Before she was a Korean barbecue sauce producer, Ann Chung Mellman was an engineering student at Columbia. She got her degree but never worked as an engineer.
Instead, Mellman held out to work with her sister, Janet Chung to do “something they would both find fun.” The sisters saw a growing demand for Korean barbecue and in 2011, they created We Rub You, a brand that originally sold a wide array of Korean barbecue fare, Mellman said.
“We didn’t actually have the menu or the sauces,” Chung said. “We just had the idea, so we went, we launched and we had great feedback.” The team tested a wide menu of food eventually finding that the most interest was in their two marinades: a traditional sweet Korean barbecue marinade and a spicy marinade. The prevailing sauces ultimately became the focus of the company.
Using the commercial kitchen in the Pfizer Building in Brooklyn, alongside other artisan food producers, Chung and Mellman produce and bottle their product. Currently, the sauces can be found in several specialty shops in Brooklyn, food markets like Brooklyn Bazaar, and are sold directly from the website at $7.99 a bottle.
On the heels of the 2012 Smorgasborg season and a three-month business hiatus for Mellman’s maternity leave, the team aims to unveil a new brand look in early 2013. “We have a confidence about the interest now,” Mellman said. “We’re investing in the website, packaging and going to make a push ahead of the barbecue season.”