Evoke Ethos: I truly believe that marketing should embody the 3 E’s which include: Educate, Empower, and Entertain. People want to learn, people want to feel inspired, and people want to laugh, cry, feel connected to the content they’re consuming. No wonder memes are such a hit — you feel another level of relatability once it’s translated into a digestible piece of content that hits home.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Kimia Kalbasi. Ambitious, bubbly, and charismatic are just a few of the ABCs that describe Kimia in a quintessential nutshell. Born in LA, raised in OC, schooled in SB, worked in NYC, and now residing in SF, Kimia is the creative content marketing powerhouse behind Kimia’s Kravings, your ultimate go-to guide for where to eat, drink, and play in style intertwined with puns and positivity. She has been featured in Forbes, Buzzfeed, Good Morning America Digital, and Huffington Post. Throughout her career, she leveraged her personal interests and goals into her full-time livelihood and transitioned from her extensive background in tech sales to content marketing and social media by utilizing her hobbies as her creative outlet. She thrives off networking, building and cultivating relationships and long-term partnerships, and above all, mentoring others. In her personal time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, staying active through hiking, hot yoga, boxing, cooking, and exploring hidden gems playing tourist as a local wherever she goes. The quote she lives by is, “It takes 10 years to create an overnight success” and is always more than happy to share a detailed background of her roller coaster of a professional journey. You can learn more about her at KimiasKravings.com and follow along on her adventures @KimiasKravings.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Kimia! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
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 Feels,” 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.
Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I have endless stories when it comes to mistakes and even more learning lessons from them. While I think of one, what I’ve come to realize is that, you will inevitably always make “mistakes,” particularly with your marketing efforts. Just like how life is one big A/B test, marketing epitomizes that. One campaign strategy may work for a certain brand but could backfire for another. Above all, there will be ones that will make you laugh later on and make you think twice or maybe even cry depending on the severity of the project, but above all, as long as you learned from it and prevent it from happening again, you’re already winning.
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 ear to listen or the 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 🙂
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I’m working on a variety of upcoming projects in the works! I can’t quite yet share what they are but I think they will help people and help spread positivity and optimism 🙂
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lessons that others can learn from that?
Hmmm I’d have to say the tipping point was when the consistency hit a moment of momentum. I think there will always be tipping points throughout your career just like how they exist in life.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
Take a breather. I’ve noticed I’m at my most creative state when I’m disconnected and in my element whether that be taking a walk, doing yoga, or cooking or even stepping out to take a few deep breaths. Some of my best ideas have rooted from a sweat sesh or walk around the block. When we’re bombarded, our minds become foggy which handicaps creativity. We’ve grown so accustomed to this constant work culture and although I believe in work-life integration, it’s okay to catch a break.
How do you define “Marketing”? Can you explain what you mean?
I define Marketing as the psychology of storytelling. The purpose of marketing is to ultimately drive growth. How do you drive growth? You drive growth through a mix of powerful partnerships, compelling content, and connectivity between people and content. I believe that content should evoke emotion to
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My parents, no questions asked. They have been rooting me on since day 1 and I truly can’t emphasize the fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Their endless support and encouragement has kept me going for the long run and up until this point. Beyond the fact that they have each taught me so many valuable lessons, they are the first people I call when I have great news to share, and also when I need to vent about something when I’m seeking guidance. And even if I fail, they’re always there to cheer me on, no matter what by instilling positivity and reminding me about what matters most when I feel blind-sighted by the situation at the time. They are the ones who have taught me what it is to live with a life of gratitude and have helped me shift my mindset. Inevitably there have been times of doubt but that’s when I had to rely on tapping into my own positivity. Over the past several years, I have learned to appreciate and see all the sacrifices that have been made and my goal is to repay them with success after bringing me into this world.
Can you share a few examples of marketing tools or marketing technology that you think can dramatically empower small business owners?
Tap into analytics at the tip of your fingers. I truly believe that there shouldn’t be excuses anymore when it comes to improving ourselves or obtaining the answers we need. The internet is our limitless resource and has endless free options when it comes to data, even reading up on industry-related news is the ultimate game-changer. If you’re not well-versed with what’s happening outside of your organization, how will you improve internally?
What are your “5 Non Intuitive Marketing Strategies For Small Businesses”?
- Ask Your Audience: People are so focused on their product that they forget about the power behind their product, aka their community. Conduct surveys, create polls, and collect market research to better gauge with your audience and meet their needs. Ultimately they will be the reason your product will exist for the long-run. Building that cadence between you/your brand and the audience is the reason why brands like Glossier are who they are today.
- Evoke Ethos: I truly believe that marketing should embody the 3 E’s which include: Educate, Empower, and Entertain. People want to learn, people want to feel inspired, and people want to laugh, cry, feel connected to the content they’re consuming. No wonder memes are such a hit — you feel another level of relatability once it’s translated into a digestible piece of content that hits home.
- Benchmark against past-performing content: How else will you know to stop posting those flatlays if you don’t check the data? First party data is at the tip of our fingertips and it’s mindblowing how easily accessible it is yet is not utilized. Data doesn’t lie and it should be your best friend, particularly when it comes to planning your next campaign. This will help you learn from past mistakes and understand what content best resonates, performs, and what not to do.
- Check out the competition: A little competition never hurt nobody. In personal matters, yes one should not compare thyself but rather be better than the person they were yesterday. However, in this case, beyond benchmarking against your own best and worst performing content, in order to stay ahead of the game, you need to evaluate from competitors A-Z to do it to stay ahead of the trends and put your own unique twist on it.
- Work with influencers: Whether you want to work with 1 local or send products to dozens, implementing an influencer strategy can be the answer to helping you develop content at scale, especially if you’re focused on operations and the day-to-day and lack resources when it comes to creating content.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Pass on the positivity with a simple act of kindness. May not sound like a lot, but this is profound and impactful beyond measures. Try it out and please report back 🙂
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“It takes 10 years to create an overnight success.” For as long as I can remember, I had a clear vision of what I wanted my life to look like and have built the momentum that has lead to today. There is no such thing as overnight success. Every step you take leads to the beautiful journey ahead and there is no finish line, you just keep going and enjoy the experiences along the way, even the hardest days. Those are the ones meant savoring the most. Attaining success doesn’t mean you’ve hit the final destination, it means what you’ve worked towards is coming to fruition and now you can enjoy the fruits of your labor to see what else you can grow in your garden.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.