Voss Babe Female Entrepreneur Series — Christina Avery, Co-Owner of Knifey Spooney
For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, social media can be an absolute game-changer! All it takes is one viral post and a business can suddenly take off.
At Like A Voss Social Media, we’re highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs who are killing the online game. This week’s spotlight is on Christina Avery, the co-owner of Knifey Spooney!
Knifey Spooney aims to bring together culinary artistry with a fiery passion to change the world. The single most important thing we can do to help our own bodies and life on this planet is to eat more plants, let us show you how. We strive to deliver food that is as seasonal and local as possible, respecting the earth and our bodies with ingredients that tread lightly. Our mission is to make plant-based food delicious, accessible and *FUN*, using real food ingredients for taste and health.
Our CEO Mandi interviewed Christina about her secret to success in business and in life. We also got some awesome insights into what they think makes social media such an effective tool for Knifey Spooney.
A Little Bit About Being a Female Entrepreneur
1: How long have you been in business?
Two and a half years.
2: What made you decide to break away from the 9–5 and start Knifey Spooney?
This has been in the works for about 10 years, so was literally just waiting for a sign to take the leap. Then all at once we got a ton of them. Before this point, it had taken time to gain experience, find the right business partner and frankly, try to work my way out of poverty before it could become a reality. I had been working in a kitchen for about two years to learn how to do so professionally- when I was offered a position working at a special needs preschool. It was in the field I went to school for originally, and also was many less hours a week-allowing more time to physically work our business, while still having a bit of an income. Right when that was happening, the Kingston Vegetarian Network offered us a cooking demo and a free booth at their first Vegfest, a friend asked us to cater their wedding and someone I used to serve at The Sleepless Goat wanted us to cook for a dinner party. Our business channels built themselves-we just had to show up. I’ve heard before that you should never start a business unless people are begging you to, so we did just that.
3: What do you love most about being a female entrepreneur?
Getting to fight the patriarchy from the inside. The food business has traditionally been dominated by men (particularly bro culture), and been hard to be taken seriously. Vegan food, in particular, is seen as the most feminine of food (as f*cked as it is that our society has assigned food categories to what kind of genitals we have), so to get to be a boss in the industry while selling the items we do is particularly sweet (or savory depending on the dish).
4: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome as a female entrepreneur?
Being a mother and a worker and CEO at the same time. It could be the pressure that’s been put on me by society, or pressure I put on myself-getting over being able to do everything perfectly has been a real challenge. My kids get lots of lessons in being independent, what hard work looks like, personal sacrifice for goals and how to run a business but sometimes it hardly feels like I’m winning.
Something you did not foresee when you decided to go into the plant-based catering business? Honestly, the demand from non-vegans. A majority of our wedding clients are not vegan which always surprises me. A ton of people we serve at the market are omnivores, which we love. They could eat anything, but they choose to eat with us!
5: What is one thing about working in the food industry that people would be surprised to learn?
How little we actually get to eat of our creations. Days are really long, and often we hit the ground running. We can unfortunately/fortunately go for a long time on lattes alone, and at the end of an exhausting day-it’s really hard to feel like cooking (or making more dishes for your future self to deal with).
And Now Onto The Social Media Questions!
6: Do you have a favorite social media platform?
Facebook for sure. Why? The first being that I’ve been using it for years longer, so I feel like I have a better handle on how it works despite it changing constantly. The second is that I can only post to Instagram on my cell phone, which I find quite limiting as far as text goes. I can type quickly and accurately in a Facebook post, and come off as a decent writer. On Insta — 9/10 chance it’s autocorrected to something dumb and I missed it.
7: What made you decide to start using social media as a way to promote your company?
It was a no brainer, as we started with zero dollars and it’s free. The real question is how do you reach people without social media lol?
8: How has social media impacted your business? Would you say that it’s an effective marketing tool?
It was critical to both creating a brand and networking. For two people that can be surprisingly shy, the internet allows us to reach out to people we would *never* have the courage to talk to IRL and make connections that have let us thrive. Most certainly it’s a great marketing tool. The neat thing in our line of work is we don’t need analytics to tell us it’s reaching customers-they stand in front of us and say “your post is the reason I’m here”.
9: What advice would you give to other businesses and entrepreneurs who want to use social media as a way to connect with customers?
Do your homework. Yes, it’s a free resource but you can’t thrive at it without understanding how it works. We have been fortunate that great professionals like Katie Ross (katieross.co for savvy business guidance) and Bre Johnson (Brejohnson.com for branding) came into our lives to help us build our presence in a smart way (somebody had to tell me to swear less also, results were mixed). They were so pivotal in guiding the direction of our business and how to create a memorable brand on our platforms.
A Little More About Christina
Christina was born in Chiang Mai, Thailand and has lived in many places in Canada and abroad before settling in Kingston with her children, Oliver and Lola. While digging deep roots, she found her voice as an activist and hasn’t shut up since. She also was fortunate enough to meet her partner here-Radford is the other half of Knifey Spooney, and the adventurous chef she’s always dreamed of falling in love with. For fun, Christina likes to fight fragile white men on the internet, blog, create art and food, and smoke pot-which usually is the catalyst for all great creative work.
Know Any Voss Babe?
Do you know a female entrepreneur who loves social media as much as we do? Contact us today — we’d love to tell her story!