‘Foodietravelours’ student-owned food marketing business comes to an end


Photo courtesy Foodietravelours on Instagram

A student-owned food marketing business that began last July has come to an end after its CEO, Calvin senior Esther Ryou, decided she no longer had the capacity to keep up with its demands. Foodietravelours aimed to promote healthy eating by advertising restaurants on social media, and did so across three continents: North America, Asia and Europe. Ryou, a marketing communications major, was spending a semester in Chicago while she ran the company.

“I was able to reach different businesses throughout the Midwest, not only helping with promotions, but also building a network, embracing new ideas, and creating a community space,” Ryou wrote on Foodietravelours’s Instagram page. The page displays promotions for food businesses such as Rowster Coffee in Grand Rapids, Beacon Tavern in Chicago, and others.

While Ryou was the main person heading up the company’s efforts, she also had about 10–15 brand ambassadors, many of them Calvin students, who worked with Foodietravelours.

One of them was Hojun Kim, whose role as a social media strategist involved planning strategies around marketing and advertising and using paid ads on Facebook to track insights about campaigns.

“I feel bittersweet about it ending as it was a small company that had a lot of potential for growth. I personally learned about small business and the realities of entrepreneurship,” said Kim.

Joy Gregorio, who worked with Foodietravelours as a content writer for their Facebook page, also expressed bittersweetness about the company’s end.

“I’ll admit I am a little sad to see it end, but completely understand how difficult it is to start and maintain a growing business while being a full-time student in college. Foodietravelours was gaining clients, which made it very difficult for Esther to concentrate on both the business and school at the same time. However, if she ever decides to start it up again, I would love to be a part of it,” Gregorio said.

On the Instagram post announcing the end of Foodietravelours, Ryou added, “I truly feel that I was able to accomplish a lot with so many supportive people on my team.”

Ryou cited drastic life changes as her reason for ending Foodietravelours, adding that her values for quality and integrity meant she didn’t want to force herself to produce content for this project when her mind was on other things. Though Foodietravelours did make some profit and had some potential clients lined up, Ryou also felt challenged to take everything under her control without much support in various areas like website development and financial upkeep.

Moving forward, Ryou says she will “focus [her] energy on [herself] and honing in on [her] inner voice.”