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“I want to do everything in my power to create waves of change in supplier diversity:” Ju Young Yoo

Ju Young Yoo

As a diverse supplier, it’s so important to promote and acknowledge diverse businesses across Canada. My family immigrated here from Korea when I was nine years-old, and we always relied on our local Korean community here in Canada. I still have memories of driving an hour away to the nearest Korean grocery store to find authentic Asian ingredients.

Today, those ingredients can be found in most major retailers because of diverse suppliers promoting diverse businesses. And I’m honoured to be one of them. Culture spreads through people and people who do not forget their roots. 

How it started

In 2019, I started SUKU Vitamins, a company that specializes in sugar-free, sugar-alcohol free, plant-based gummy vitamins. The idea came to me while studying naturopathic medicine — many of my patients had difficulty swallowing pills or were simply suffering from pill fatigue. Of course, there were other gummy vitamins available, but they all contained sugar, gelatin, artificial colours, and flavours. It was so ironic that what was supposed to be healthy, was just candy.  

I realized there was a market for gummy vitamins, made with clean ingredients, that address beauty and wellness concern alike. I wanted to create something that would provide easy wellness options for all. Our gummies aim to help anybody and everybody with bettering their health and nutrition.  

However, starting a business wasn’t easy. I remember my first trade show, when a stranger connected with me and wanted to learn more about SUKU Vitamins. Turns out, he was also a Korean working in the wellness industry. He was so happy to meet another Korean entrepreneur and wanted to help — after the show, we ended up having numerous meetings and even became good friends! 

I’ve worked with many minority-owned CPG start-ups and offered help to promote my fellow diverse entrepreneurs. It’s truly amazing to see all the diverse businesses in the market around us who are striving to bring their own ideas and perspectives into the community.  I cannot say enough that, I am one of them and will always strive to promote my peers. 

Talking about being an immigrant, there no doubt that it can be daunting to start your own business in Canada. For that reason, I’ve always been adamant about providing business opportunities to minority community. Personally, I wouldn’t be where I am now had it not been for the same attitude towards me. I believe that there’s a ripple effect in encouraging diversity, and I want to do everything in my power to create those waves. A little kindness goes a long way. 

We may not all come from the same backgrounds or share same heritage, but we share the mutual goal of advancing diverse businesses in Canada — it’s crucial that we support and promote one another.