Written by Sara Wong, Peak Associate
Name: Diana Chan
Occupation: Entrepreneur/Blogger/UX Consultant/Mom/Wife
Hometown: Burnaby, BC
Fun fact: During her university years, Diana used to be a party clown for children’s birthday parties
You may know Diana Chan already as one of Vancouver’s OG food bloggers and social media influencers. She’s the woman behind foodology.ca, an award-winning blog, and her Instagram account @foodologyca currently has 22,000+ followers.
As a food blogger myself, Chan is someone I constantly look up to. She’s one of the kindest foodies I have had the pleasure of meeting, and the dedication she puts into connecting with others online never ceases to amaze me. Recently, I had a conversation with Chan on how her life has evolved since launching Foodology, and what blogging means to her now.
Foodology began in 2010, while Chan was a business administration student at SFU.
“I was eating out a lot and I thought I should start blogging to archive everything I ate. I started it as a passion project so I could have something to look forward to outside the dreaded accounting and finance courses,” she shared in an email interview with The Peak.
Prior to my interview with Chan, I was under the impression that her present career was solely food blogging. However, she soon clarified: “I continue to run Foodology as a hobby to balance my full[-]time job as a User Experience Consultant at a local financial institution. I never wanted to blog for a full[-]time job as I am afraid I will lose that spark of joy [ . . . ] I love wearing many different hats as I can grow professionally and personally at the same time.”
This past year, she added another hat to her collection: entrepreneur.
Pajeon Pals is an online clothing store that celebrates Korean food and drink in its designs. The brand’s name is inspired by Chan’s daughter, as pajeon (AKA a Korean-style green onion pancake) is her daughter’s favourite food.
“During the start of the pandemic, I was on maternity leave and I was really missing that spark of creativity,” Chan began. “I was trying to buy some clothing for my daughter and I realized there wasn’t anyone creating clothing inspired by Korean food. People love K-Pop, K-dramas, and eating Korean food, yet there wasn’t any clothing to match. That’s when it clicked!”
Chan didn’t hesitate to start her entrepreneurial journey. With her experience in design and marketing as a blogger and UX consultant, she was ready to go.
“I got to work every night to create Pajeon Pals Clothing after the little one went to bed,” she said. “I’ve always been interested in creating apparel for Foodology [ . . . ] the ideal just morphed.”
Despite launching Pajeon Pals during a pandemic, Chan reports that her business has not been affected.
“During peak holidays like Christmas, I can anticipate shipping to be slightly delayed. But, it’s a similar situation for everyone in the industry,” she added. The growing entrepreneur concluded this statement with a message for consumers: “Make sure to shop ahead if you’re supporting local small businesses!”
Speaking of small businesses, I asked Chan for her current food recommendation. I was expecting to hear about a restaurant, but she surprised me by mentioning Gary’s Patisserie, which operates out of a commissary kitchen.
“[His] mango cakes are so damn good,” she raved in her response. “I love asian cakes and he doesn’t skimp on the mangoes.”
If you’re suddenly craving mango cake (like I am), check out the FAQ page of Gary’s website (garypatisserie.com) for pickup and delivery details.
There are so many influencers on social media nowadays. Yet, an increasing number of young adults aspire to become “Instafamous.” But being a successful “content creator” is no longer simply about highlighting what’s trending. People also want to see originality and individuality. That is essentially the message behind Chan’s advice for those wanting to grow their brand.
“Keep at it, don’t compare yourself with others, and never take feedback too seriously when it comes to the online world. Create content that you’re proud of! Everyone has their own style about how they show up on social media. I’ve had my fair share of disagreements and strongly worded comments and emails directed at me. I’m a Libra and I hate confrontation, so I always thank them for their comments and I have to remind myself to always stay humble.”
Negative comments aside, Chan tells me that working on Foodology and Pajeon Pals is what she likes to do to relax and unwind.
“It’s strange but it’s true. I barely watch any movies anymore as I get impatient and will Google the ending. hahaha. I love spoilers,” she wrote.
To further emphasize the amount of time Chan devotes to her occupations, here’s how she outlines a typical day in her life:
6:30 a.m.: Wake up
7:00 a.m.: Breakfast and check social media
8:00 a.m.: Kid off to daycare and I do some Foodology and Pajeon Pals work
9:00 a.m.: My full-time job begins [. . .] Mostly meetings and emails
12:00 p.m.: Netflix and [l]unch
1:00 p.m.: More meetings and emails
5:00 p.m.: Work ends and grabs kid from daycare
6:00 p.m.: Dinner [t]ime
8:00 p.m.: Put kid to bed
8:30 p.m.: Foodology and Pajeon Pals work
11:00 p.m.: Sleep
Chan attributes her time at SFU to developing her diligent personality, work ethic, and how she maintains her drive.
“When I was at SFU, I was heavily involved in student clubs and extracurriculars. It kept me really busy and it really enabled me to multi-task very well. At one point, I spent more time planning events than I actually spent on studying.”
Besides her involvement in student life, Chan also points to her co-op terms, of which she did several.
“Being in a corporate setting during my time at SFU really made the transition to [the] working world easier. It took me a little bit longer to graduate but it was worth it.”
As for what inspires her to stay motivated when facing numerous tasks? “Being a blogger[,] you need to hustle,” declared Chan.