Meet Nadia Liu Spellman Who Turned a $120,000 Investment Into a Frozen Food Empire

Meet Nadia Liu Spellman Who Turned a $120,000 Investment Into a Frozen Food Empire
Cover Image Source: Dumplings, buns, and sauce…ON ICE! | Instagram | @dumplingdaughter

Embarking on the journey of starting something of your own, despite the fear of failure and financial setbacks, and persevering to chase your dreams can lead to remarkable achievements. Nadia Liu Spellman's story mirrors such determination. Raised in a middle-class Chinese family, she witnessed her parents' hard work in managing the esteemed fine-dining restaurant, Sally Ling’s. Renowned personalities like Julia Child and Yo-Yo Ma frequented the establishment with their families, leaving a lasting impression on Nadia. This led her to establish "Dumpling Daughter," which, due to popular demand, now boasts outlets in Brookline, South Boston, and Weston.

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As the CEO and proprietor of Dumpling Daughter, Nadia comes from a family who have been serving customers with warmth and offering them the delightful experience of authentic Chinese cuisine. Renowned for their family recipes, the business gained widespread acclaim. In 2014, Nadia took the leap and inaugurated her first outlet, specializing in selling frozen dumplings, buns, and spicy soy sauce. The delectable products are readily available for customers through her website and various grocery stores. Furthermore, patrons have the option to relish the flavors in the restaurants through dine-in services.

In the world of family businesses, it's not uncommon for children to carry on the entrepreneurial legacy. However, Nadia's parents initially steered her away from the culinary path, urging her to pursue a different path. Following their advice, she landed a finance job in New York City. It wasn't until 2008, with just $97 in her bank account, that she recognized her true passion lay in cooking.


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After joining the team at Sally Ling's, Nadia formulated a plan for a "quick service" restaurant. Partnering with her childhood sweetheart, Kyle Spellman, she invested $120,000—secured as a loan from family members—and opened her first outlet in Weston, Massachusetts. The media frenzy and overwhelming crowds initially took a toll on Nadia, prompting tears as the pressure mounted to uphold the culinary standards set by her parents' established restaurants.

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Despite the challenges, the growing public demand led Dumpling Daughter to expand, adding two new outlets in South Boston and Brookline. Nadia's innovation with boxed dumplings proved lucrative, generating $1 million annually. Moreover, her frozen delicacies and products on Amazon experienced remarkable success, making sales of $4.3 million from November 2022 to October 2023.

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Nadia Liu's Success Story

Today, Nadia enthusiastically shares her family recipes on Instagram, creating videos featuring dumpling recipes. Building on this passion, she introduced a cookbook titled "Dumpling Daughter Heirloom Recipes: From Our Restaurants And Home Kitchens," now available on Amazon. The book is a treasure trove of beloved and delectable recipes from both Dumpling Daughter and Sally Ling, inviting interested individuals to try their hands at crafting these dishes, feeding their loved ones, and savoring the experience.


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