Fluidity allows you to stand still, be present and observe your surroundings and make good solid decisions.
At the age of 4, Kimmee received her first drum set on Christmas morning from her father Vinnie. It was then that Kimmee found her passion for music. Later, Kimmee found another passion, baking, by following in her father’s footsteps and opening up Confections of a Rockstar bakery with her business partner Lisa Lasky. The popular spot on Cookman Ave in Asbury Park is a must stop when in town!
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Confections of a Rockstar was meant to be a retirement present to myself after being a touring rock n roll drummer….The business came a little early!
In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?
I developed it much later in life. I always looked for a way to make money and start little businesses when I was a young child but the real art of being an entrepreneur didn’t happen until my late 30’s.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
My father had 2 bakeries when I was growing up. I would go into work with him on snow days and in the summer. I would watch how people would react to the cakes and desserts he made, and it always seemed to make people happy. I knew that putting a smile and creating memories for people is what I was meant to do. Although, I knew I was not really business savvy when I was opening Confections, so I enlisted my business partner who I knew was well versed in business.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are a rock n roll theme bakery in a town that has thrived from the arts and culture. Perfect location + perfect business= perfect marriage.
All of our products are made from scratch using high quality ingredients. It definitely separates us from the standard (which there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just not what we do)
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
In my business, my staff and I must all work together as a team to reach our goals. Passion, Grit and Kindness have gotten me to where I am today.
- Baking is a labor of love. Following recipes, precision and creativeness are just a few items I deal with on a daily basis. In my daily affirmations, I am reminded the passion for this art/business is what carries me through.
- Grit. Being a small business owner, we fought tirelessly every obstacle and curve ball thrown at us prior to a global pandemic. I made a decision to fight harder than before to keep this bakery alive and relevant, not just for me but for the staff of people that rely on us to support themselves and their families.
- Being Kind. I should have put this first, but they are not in any particular order. I cannot emphasize enough, kindness is one of those things in life that costs nothing, you know that laugh you hear that makes you want to laugh along with it? kindness is the same kind of contagious. Being kind to my staff, my clients and everyone else I come in contact with daily, keeps me grounded and open to everything!
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
One of my good friends had given me advice about when opening your own business, you work in it all day every day. I had found that advice solid and true and was willing to take that chance. It was difficult to hire staff when we opened so I was in it, day to day, working a long side my staff. In doing that, I had removed the ability for my staff to think on their own and make mistakes as needed, hence, not letting go. I have found over the years the key to success is having balance. There is a saying out there…never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. This is a true saying to success.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
Listen to your employees, make sure you have enough help for your workload.
Thank them. A thank you goes a lot further than a raise. I have learned all my staff would like is to feel appreciated for the hard work they do. Don’t get me wrong, a raise is always great too, but a “Thank you, Hey good job” really makes a difference.
If your business is in a town where summer is crazier than winter, close a few days if it is affordable and give them a few days off.
What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
Communicate who you are and your business. Be honest and kind.
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
I find people have a hard time trusting now, especially with respect to the global pandemic. Having leaders within the same industry gives us the opportunity to discuss ideas, work together and build comradery instead of working against each other. Community can go a long way.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
Speaking from my own experience and that of some fellow business friends, take your time. Do not rush. Just because you have an amazing idea does not mean you should start a business on it. Take the time to do the research and create a solid business plan that you can use, not just to put on paper. Granted, sometimes things happen, and changes need to be made but once you lay the foundation you can build up from there.
Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?
I always wondered when I first opened Confections of a Rockstar why it was such a different environment managing people. My background was management in customer service, with a staff of great individuals that I developed and help grow in their field and one day it hit me. When I was managing someone else’s company, the money belonged to someone else, the overall stress was not mine. I didn’t have to cover a shift when someone called out in corporate, there was plenty of staff to jump in to someone’s position. I was responsible for my staff and their production but not solely for the sales coming in the door, ordering ingredients, paper goods, creating new products, developing cake, cookies and custom order forms. When something breaks, it is that of the business to pay the bill. Well, it is now my business and if it breaks I buy it policy. It was all mine to deal with. There were days when my large walk-in refrigerator, air conditioning and ovens went down, and 3 people called in sick on the same day prior to Covid. The mindset is I have a business and I am responsible for everything in it from staff, to equipment to packaging to production to clients and the list goes on and on.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
I love being in the front of my store and meeting new clients, I get really excited when speaking to people, learning their stories and what brings them to Asbury Park and then what attracted them to Confections of a Rockstar. I love people! Watching the growth of my staff and what they are able to learn and accomplish for me is an over the top experience.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Not knowing what the outcome of the Pandemic was going to be for us. There were moments when fighting the good fight was just an overwhelming feeling of defeat. I watched my staff come together as a team for the greater goal of the store, we pivoted but it was not a great feeling.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
I do not have 5, I honestly have 2- balance and fluidity. While I am still working on both daily, it is not just something you believe in, but something you have to practice, and I truly believe in both. Balance allows you to stay grounded and be prepared for things good and bad that come your way. Fluidity allows you to stand still, be present and observe your surroundings and make good solid decisions.
We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
I believe determination and adaption to change is a trait that is needed to be resilient. Most of us have never experienced something like this pandemic before. Being a business owner, we had to adapt to change. We needed to learn to change our processes. We researched quickly and were able to ship our products to keep us alive, making different products helped us to continue keeping our staff employed and our doors open.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?
I was an overweight kid and was bullied a lot. I had to overcome challenges as a child. That’s where it started. In 1994, I was involved in a very serious car accident that could have held me back. I chose to fight constantly and consistently if they said I couldn’t do something ever again, I fought harder.
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
In all honestly, I try to. It doesn’t always come easy. Being positive is a daily study, I don’t just take it for granted. I find it harder in situations when my entire staff is having a really difficult time at once to overcome and keep them up and positive. It really does take more energy to be negative then positive and smiles always look better anyway!!
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
Positivity is contagious, staying positive in tough times and during challenging situations motivates those you are surrounded by to push for the same thing.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
Tony Robbins: Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.
Being able to give back and help people from what I have been lucky enough to learn, see and do to me means I am living my life with a purpose.
How can our readers further follow you online?
Facebook-Confections of a Rockstar
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!