Kristy Brown has worked in noteworthy restaurants around Seattle but what she is most known for these days is her black bean hummus. Is it that good? Yes, it is that good! Her business, That Brown Girl Cooks, is rapidly growing from an underground hit to a popular dip that shouldn’t be missed.
Tell me about That Brown Girl Cooks.
We call ourselves a foodie lifestyle company. Though our main focus is hummus, we also do cooking classes, pop up events, and an annual fish fry. Our hummus is in eleven stores and five farmer’s market.
Our hummus is a creative twist on chickpea hummus. We use black eyed peas and our unique blend of spices. I wanted to find a way to incorporate the soul food I grew up with into healthy, unique vegetarian options. We served the hummus for years as part of our catering business and people continued to ask for it, so we knew we had to bring it back.
What difference are you trying to make in the food system?
We care about the food you put into your body and send out nourishing wishes when we prepare it. Good food means healthy food – food that is grown, packaged and prepared in a way you can feel good about. Prior to starting this business I didn’t understand the value of eating close to home and the ability to connect with the people who grow and produce your food.
Interacting with the public is really important to us. We want to know what people think of the product and how they use it. We’ve given over 5,000 tastings at farmer’s markets so far this year! I love hearing people’s recipe ideas or just knowing that their babies love it.
What goals do you have for the business?
We are in a crucial growth phase of the business. We would like to get into some of the larger grocery chains and begin to expand our footprint. It can be a challenge to know what that means and how to put all the pieces in place. And it is a lot of work. I’m really excited to push the business to see how far it can go. We aim to change the world one bite at a time.
How has HEDI helped you refine your business model?
I’m currently in a crucial growth phase and Luni has helped talk me through what that means and how to plan for it. Working with him was really an honor. The classes really helped me understand my place in the food chain.
Beyond that, what I value the most from the experience is the relationships I’ve been able to develop with the other business owners. The cohort model helped us build relationships that I continue to rely on when I need help.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?
You’ll never know it all and that’s okay! Focus on what you do well and become an expert in that. For everything else, get as much help as you can. Developing my support network has been critical to my business.