Being a successful entrepreneur is no easy feat. It takes determination, extraordinary effort, and the passion to see it through. Latisha Daring understands this all too well as she has made it happen for herself in the fashion industry.
After working in fashion for 25 years, Daring decided to use the creative energy she possesses to embark on a new venture into the culinary field with no experience. Daring decided to not only go forward with doing so but threw an extra twist into it by opening a vegan restaurant. Two years later, she owns two restaurants in Brooklyn, New York, named Greedi Kitchen.
BLACK ENTERPRISE caught up with the business owner to discuss her pivot into the food industry, Black ownership, and how Black businesses can thrive in this current environment.
BE: You’ve opened a vegan restaurant named Greedi Kitchen. Why did you name it Greedi Kitchen and what can people expect when they go to the restaurant?
Daring: Greedi Kitchen is a space that feels like home. We want our customers to feel as if they are at their favorite aunt’s or grandma’s house where food is the centerpiece of that experience.
I chose the name Greedi because I wanted a name that described Vegan culinary experience as I saw it, which actually goes against most stereotypical ideas around veganism. Vegans love food and love to eat, the only difference is the choices are healthier. Our specific niche is vegan comfort food. We focus on texture and flavor to ensure that taste is not sacrificed and that healthy food that is good for you can also be delicious.
You transitioned from the fashion industry to take your entrepreneurial spirit to the culinary space. What was the mindset when you did so?
I left the fashion industry after 25 years because I wanted a new creative outlet that would prove to be somewhat recession-proof. Cooking is my new joy. I love cooking for my community. I am self-taught and learning about what inspires me in this new industry. Challenges are inevitable throughout my learning process. I have never worked in food, so my first year in business was the toughest. Now we are two years old with our first location in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and one year old in our newest location in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
With the current climate as it is today, how important is it for Black businesses to thrive? How should local elected officials and consumers move forward in order for Black businesses to survive and encourage more to open?
Within the current climate, it is essential that the Black community understand the power of the Black dollar and our overall consumption in this country. I think it is key to have community support to keep the dollars within our community as long as we can, this should be a part of our daily intention. Black businesses can thrive with the support of the community. Elected officials can simply reeducate themselves on what defines small business here in America and understand that we are the backbone of the economy and our community. There should be more support available to small business especially Black-owned businesses in this country. The goal in my mind is to have Black Wall Street in every city in the nation, this should be a reality simply based on not only history but what we know is possible.
Do you plan to open additional Greedi Kitchen restaurants and/or do you have other projects you intend to bring to fruition?
We are currently working on adding retail to our spaces. We are focused on gourmet vegan products from Black women-owned companies. The end goal is proof of concept and eventually a Black-owned supermarket chain similar to Whole Foods but Black-owned with products created and owned by us.
Having been an entrepreneur for many years now, what would you say to those who have similar dreams/plans to venture out on their own?
Faith over fear always, dreams and ideas will have limited potential without action. Action takes faith and perseverance, you have to see the dream as a reality in order to find the energy and endurance to bring it to fruition. I have gone into every business I’ve ever owned this way and it has always worked out.
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