Fall for Local: Salty Paloma tops up cocktails with naturally flavoured salts

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      In anticipation of Fall For Local’s biannual pop-up market, taking place from April 29 to 30 at the Pipe Shop Building (115 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver), we’re getting to know some of the fair’s 75-plus independent brands and small-business owners from across the country.

      Today, we meet Amanda Chen, founder of Salty Paloma.

      Who are you?

      I'm Amanda Chen and I am the founder of Salty Paloma. I do everything from creating the flavours to naming them and doing the marketing. I like to travel a lot and I like to eat a lot—especially tacos with margaritas. 

      What’s the story behind your brand?

      For a fun date-night-in, we decided to make our own margaritas. When looking for all the ingredients, it was pretty slim pickings for lime salt. Either they were fluorescent green and full of artificial ingredients or they were unnecessarily gourmet with a very expensive price tag.

      So Salty Paloma, maker of naturally flavoured cocktail rimmers, was born. Although salt is mainly used for margaritas, the paloma, a Mexican cocktail that incorporates grapefruit, also uses tequila as a base. I ended up using grapefruit in all of my recipes to give the products a burst of citrus flavour. 

      Salty Paloma's Heartbreaker cocktail rimmer is made from a sweet blend of grapefruit and raw cane sugar.
      Salty Paloma

      Why did you decide to start your own business?

      I've always wanted to be my own boss, but the hardest part is finding out what to do and taking that leap. As an ex-journalist and digital marketer, I never would have thought I'd end up making my own food product.

      It's actually surprised and shocked all my friends and family. I have absolutely no experience in food production, so it was a huge learning curve for me. I enjoy being challenged because it keeps me on my toes.

      Starting Salty Paloma has been an incredible journey so far; every day I'm learning something new both about business and myself. 

      What’s your favourite part of being your own boss?

      The best (and scariest) part is being responsible for absolutely everything. I'm in charge of the branding, the bottles, the marketing, the names and descriptions.

      But most importantly, I'm in charge of making the products and I love the feeling of being solely responsible for something that people love. 

      Sending local love to…

      Sending local love to Fall For Local, the first market Salty Paloma will be a vendor at. I am so excited to be working with Kelly Turner—we actually met working part-time while we were studying at the University of Toronto and look at how our paths have crossed now!

      I also want to throw some love to another amazing vendor that will also be at Fall For Local: Caesar Squeezers. Michelle Robinson is a fantastic woman that has found a way to conveniently put together our favourite Canadian cocktail in a squeeze bottle. Utter genius! I am so honoured to be around and know such beautiful and inspirational women thriving in their own business.

      Tickets to Fall For Local are $3 in advance online or $5 (cash only) at the door. For more information about the event, or to purchase tickets, visit Fall For Local's website.