In February 2016, Lawrence Wu donated a check of $2,500 to Drexel’s Food lab. The check was for the Hope Lodge Program of Cook For Your Life nonprofit organization which collaborates with the food lab. The money is coming from Wu’s kickstarter campaign, which he has used to fund his new start-up company to sell hot sauce.
“For every $10,000 I raise through my WUJU Kickstarter, I will donate $500 to Drexel to go toward the University’s partnership with Hope Lodge in Philadelphia,” Wu stated.
Wu’s personal life has been incorporated to the design of the hot sauce from the start. The label and slogan “From Sunrise, to Sunset” serve as tribute to his friend Cody, who passed away in 2014 from cancer, and Wu’s mother, who has been battling cancer for more than 8 years.
“The label is [an] homage to everybody battling with the terrible illness and representative of their determination and ability to stay true to themselves despite their adversity,” Wu stated.
Cook for your Life (CFYL) is a nonprofit organization which teaches people affected by cancer how to prepare healthy meals. Wu’s connection to this nonprofit was initiated through Drexel’s interdisciplinary program instructed by Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., professor and director of Drexel University’s Center for Hospitality & Sport Management. Deutsch was also a former board member of CFYL.
Through this cooperative program, Wu learned how to combine his passion for cooking and his personal connection with cancer. Even before coming up with the idea for his company, Wu already knew that cancer was a cause he cared about and wanted to address in some way. Once he recognized that he could support those suffering from cancer through his brand, the purpose of Wuju took on a whole new dimension.
The path that led Wu to his recent successes was punctuated with ups and downs. Growing up, Wu knew he always wanted to work in the food business and be his own boss. When his friend’s father introduced him to his own homemade hot sauce, he was struck with a realization. Wu thought he could use it as base to craft his own product. This event happened a little while after graduating from Drexel in 2014.
Graduating from Drexel as a Marketing and Entrepreneurship major and with the experience of three co-ops behind him, he was offered a full time job in a pharmaceutical company. However, his mind was preoccupied with his new project. In Nov. 2014, Wu set in motion his idea of Wuju, a new “sweet” hot sauce, which would eventually become a complement to the notorious Sriracha sauce. July 31, 2015, his dream became a reality. Wu started working full time on his hot sauce and initiated his Kickstarter campaign, which included a crowdsourcing campaign, a commercial video produced by Drexel students and other public relations activities.
The uniqueness of Wu’s hot sauce is attributed to the numerous untraditional ingredients that are brought to the table. The sauce is made with a mustard base and includes several exotic ingredients (including fruits) which aim to give the hot sauce an international profile. This aspect also echoes Wu’s multicultural identity.
Wu conveyed during a private interview that any student seeking to follow a similar path of success should aim to be resilient, passionate, and hardworking. Unpredictability was emphasized as an essential quality in today’s competitive labor market.
More information about WUJU can be found at https://wujuhotsauce.com/.