My team and I are reaching out to all the woman owned businesses that inspire and amaze us on a daily basis. We will start with a brief background, then dive in to the nitty gritty of running a business, what keeps them inspired, and everything else in between.
I was born in Little Rock and raised by a single mother which forced me to learn how to fix things and take care of things on my own. There was always something missing in my life, though. A void that couldn’t be filled. One that I tried to fill with food and drugs and alcohol and other unhealthy things. I became more aware of my dysfunctionality over time and the unmanageability that lifestyle has to offer. After the birth of my daughter, Emery on September 22, 2009, I became interested in healthy eating. It was more important to me than ever, and little did I know, the start of a journey that recovery would help me pursue and learn about, simultaneously filling that void I'd spent my whole life trying to fill.
- Give us your elevator pitch. Dandy Line is meal prep and delivery service unique in its field because it is a social enterprise designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and to help empower women coming out of prison. It has a story that gives it a purpose greater than itself to be passed on and carried to other people struggling with living a healthy lifestyle.
- What is your business? Dandy Line Kitchen is meal prep and delivery service. We offer healthy meals at an affordable rate and deliver them to your door.
- When did you start your business? Our first official day in the kitchen was September 3rd, 2016.
What inspired you to make the leap? The idea of Dandy Line was presented to me by the House Director of Hope Rises as a social enterprise. I have a desire to help other women coming out of prison to make better life choices. We feel better when we eat better so the idea was very exciting for me. Since then, the response from the Dandy Line customers has given me even more motivation. I have received encouraging feedback and also feedback from people who are more familiar with vegan/vegetarian lifestyle than I am so its been altogether an exciting learning experience.
- What helps you get started each morning? Coffee, diet coke, 10 mile jog, meditation?? Some days I start with a run but that doesn’t always happen, lol. Coffee and meditation are absolutely required for my day.
- Tell us about a day in the life of running your business. What I love about Dandy Line is there is no typical day. Especially being that we are still fairly new, it’s a learning experience every week! Depending on how many orders and the meal I'm preparing that day, I can be in the kitchen for a short amount of time and done with deliveries quickly. Other times, I find myself struggling to get out of the kitchen on time to make all the deliveries by the promised time. I have forgotten or not had ingredients and have had to run to the store, I have even miscounted and had to deal with the repercussions of that. Thankfully, as the enterprise grows and develops, so do I. I learn more skills and have developed an adaptability and motivation to face these challenges head on and have fun with it.
- What keeps you motivated? Seeing the changes in other women from developing healthier lifestyles. The response from the regular and new customers is very uplifting and positive which makes all the hard work worth it. Dandy Line Kitchen has given me a purpose and sense of self-worth I didn’t have before.
What is your greatest strength/super power? I think my greatest strength would be my go-getter attitude.
- Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat? Instagram, definitely! I am a woman of few words and a picture is worth a thousand words.
- What do you do in your free time? (ha! What is free time?!) In the little free time that I can obtain, I go to the gym 3 times a week for an hour. I often spend time with my daughter and attend her cheerleading and school functions.
- If an investor gave you 1 million dollars to use toward your business, how would you spend it? Wisely! I would definitely build my dream kitchen from the ground up with all the bells and whistles!
What’s the biggest risk you ever took; how did it go? Making Dandy Line a full time job was definitely a big risk. So far, it's going as planned and projected to be a stable career path for me.
- Name something you hate doing but have to do for the good of your business. How do you make it tolerable? The amount of prep work is often overwhelming and difficult to delegate but I'm grateful to have Mr. Rick (dedicated volunteer) who is ready and willing to do whatever necessary to make this Enterprise successful. We divide much of the prep work between the two of us after I have finished grocery shopping and get it done the night before the meals are to be cooked and put together.
- How do you handle discouragement? Exercise is definitely a big source of decompression for me. I can process a lot during a 5 mile run!
Do you have a favorite, inspiring quote? “Choose a job that you like, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” -Confucious
- If you could choose anyone to pick as a mentor, who would you choose? I already believe I have two of the best mentors on the planet. Mrs. Kim Roxburgh is the Hope Rises executive director. Is one of the single most compassionate women I have ever met. Where I am sometimes quick to be unsympathetic to certain situations, she is full of patience and understanding which affects and inspires me. Mrs. Cheryl Grappe, a close friend and colleague of Kim Roxburgh, serves as the head chair on the board for Hope Rises. She is highly motivated by healthy living, competing in multiple triathlons and races every year. If someone were to ask me what I want to be when I grow up, I'd say her! She is knowledgeable and her resources are unlimited. She always has a solution to any bump in the road while working on a project. She embodies the grace and joy that I hope to be able to radiate to others.
- Any secrets on how you balance the ins and outs of running a small business? It’s no secret but they key is hard work and dedication. Going in early, staying late and often dedication of any leftover energy and thought I can muster to bettering the business and satisfying customers is the core of whats making this such a success.
- What’s the best advice you have for other women wanting to be entrepreneurs? Find what you're passionate about and don’t question it. Your purpose and success is found where hard work meets your greatest passion.
And if you are local, visit their website to sign up for their Meal Delivery Newsletter to see what they are cooking up each week!
All Photos By: Saira Khan