Motherhood and being a business woman isn't any easy feat, but for Ayesha Curry, it's a challenge she was born ready to tackle. Today, the wife and mother of two has her YouTube channel Little Lights of Mine with over 435k subscribers, is getting ready to launch her first cookbook The Seasoned Life this fall as well as launch her own meal-kit company GATHER.
We caught up with Ayesha as we get ready to have her on panel this fall at Create & Cultivate Atlanta, and got to hear about how she balances motherhood, the importance of transparency in her brand, and what her strategy is when making important business decisions.
You've created a brand that puts family and wellness at the forefront - how do you make sure that yours stands out among other culinary and family brands?
I think for me personally when I started my journey in the culinary world, I wanted to be accessible. I think that is what’s missing a lot these days in food. People love transparency and so I wanted to be honest, easy and approachable when it came to the way that I presented myself and the way that I cook. Nothing is perfect, and I want people to know that it's okay and that we're all in this together.
100 recipes is a LOT for a cookbook. We're sure you had a lot of inspiration to create The Seasoned Life - where did you find it?
I found inspiration through my family and just everyday life. Most of the recipes are things I've created over the years through trial and error, some are family recipes that have been passed down. I even have recipes in there that I recreated from my favorite restaurants. I simplified them for the home chef.
Fans know you as a supportive wife and devoted mother, but how do you assert your sense of self within and outside that role? How do you make sure that your brand stands alone?
I think for me it's been a matter of staying true to myself. I don't compromise and I've learned to say no... a lot. Again, it's the transparency. When I stay true to myself, I am automatically staying true to my brand. I only hope that people can see that.
What’s the first dish you ever created?
The first dish I created was a sweet and savory mango shrimp dish on my 13th birthday! I had a cooking party and invited all of my friends and cousins over. It was a blast!
What is one of the toughest challenges being a culinary entrepreneur and being a busy mom and wife?
Balancing it all has been the toughest challenge for me. I seem to be in a constant state of mom guilt. It’s hard. I am lucky that I have a supportive husband who encourages me and wants me to succeed. It keeps me going.
Your blog touches on food, wellness, and family. Are there any other topics that you think you might delve in later on the blog?
Food is definitely the focus. I love splicing in bits of family and wellness because it's the biggest part of my life and just makes sense. In a dream world I'd love to dive into more lifestyle and home decor. Unfortunately I am quite possibly the most disorganized person on the planet.
In two years, you have been able to grow Little Lights of Mine's YouTube channel to 435K. What has been your growth strategy from day one? How has it evolved?
My growth strategy has been quality over quantity. I never want to put out content just because "it's been a while". Everything I put out needs to make sense and be true to myself and my brand.
You share a lot about your life on your social channels, but do you feel there's a need for privacy within the media and the digital world? Are there things that you make sure to keep to yourself and your family?
I think the biggest thing for me and learning process has been knowing when to involve my girls and husband and when not to. People are so quick to take advantage and it's been difficult deciphering what makes sense and what doesn't. I'm getting better at it. For me, I feel like the media is quick to take small irrelevant matters and turn them into big false beasts. It's tough at times but it comes with the territory. We just make sure we don't bring the outside noise into our home. It keeps everyone happy and normal.
Aside from your book release this fall, what else is in the pipeline?
There’s lots of things in the works that i’m super excited about. Aside from the book release, this summer, I’ll be launching my very own meal-kit company, GATHER. GATHER will be delivering fresh ingredients based around my favorite recipes right at your doorstep. I’m also currently working on rebranding my olive oils and aprons. I also recently partnered with ZÜPA NOMA which is soup in bottle - soup reimagined.
So exciting to hear that you'll be launching GATHER soon! What are some of the things that you have learned in building a subscription business from the bottom up?
It’s been such a fun process. The main thing I’m trying to infuse is real world solutions. I set out to create a meal kit that I would use myself to make putting a delicious, nourishing meal on the table easier and less stressful. I’m learning that my ability to customize that experience is what’s going to really set it above and beyond what’s being offered by other meal kit companies. That’s where I’m really focusing my efforts. I can’t wait to share it with everyone.
What is your funniest parenting story to date?
My husband and I went to our daughters parent teacher conference and one feedback was that she needed to work a little bit on her listening skills (like any 3/4 year old). When we got in the car, we explained to her what we had learned and what she needed to do. She threw her hands on her head and said "I just can't handle this anymore." We had no words. We definitely have a drama queen on our hands.
What’s one thing completely unrelated to what you do now that you want to do or learn?
I would LOVE to learn how to ride English Style and compete. It's always been a dream of mine.
What is your process when making crucial business decisions, whether it involves your career or your family?
I always do a pros and cons checklist. I look at it from a time and financial standpoint, and if I'm passionate about the opportunity. It's really hard to turn down opportunities, but again, quality over quantity. If I don't feel moved and passionate about the project, I pass. I'm a firm believer in intuition and gut instinct. It has to feel right.