I had the pleasure of interviewing Kimia Kalbasi, the widely acclaimed Founder of KimiasKravings.com. She has been featured in the Huffington Post, Socialfly Live, ABC News, Good Morning America Digital, and PA Live. She is a notable content creator who not only monetized her hobby and has worked with a plethora of reputable brands including but not limited to Uber, American Express and Bombay Sapphire, but has also marketed herself as a social media strategist who consults clients succeed in the social space. She’s a busy busy bee indeed! Between meetings, campaigns, emails, and events, she always makes sure she gets through her days with a boxing sesh or yoga to keep the momentum going and keep smiling.
Jean: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become a founder?
At 15, I created my own e-commerce website called K. Gift Baskets and then started a nutrition blog called NutriNerd back in ’08 (#TBT OG blogger days) and started a little greeting card biz with my sister where she wrote heartwarming poems inside and I drew the artwork on the outside. I’ve always had that go-getter, entrepreneurial spirit instilled within me for as long as I can remember. Above all, in a quinnessential nutshell, I loved creating and I especially loved playing by my own rules. I knew what my interests were (I also was well aware of my weaknesses), and I had a vision of what I wanted my life to look like but I didn’t know how to get there. That was the exciting part of it all. I had always loved storytelling, documenting, and sharing experiences, and opening my world to the rest of the world. When social media emerged, I was hooked. Funny enough, ever since I was a little kid, my dream job was to be a journalist. I loved being in the know and keeping up with current events. Instead of watching Nick Jr, I’d watch the news with my parents. I found it so fascinating how the journalists would tell the stories and I loved knowing what was going on locally or around the world. As I got older, I felt the pressure of figuring out what I wanted to do with my life career wise. I had embarked on a variety of internships and jobs before entering college and during college as well and I was constantly networking everywhere I went. It didn’t matter where I was, I would leverage my story and share it with whoever I met. Longest story short, after college, I took a corporate job and halfway through it, I began to freelance for an online food and travel site (which funnily happened through my networking where everything surfaced full circle but that’s a whole other story in itself). Since I was always documenting what I was up to and my adventures whether it was hanging out with friends or checking out new restaurants in the city, I was consistently uploading my experiences and this was way before “influencers” were even a thing. My interests aligned with today’s social media space. One day a friend reached out to me and said, “Kimia, I’m so surprised you never started a food blog! You go to the best places to eat.” That’s when the light bulb moment happened — I rebranded my social media from my first name and last name and specialized it to be more specialized niche and I still actually have the notes in my phone where I was brainstorming quirky names to rebrand myself 0 “Hungry Heart,” “Feels for meals,” the list goes on and on. It was actually my cousin Parisa who came up with “Kimia’s Kravings” and she told me that when I grow, the term “Kravings” will still align beyond food, and boy oh boy, was she right. My rebranding occurred 2 years ago from this time around and I can’t begin to explain the endless opportunities this journey has brought for me and as much as it has brought on, I’m extremely humbled grateful for all of the incredible, mind-blowing, indescribably experiences, endeavors, lessons, and people this has brought into my life, and so excited for what’s yet to come. I still pinch myself to this day and quite frankly, it never gets old.
Jean: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What I believe makes “Kimia’s Kravings” stand out is that I embed my positivity into everything and all that I do. I like to add a positive spin on things. I’m definitely more of an idealist/optimist. I live in my own idealistic world and with that mindset, I have created that exact world that I’ve idealized. With that said, I am relatable. I am your friend, your next door neighbor, your coworker, etc. I think people want to feel connected with what they’re consuming and want to feel empowered, enlightened, and feel good overall. I am reachable and can be that lending ear to listen or that helping hand when you need to be picked up. I want to shed that optimism and motivation on others. Whatever I have done and am currently doing, anyone can do. It’s a mindset. Throughout this entire journey, I’ve learned that everything starts with your mind. For instance, I’d say about a half a year from around this time, I launched an InstaStory Series Segment called, “#MotivateMeMondays” where I share insight and favorite quotes and relate them to personal experiences, dive deeper, and promote positivity for the start of the week. The idea sparked because I just want to share that anyone can do what I’m doing, and it’s not rocket science. It’s simply a matter of consistency, hard work, and optimism along the way. Notice how I said simple but not easy. We all know what to do and how to do it but it’s a matter of applying and I would love to help be that source of inspiration to push those who are in doubt or shed that extra light on those who are well on their way and need that extra dose of oomph to get the week goin :)
Jean: Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes! I’m working on some partnership opportunities with brands that I’m super excited to work with that I’ve dreamt of and have always been on my “wish list.” Also, I recently moved from NYC to SF so I’m stoked on settling in and sharing my experience and having it all come to life. Don’t want to give away too much but definitely pllenty more exciting initiatives to come so stay tuned!
Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
I’m an avid believer in the Law of Attraction after reading The Secret (thanks to Oprah’s recommendation over a decade ago). I swear by it and has shifted my mindset for the better. I truly believe that thoughts become things. As long as you set your mind to whatever it is you want in life — personally, career wise, financially, etc, you are in complete control of it and it all begins with your mind. My mindset has never been the same ever since I was introduced to this concept. I truly believe that we manifest want we want in life, act on it, and receive it. There will always be curveballs down the line but that’s life. This book has taught me how powerful our minds are and day in and day out, I’m realizing more and more that our minds are indicative of our lives. I’ve always been a naturally positive person but this book reaffirmed why I still choose to stay positive no matter what because the mind conquers all. Everything I have ever envisioned in my life I’m living now thanks to the power of “The Secret.”
Jean: What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Twentysomething Founder” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1 - Never underestimate the power of consistency.
No matter how tough the going gets, don’t stop. I can’t emphasize this enough. There have been countless times I wanted to drop everything I was doing and would question it. Stick to a sequence and roll it with it as long as you can. There is no such thing as overnight success. My favorite quote goes a little something like this — “It takes 10 years to create an overnight success” and it couldn’t be more accurate. Funny enough, everything that I am currently experiencing is precisely what I had wished upon 10 years ago and so much more and it’s still only the beginning.
2 - Control the controllable’s.
Can’t get upset over something you can’t control so focus on the things that you can control and give it your all. Can’t control the outcome of exterior variables whether that be people or circumstances, so all you can truly control is how you respond (notice how I didn’t say react) to your surroundings and situations. Once you engrain this into your head, your perception will change for the better. You will stress less about the little nuances and focus on what really matters.
3 - Attitude is everything.
Your attitude is your catalyst for how you handle situations no matter how good or bad — whatever perspective you may hold will invariably have an effect in your performance and the way you handle rejection. Of course, life happens and even when you wake up with the biggest smile on your face and by the end of the day, everything goes wrong, then how you decide to go about that circumstance is what’s the most telling Even before any difficulty happens, a person’s mindset must be able to possess a certain level of positivity and realism. Although nobody can ever have absolute control in what occurs throughout their life, the attitude and approach they choose in handling life’s obstacles is fully within control.
4 - Stay resilient.
You’re going to get knocked down and defeated countless times but you’re truly so much stronger than you think. It’s up to you perceive those moments of defeat in a positive light. Keep your eyes on the gold and keep going. You will keep having second thoughts or want to give up because that’s always the easier route but if you want it, you will do whatever it takes to get it.
5 - Focus on your own journey.
It’s so easy to get consumed by other people’s lives, especially in this day and age with social media. It’s inevitable to compare ourselves and our lives to others but people need to remember that social media is merely a facade. For me personally, it’s strictly business and what I make my livelihood from. We are all on our own path and timeline. Whether it’s with careers, relationships, finances, etc we’re all on our own course and as for everyone else, praise others as your endure on your own journey :)
Jean: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
One word, Oprah. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a private breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner, coffee, or midnight snack with Oprah? I remember rushing home from school to watch her show when it was on back in the day. Her energy was simply magnetic. Oprah exudes charisma, authenticity, strength, and overall badassness. The way she carries herself so confidently in a poised manner is exactly I emulate about her. She has impacted countless lives beyond her charitable efforts but through her ease of connecting with others and I’ve always admired that about her. The term inspiration doesn’t even cut it when it comes to Oprah.
Jean: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
— Published on June 27, 2018