Posted: Fri 12th Oct 2018
Enterprise Nation member Kieu-My PHAM THAI left a corporate career to become a plant-based chef to help people live healthier lifestyles with her business, 9 Kitchens. She is also the resident chef for a yoga retreat in Portugal on 3 - 7 November. Here's her story.
Describe your business in one sentence.
A plant-based chef who helps busy people re-store, re-set and re-energise with wholesome cooking for a happier and healthier lifestyle.
How did you come up with your idea and turn it into an actual business?
I worked as corporate executive for more than 20 years. I had the chance to travel extensively and meet people from different backgrounds and cultures. But the last 10 years were extremely stressful.
It may sound so common nowdays but I was looking for a sense of purpose in my professional life. Being passionate about healthy food and world cuisine since childhood, I started to explore different business concepts taking into consideration my own constraints like having children, a husband who is busy travelling and a limited source of funding.
I realised that there was a demand for busy people to understand the basics of healthy cooking without spending hours on the internet. I read reference books on plant-based cooking, did a diploma with the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London and Rouxbe in Canada.
A couple of months ago, I started cooking for families and teaching healthy cooking with flavours to busy parents who have lost touch with natural food. I have also become a plant-based chef for wellness retreats.
What start-up challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Understanding the importance of social media: I have taken several online courses.
Understanding the importance of food photography and video: Having an expert in those fields to spend few hours with me.
Creating a brand: I employ a freelancer who did a fantastic job.
Creating a beautiful website: Using a web developer. The work is still in progress.
Being effective with my time: Using tools like Buffer to schedule social media posting and SEO Content to create blog articles...
What has been your biggest achievement with your business so far?
Being a plant-based chef for a beautiful luxurious yoga retreat.
Working for a food start-up in recipe development.
What is your next big business goal?
Creating online videos for plant-based cooking to inspire more people around the world to switch to more natural, environmental friendly and healthier cooking;
What do you think will be your biggest challenge getting there?
Making beautiful videos and editing them in a short time
Which other entrepreneur inspires you and why?
Ben Pugh, founder of Farmdrop.
He is a ex-stockbroker who has changed to a completely different life. He has very successfully created Farmdrop which delivers farm to table wholesome ingredients from local farmers and fishermen.
I admire him because I love the concept, but I also admire him as a person because he did not come from a food background and did not have any knowledge about logistics and the retail market.
People believe in him as he raised £7m in April 2017 and another £10m in June 2018.
What are your three tips for business success based on your experiences so far?
Believe in yourself.
Learn the basics of a new competency and then only use a freelancer.
Speak about what you are doing all the time. Word of mouth is very important.
We're proud to have people like Kieu-My as members of Enterprise Nation. Join Enterprise Nation today and become part of an amazing community of small business owners.