Jing Gao

Founder of "Fly by Jing" Sishuan Chili Crunch, the highest-funded CPG brand on Kickstarter

Founder and CEO of Fly by Jing, the stand-out Sichuan spice & sauce company with a cult following, Jing Gao’s story is anything but ordinary. Her tale of finding her way back to herself through food and the ups and downs of a startup business is one that serves as an inspiration to all. 

Having grown up in Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province, her Chinese roots have shaped who she is today. Despite her given first name from her late grandfather being Jing, it was actually not the name she went by for most of her life; she was known to most as Jenny, the Anglicized version. Through founding and building Fly by Jing, she has found her identity in her given name and now proudly goes by it.

After leaving the corporate world, Jing opened a restaurant in Shanghai, studying Sichuan cooking with the masters. She felt that a food culture wedded to tradition and authenticity was something holding Chengdu flavors back. She describes “traditional” as “terminal” and holds the belief that cultures should evolve. This idea is what led to the creation of Fly by Jing. 

In 2018, she founded the condiment startup with the mission to bring higher value to Chinese foods and flavors and Jing set out on a mission to change stigmas associated with the cuisine.  With the goal of changing the notion that cheap chinese food is “authentic” Chinese food, Jing launched her first product “Sichuan Chili Crisp” on Kickstarter in the summer of 2018. It quickly became the highest funded craft-food product on the platform. Launching direct-to-consumer in 2019, Fly by Jing quickly took off ending 2020 up more than 1000%, and recently announcing a broad expansion into leading grocery chains Whole Foods, Target, and Sprouts amongst others.   

All this success was not immune to pushback, however, many potential investors told Jing her success was a fluke and that Chinese food was too niche of a market. Taking high quality Chinese food and Chengdu flavors to the mainstream continued to be Jing’s goal, however, and with every battle she faced, she persevered. Even through ups and downs as a startup in the COVID pandemic, Jing’s mission and her delectable products continue to reach a wider audience every day. 

With a zippy and colorful packaging and thoughtful marketing strategy, Jing tells the story of over 5,000 years of Chinese culture through her condiments.  Cheers to Jing for her continued mission to change the narrative around authentic Chinese cuisine and widen palates around the world to signature Sichuan flavors.