Name: Krista & Kiersten Gormeley
Business/Location: Shaka Bowl/2 locations in Hoboken, NJ
Specialty: We make acai and poké bowls, inspired by our time spent in Hawaii. At our new location (110 Washington Street), we recently launched our vegan tacos! We use unripe jackfruit, boil it over an extended period of time, marinate it in a house-made BBQ sauce, and shred it once it's cooked through. It's not only phenomenal, but it literally tastes and looks like meat.
What problem does your business solve?: We try to teach people that eating healthy does not need to be a huge sacrifice. You can eat mindfully without sacrificing those sweet and savory cravings that we all desire. And if it tastes good, it's a double win!
What makes your business unique?: We were the first Hawaiian cuisine-inspired food establishment in Hoboken. We were able to bring a new cuisine to a diverse and awesome community like Hoboken that is already so inundated with so many different cuisines.
What’s your story?: Kiersten and I lived in Hawaii in 2014. We went there with $90 and a plan to live simply for as long as we could. When we went, we had no idea how to eat or live mindfully, but we learned quickly. Kiersten, an executive chef, learned how to incorporate various new and different food into her culinary horizon. We got back to simplicity. We lived off of the trees around us, got outside, hiked, surfed, and even hitch-hiked. We learned what it was to live simply again and to trust our surroundings and the land we were walking on. We carry this simplicity with us daily, and we surely brought it home with us. And thus Shaka Bowl was born. We are able to provide a place where everyone can eat raw, simple ingredients that look and taste good.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Be passionate. Live, breathe, eat (no pun intended) what you preach. Embody every aspect of what you're doing. Don't be lazy about it. Research. Research a lot, and constantly teach yourself something new about your business, your industry. Know what you're talking about, know what you're selling, know why you're doing this. If you're here just to make a buck, you will never be successful. Love the smile that your food brings people. Watch their feet tap when they eat your food. Let that make you happy because it makes us so happy when we see it. Give it your all, and cater to your staff and your customers because they're what make your journey worthwhile.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?: Haha... SO much. Perhaps how to fix a ton of brand new machines, like vacuum condensers. Or maybe how much can go wrong in one simple Monday morning. Just kidding, but not really. What I really wish I had known was how to manage under tremendous levels of stress. I think NOW Kiersten and I would be calm if the place caught fire (another joke... our sprinkler system accidentally went off due to an installation mistake. We took deep breaths. That was a real test. Oh boy!) But really, when we first opened, we were train wrecks; and now, we just take deep breaths and figure it out and laugh along the way, like "Yep, this is really happening right now."
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it?: Every day, something definitely goes wrong--an employee calling out sick, an upset customer, a machine breaking, or running out of a key ingredient, it's always something. It happens; we're not perfect. No one is. But I think overcoming these daily obstacles and being able to handle it well, with a composed perspective, and still laugh about it is so important to being successful.
What are you most proud of about your business?: I think we're most proud that we’re able to welcome customers into our restaurant every single day with a team that feels more like family than staff. Some days Kiersten and I sit back and whisper to each other, "can you believe all these people are here to eat at our restaurant?"And we simply say "no," and laugh about it. Because every day that people sit to eat alone in our restaurant, and every time we see a returning customer, that is what makes us wake up every day at 5:30am and do it all over again, six of seven days a week. We are constantly humbled by our journey.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur?: I think we love being able to exercise our creative abilities and to share the lightness, love, and benefits of eating the food that we create. It truly amps me up when people ask us what certain foods are, where they came from, and why they will benefit you. I preach daily about the benefits of eating well and mindfully, and love sharing that with people. And I truly love that it’s what I get to do every day. Kiersten and her creativity in the kitchen is unlike anything I've seen. She makes vegan look and taste good. I’m all about the plants, but I think a lot of people can agree, that is not an easy task. Me, I live for making acai bowls (so, so pretty they are) and smoothies, and being able to handle all of our marketing and making food look and taste good. We simply just love it, on the good and bad days.
Please provide in additional information that you would like to share here: Love what you do. Do what you love. And do it all with so, so, so much love it makes your eyes tear and your heart light. That's what we do, and we're so grateful that we do.
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