The Courage to Become | Chef Keesha + Chef Gloriana | Kitchun
This Season of The Courage to Become to SO exciting!!!! More than ever I am grateful to be surrounded by strong women with amazing stories of grit, determination and HOPE.
We are kicking off Season 2 by shining a spotlight on Chef Keesha and Chef Gloriana, friends and founders of Kitchun, a company focused on providing tasty, grain-free foods.
Tonight we are doing this conversation style!
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I am married to my best friend of the last 14 years. We met in the military and within 3 months we were married. The best spontaneous decision I have ever made and I have made several! I have 3 wonderful, active, supportive children. I am a creative and always seeking to create the next best thing. I spend many nights dreaming of recipes and wake up the next day to make them happen. I am a Certified LeCordon Bleu Trained Pastry Chef, serial entrepreneur and health and fitness enthusiast.
I am a Wife (we met when we were 16), a mother of 2 incredible little boys and one beautiful baby girl. I am also a Le Cordon Bleu Pastry Chef, a creative entrepreneur and health and fitness is very important to me.
What was one thing you always dreamt of doing, were afraid to do, but did anyway?
I have always dreamt of leaving a legacy.
And I have always been afraid of: Starting a business and attaching huge expectations of success to it. I think starting a business was the easy part... the "scary yet exciting" part has been committing to success of it. While cliché but true -- the easiest way to fail is to not even try. So ideally I fear not trying more than anything.
One thing I always knew I wanted to do was be my own boss. It can be scary to take on a business of your own -- with all of the responsibility on you. Luckily I have an incredible business partner and we help each other every day to get through the trials of business ownership and learning something new every day.
How did it feel getting started?
Getting started was exciting...at times it was like "wow, we are really doing this. Creating the recipes, the design process all of the fun stuff. But there was a lot of on the job training as well. I have always had the attitude of I can do anything...so I spent a lot of time reading, studying and researching the things we needed to - to start and run the business.
Getting started was the exciting part -- because we didn't know all the really hard stuff ahead!
Tell us about some of the obstacles you faced when you got started?
I think our obstacles have always been what we don't know. But they are just that...obstacles to overcome and grow from.
Obstacles for us have always been that we are creatives that have no business background so everything is new to us and we have to roll with the punches... and a lot of them feel like actual punches!
What motivates you to continue Kitchun?
Much of my motivation comes from my family. I come from humble beginnings and decided a very long time ago that I would change that for myself, my Mom and now for my children. It has taken me many years to figure out exactly what it is that I passionately love to do. But better NOW than never.
Motivation for me is my children. I love that they get excited to see Mommy’s face in the grocery store aisle and get excited. Truthfully it feels pretty good to me too. I want my friends and family to see me working hard and that it is paying off -- and to be proud.
Which living person do you most admire?
This is a difficult one, because I admire so many people for different reasons. Of course my Mother because of the strength I was able to witness as a kid and now as a mother myself.
My husband for his unconditional love for me and my dreams, other female entrepreneurs that have rocked the minds of so many...like Oprah Winfrey...who wouldn't admire her!
I tend to admire people who face a lot of challenges and overcome. Resilience is key. And my Mom is one of the most resilient people I know.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Singing! But God knows best. HA
I would love to play a musical instrument.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What is your motto?
I have two mottos that ring in my head at the same time. One from a Secret commercial my Aunt was in as a kid (another one of my most admired individuals) "NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT" meaning always stay composed in each and every situation good or unpleasant. And the second one from motivational speaker Eric Thomas "WINNERS WIN" meaning do the little things each day towards your success and leave nothing to question.
"Lift your head princess or else your crown will fall". A little reminder to me to keep my head held high even in difficult situations.
What are some things you are proud to have accomplished?
Personally I would have to say my family. My husband and I have committed to giving our children the best that we can, we push ourselves and each other to fulfill our own personal dreams as well as build up our children to accomplish any and all they choose to.
In regard to Kitchun, the universe saw fit to place me in a culinary class with an amazing young lady (Gloriana) who became a great friend and then business partner. Together we have combined our dream of being business owners and have created, developed and nurtured the company that we have now. To date it is our greatest business accomplishment with so much more to be revealed.
At home: My family, my husband and our children. I love them with every bit of my heart and I'm proud and GRATEFUL that I have that.
In business: Still making it happen every day! This is a tough business and we are challenged EVERY DAY but we keep pushing forward with success. Our 1ST Place win for HEB’S Quest for Texas Best was a pretty big accomplishment as well. We are now in 138 HEB stores!!
What are some hopes you have for your future?
To be amongst some of the most influential female business owners of my time. For Kitchun to grow to its full potential of being a household name, filling a need in the healthy snacking market and serving a greater humanitarian purpose.
I hope that this business venture eventually leads to us being a household name and the ability to spend more time with my family.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to women who are about to embark on the journey you are on?
Step out on faith and out of your comfort zone. Never fear failure, it is how we overcome the failures that make the success story so much sweeter. Make a decision to: WIN, CHANGE THE SITUATION, BE WHO YOU WANT TO BE!
Always ask a lot of questions to everyone! People are surprisingly willing to help when you admit you don’t know something. Also, "know what you don’t know" so you know when to ask for help. And above all, be resilient.
I'm Catia, a woman, wife, mama, sister, sister friend, you know -- I wear a million hats just like you.
One of my biggest whys is that I want people to feel good about ALL of who they are. Including you.
If I could choose ten words that best describe me I would say: honest, welcoming, giving, curious, loving, earnest, empathetic, spiritual, playful, and sassy. Let's add: adventurous. That's 11.
Nice to meet you!