Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kalei Ross, Owner of In Pursuit of Purity, located in Vancouver, Washington, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am a Chocolate and Relationship Expert. It is my mission to equip people with tools to experience greater joy in life by establishing meaningful relationships using the world’s beloved food item - chocolate. I serve individuals who desire connections yet struggle with “breaking the ice” and companies that want to encourage and empower their teams to thrive.
Tell us about yourself
I have enjoyed chocolate since I was a child. However, my “love affair” with chocolate started as a result of my first trip to Paris. I was astounded to find a chocolate shop on nearly every street corner!
I initially passed on entering the shops as they were beautifully elegant establishments that looked incredibly expensive and well beyond my budget. However, by the third day, I broke down and purchased my first French bar of chocolate, and I have never looked at chocolate the same since. From that moment, I wanted to learn everything about chocolate and the chocolate-making industry.
This led me to write a book on my Parisian chocolate adventures entitled, "In Pursuit of Purity, The Paris Chocolate Files," which won the coveted Gourmand Award in 2020 in the Chocolate category. In doing research for my book, I developed an insatiable appetite for learning more about all things chocolate!
I have my doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology, so I am always curious about the etiology of things and have a propensity for identifying connections between things, whether that be among various concepts, objects, etc. When I started delving into the chocolate world, I couldn’t help but see the connection between relationships and chocolate.
This resulted in me combining my experience and training in Clinical Psychology and my love and expertise in chocolate to offer unique "chocolate interpersonal experiences" that are designed to provide practical tools for individuals to develop connections and for companies to establish cohesively, driven, and well-engaged teams.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It takes a great deal of drive and vision to create something that merges two disparate fields (chocolate and relationships) and do something rather avant-garde. It would be a lot easier to focus on either industry, but combining the two requires me to constantly think outside the proverbial box and forces me to remain flexible.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As an entrepreneur, it can be challenging to keep up with all the changes and trends. That’s why it is vital to surround yourself with a group of trusted individuals, regardless of the industry they are in, to bounce ideas off and keep one another accountable.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Don’t view others in the industry as competitors. Everyone has a unique angle and thus will make a unique contribution to their field of interest.
That being said, collaborate with others in your industry and find ways to encourage one another. Since “iron sharpens iron,” collaboration will help you get better at what you do.
Last but not certainly not least, when obstacles come your way (as they always do), don’t automatically assume it is a sign to throw in the towel. Rather, look at it as a time to get clear on your mission and exercise flexibility. If you’re feeling stuck, consult with others to find different approaches to accomplishing your goals.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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