Many of us have had dreams of working for ourselves. Be it that we have an idea for a business that doesn't yet exist or we wish to simply create our own workplace, it is an exciting proposition...and also sometimes a scary one. How does one get started? What are the challenges ahead? There are many questions, sometimes with complicated answers.
Over the next three series, I am profiling three small businesses that all have three things in common: passionate entrepreneurship, the balls to take chances and the fortitude to make cool sh!t happen. Here's our first installment featuring a local chef who is all the rage in the City of Glass.
christina culver - culver city salads
alexis: What is your name and what do you do?
christina: Christina Magdalena Culver. I am the owner of Culver City Salads and I am also a nail artist on the side!
alexis: How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Honestly it was very organic (ha!). I've always been the resident cook within my friend group. A few years ago I was between jobs and to be frank, things were a little tight. A good friend told me that she would pay me to make her lunches, so I started playing around with the idea. Soon thereafter another friend approached me and told me he'd like to partner up and help me officially launch Culver City Salads. We are now just a little over a year deep and are now gearing up to put our very own food truck on the street in June!
alexis: How and when did you decide to make it happen? What were some of the challenges involved?
christina: In the beginning it was more of a means to an end, so I guess I didn't really take it that seriously. When my partner Jesse let me know how much he loved the product and how excited he was to get involved, it started to set in that this could really be "a thing." Honestly, everything has been a challenge, not all necessarily bad...just a ton of learning curves. I'm not a trained chef, and I didn't go to business school - I went to fashion design school! Getting started - getting into a commissary kitchen, figuring out how to run it, getting all of the appropriate permits, managing deliveries and social media as well as ordering produce and packaging have been things I needed to figure out. But I am really enjoying it all! That thing about every day being different is true. There is never a dull moment.
alexis: What do you love about running your own company? What are some of the challenges?
christina: I really love working for myself. Entrepreneurship runs in my family and I have to say it just feels right for me. I love that I get to collaborate with other amazing local talents (like The Juice Truck who retails my salads, Alex Mazerolle who I just did a urban retreat with, trainers Carley Mendez & Keighty Gallagher who I am starting a 3 week challenge with called "The Tight Life" (it is bikini season, after all!) and Camil Dumont of Inner City Farms. I love that I get to make it my job to have fun, get creative and make truly nourishing food that makes people so happy and feel great. How cool is that? I would say that the biggest challenge is that there just aren't enough hours in the day. It can be a little overwhelming to wear so many hats and adjust to bouncing between the different roles I need to own in a day. Sometimes I get caught up in the not so fun stuff and have to remind myself why I'm doing this. I've also realized that I am a bit of a freak when it comes to delegating. As much as I'd like to take a holiday at some point I like to have my hand in everything and make sure that is it up to my standards and consistent. I need to work on this.
alexis: I've known you for a long time and you have had a pretty interesting life! Tell us something random about you.
christina: In 2007 I was burning out on designing (I started my own fashion label "Christina Darling" when I was 21). I was in New York with my girls and decided to try painting some of my favorite prints that I would usually turn into dresses on everyone's finger nails. Before I knew it, I was signed with an agent, doing fashion editorials (NYLON, Z!NK & Flare to name a few) shoots, celebrity nails for Interview! magazine and keying the shows at New York Fashion Week. My nails actually ended up on the Australian stamp. I often get asked if I'm "the girl that does the nails and salads". I guess I'm a bit of a juxtaposition.
alexis: What is your favourite way to sweat?
christina: I can't really say that I have a favorite. I grew up in North Vancouver and have always enjoyed the seasons through sports. I bike year round, it is my main form of transport and exercise I would say. It's the perfect way to get me in gear as I head to the kitchen and blow off steam at the end of a busy day. In the winter I love to ski and snowboard as much as I possibly can! In the drier months, I love running in nature (seawall and the forest). I try to do yoga a few times a week to unwind, and in the summer I can't get enough of the ocean. I become a bit of a mermaid (*Editor's Note: I can verify this. She has the perfect hair). I love wakeboarding and water skiing, and I'm hoping to get back into dancing and rowing this summer/fall.
The path to entrepreneurial glory is paved with fun, hard work and ingenuity! Look forward to two more stories of people who created their dream jobs...in the meantime, what job / business would you create for yourself if you couldn't fail?