael created Pan’s Mushroom Jerky and began his entrepreneurial journey. Since then, Pan’s Mushroom has been featured everywhere from the Today Show to OEN’s July Food Fair, and the man behind the jerky has learned a thing or two about what it takes to be an entrepreneur.

Read more from Michael below:

The spark that inspired the birth of your concept: Pan’s Mushroom Jerky came to life after a trip to Malaysia to visit family. On the trip, I found out I had family members who were vegetarian Buddhist. They introduced me to a mushroom snack they had been making for years. After I heard the story, I knew our family had something that had to be shared with the rest of the world.

The problem it solves: Pan’s Mushroom Jerky provides a delicious taste and texture without using any meat or soy.

How you came up with the name: After learning about the history of our family’s mushroom snack, it felt natural to use our family’s name.

How you different than your competition: Without using any soy or meat, we’re able to provide a meaty texture using shiitake mushrooms.

How you make money: We sell on our website » https://mushroomjerky.com and at events and retailers around the country.

The best thing about being an entrepreneur: There’s a ton of work and stress that we have to endure as entrepreneurs. But it is extremely satisfying to experience people loving your products and brand. I also love meeting other entrepreneurs who are going through the same highs and lows as you are.

The biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date: How supportive other makers and entrepreneurs can be.

Your biggest success: Getting our products highlighted on the Today Show was great. But my most satisfying success was working with retailers who after years of following our progress, decided to carry our products.

A failure story and what you learned: There are plenty. I’ve heard “no” a lot from retailers and consumers. It hurts to hear no, but those “failures” helped us make the improvements we needed to make better products and grow our brand.

What keeps you up at night: The amount of work that always needs to be done, and money!

The best entrepreneurial advice you have received: Hard to pick one thing, but a close friend once told me how important it was to manage people’s expectations and he was right!

Your #1 piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur: I’m a big believer in learning how to fail fast, fail often and fail forward.

The #1 book you would recommend for a budding entrepreneur: There are so many good resources out there, but the Lean Startup is a must. I also love Start With Why by Simon Sinek and Hooked by Nir Eyal.

What song best describes your entrepreneurial journey: Some combo of Jay-z, Kanye, and Drake always keep me motivated!

What wild success looks like: Running a business that provides satisfying jobs and has the ability to pay it forward to help other entrepreneurs.

Your favorite local business: Salt & Straw because their ice cream is AMAZING.

What you wanted to be when you grew up: A professional soccer player.

Do you think Oregon is a good place to start a business? I do think so and it starts with the people. We’ve been lucky that we’ve met good people who have helped us get our business started.

Fun fact: My Mother is from Lima, Peru and my father is from Malaysia. Of all the places they could have met, they met in a small town called Starkville, Mississippi where I was born and raised!

Pan’s Mushroom Jerky: https://www.mushroomjerky.com/

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