What’s the origin story of your business?
I have been cooking since I was 9 years old, I got it from my mother and grandmother. Back in 2017, my friend asked if I could cater a bridal shower for her and everybody literally lost their minds after having my food. Afterward, I had all this catering equipment so I just put it to the side. I don’t know what happened from there but shortly after I was getting asked to do this and that and before I knew it I had catering jobs every month. At the end of 2017, I said I was going to stop being scared and launch my own catering business. I started thinking of my grandmother and my mom and was like ok Soul Food. But I didn’t want soul food, so I said how can I spin it?
So now when people ask me if it’s healthy, it’s not that we don’t use salt and butter, it means we don’t use any artificial coloring, flavorings, sugars, no GMO, everything is homemade, I know everything that goes in and I try to do farm to table as much as I can. So that’s where the healthy part comes in and the soul part is it just makes you feel good. I always say “we create what your taste buds want and what your soul desires”. That’s just how I want everybody to feel after they take a bite of Healthy Soul Catering Company’s food.
What’s an obstacle that you’ve had to overcome to build your business?
Getting out of my own way. I have imposter syndrome so everyone can literally tell me, “oh it’s great, it’s amazing” but then later I think to myself, “everyone cooks, what makes mine so special, there is nothing about my cooking that makes it special. Why would they pay for me to do something that they could do?” It comes from learning about people and knowing that everybody doesn’t cook, some don’t know how while others are willing to pay for the convenience of having someone else do it. I do it all the time whenever I go out to eat. Like I know I can bake that but I don’t want to.
With all of these opportunities coming up recently I’ve really started to jump on them but in the past, I would have overthought it. Now I’m trying to fully accept the gifts I’ve been given and really see them as a gift for other people.
What is unique about owning and running a business in Murfreesboro?
Murfreesboro is like a little big town, everyone already has their favorites. They know who to call or they have their favorite restaurant that they’ve been going to for 50+ years. Trying to say you’ve had them now try mine is really hard. Now that Murfreesboro is growing I see the opportunity to step in and say you’ve had that now try mine but since it is growing so fast I have to jump on those opportunities as soon as they come because I feel like the window isn’t going to be open for long. I can’t wait for the day that I am a part of the group that says ”oh we trust healthy soul catering company, we don’t use anybody else, there’s nobody else to go to” so trying to be that, I feel is pretty unique to Murfreesboro.
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
I guess it just goes back to that imposter syndrome, that I’m not good enough to really do this. The energy that I put into this is a lot, it’s daily, sometimes it’s hourly and I have to find time to do it since I am a wife, mother, and also a gymnastics coordinator. So trying to make it all work, I sit there and research different flavorings and spices. I experiment while I’m just sitting there on my phone, different ideas of how to make stuff and it’s just like what if they don’t like it, what if I put in all this effort and no one wants it?
If you could wave a magic wand and make one problem go away in your business what would it be?
Probably the financial aspect of it because when I started it I wanted my business to be an affordable catering company because I know not everyone can afford it and I know what they can afford doesn’t always taste up to par because you get what you pay for. So I don’t like that I have to charge people to do what I love but in order to continue doing what I love, I have to charge people. In order to get to where I want to go which is the venue that I want to have, I have to have money.
Because even when I have to wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning, I mean I’m not a morning person but it’s just me, the kitchen, and my food so once I get going I’m fine. I’d much rather do that all day than sit up there and charge people to do it in order to get the ultimate dream of the event venue.
If you could travel back in time to the day you started your business, what advice would you give yourself?
I would say just do it, I know it’s so cliché to say but just do it. You’re going to run into issues, a lot of issues, and a lot of hiccups. You’re going to walk right into a pandemic where you will not sell one thing that year but you will still love it afterward once you start doing it again. You love it and will always love it just do it.
What time of the day are you most productive?
Night time for sure, I’m a night owl. Night time, that’s just when it all starts flowing. My daughter is home schooled so my mornings are dedicated to her and then right after we’re done I take her to gymnastics. Gymnastics is four hours, five days a week, after that, we come home, eat dinner, she goes to bed and that’s when I start working so from about 9 o’clock till about two in the morning is when I’m working and whether that’s for the gym or catering, most of the times it’s catering because I have to create a menu since we are a customized catering company. So because of that if someone says I want Italian, then I go and create an Italian-based menu, and then I send it out to them. Because we’re a customized catering company what one person wants is not the exact same as what another would want. So nighttime is the best time for me to be alone with my thoughts, just me and my food.
What’s one thing you’d say to a person starting a new business?
It’s hard. Even when you’re not physically at a business you’re still there. It is not something that you do because everyone else is doing it because you see it as easy financial success. I love this, I would do this even if people didn’t pay me and it is hard. Even every day you go through and you hit a hard moment just know that you told yourself in the beginning that this was going to be hard.
What’s one thing you’d say to a person who’d owned a business for a long time?
At what point did you see it all coming together? So you’ve been hustling and grinding this whole time was there a point when you were finally like OK has it fallen into place now or am I still hustling and grinding? When did you see a light?