Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kim Caviness, co-founder, and CEO of Familia Kitchen, located in Chicago, IL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Since we launched in October 2020, Familia Kitchen has been on a mission to collect, preserve and celebrate Latino culinary heritage at its most authentic and delicioso. We are the most trusted, biggest, and best website for traditional family-favorite Latino recipes, food stories, and products passed on from generation to generation. So many of the family-famous dishes that define Latinos are lost to time when they are not shared by the recipe keepers. We're here to gather and preserve these dishes, one family-famous recipe at a time. This is resonating with our audience of Latinos who live in the U.S. and miss home—and everyone else who loves authentic Latino food.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up in Puerto Rico and now live in Chicago with my family. After almost 20 years of working at agencies and publishing, I was hungry (literally) to launch my own business. What was a need in the marketplace that would provide something valuable, something to do with food (I love to cook), and something that would make people's lives a little bit better? That's when it happened. "It" is the jalapeño that was called for in a recipe I saw online one Sunday when I was looking for new ways to make my favorite Puerto Rican dish: arroz con pollo (traditional rice and chicken—it's amazing). The recipe was listed on one of the huge food and recipe websites. You've cooked from it, I am sure.
Now, jalapeños are earthy and spicy and amazing, but they never have and never will belong in arroz con pollo. Puerto Rican and Mexican food are as different as could be, yet that website mixed us up into one faceless Latino Comida bucket.
Latinos come from 20 different Spanish-speaking places in this America's hemisphere. We are not one mono-culture. That's when I knew: We needed a food website of our own. To honor the way we actually cook. It would be real, trusted, and respectful.
My business partner Lisa Hunt Stevens, a food publishing veteran who grew up in San Diego, and I joined forces to fix this. We launched Familia Kitchen, and it is growing, growing, growing—to our joy and great pride.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
We launched a brand from literally nothing, and it's getting hundreds of thousands of visits each month in just a year and a half. We have worked night and day to create a brand that will resonate with audiences in a respectful and traditional way. Familia Kitchen is more than just food: we celebrate Latino culture, honor 20 Latino communities, and shine a light on a community too overlooked in the food world: Latino home cooks.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
My business partner Lisa and I wish we could clone ourselves. Small business owners do everything literally, and every day we run out of time in the day.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know your mission (why you are launching your business) and know your audience and never let anything come in between those two.
- You can learn anything, and you can do everything. That doesn't mean you have to, but don't be intimidated. You can figure it out.
- Find a business partner who complements you and stay close to each other. Talk about everything and trust each other. Otherwise, you don't have a partnership. And you need a partner. Small business is a killer to do solo.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We just turned in our first cookbook to the publisher! We are pretty excited about it. It will cover the year in the life of Familia Kitchen and more than 100 recipes, all lovingly crowdsourced, cooked, photographed, and recorded for future generations of home cooks! It will be out in time for National Hispanic Month this September.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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