Happy World Refugee Day! My heroine this month is a mother and an entrepreneur who helps refugee women in Dallas to make an honest living by sewing little girls' clothes. No matter who you are and where you are, you can make a difference!Read More
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I'm super excited about this month's heroine. She is a dear friend of mine who seems to know just the right thing to say at the right time. She founded this community called Openseat, press play and watch the video before you read this article :) https://youtu.be/EVF9wkmzj54
She is a queen in the her own right, a storyteller, a speaker, and most of all she is a wife and a mom. This is Queen K. Smith :)
You describe yourself as a story teller. How did you get into it? Why are you so passionate about it?
I grew up in a very community centered culture in Cameroon, West Africa. We must have coined the phrase, "it takes a village to raise a child,'' lol! One of my fondest memories was when the whole family, 18+ of us (yep you read that correctly!), would gather around the fireside and listen to stories from the elders. My father was an incredible story teller; I guess you can say like father like daughter. I remember being captivated by stories at a young age. Those stories allowed me to time travel, and every time a story was told I felt something different. It didn't matter if I had heard the story before. I pulled courage and inspiration from the moments shared.
During some of the stories I held my breath during the conflict and exhaled when hope was about to break through! Now as an adult nothing has changed. I still marvel at people and their stories and I still love eating with people I meet. I want to know where they have been/where are they now/ and where they are going. As a story teller I get to take you on a journey (without paying for airfare lol).
A lot of people write stories, but not many are good in telling them. What makes the two so different?
I know some amazing story tellers, I honestly think everyone I encounter is a story teller. When I do I share, I do so with intention to build and not to destroy. A good story in the wrong environment does not accomplish anything. A great story teller paints a visual picture that will not appear if he/she is disconnected from their audience and merely just sharing an experience.
Do you personally feel like stories could make an impact in people's lives? How has it helped you personally?
Girl yes! Stories are up there with chicken tacos with avocado! Stories help encourage, reveal, teach, to pass knowledge and they help us other understand others. I have personally learned from other people's story to avoid mistakes. I have personally helped others uncover their story and their core. Stories often times bring clarity and wisdom.
To you personally, what makes a good story?
Truth and Authenticity makes a great story. The key is to not make your story look like someone else's.
You are a mom. Have you always wanted to be one?
Always!! I come from a huge family and I have dreamed about having a football team as well, jk. We have a beautiful 2 year daughter that I prayed for. I think she looks like me, that’s my story and I am sticking to it lol. Everyone thinks that she looks like her dad. I love my family.
Do you tell stories to your daughter? If yes, what's her favorite story?
I sure do and I go all out. She is two and I can already see in her eyes that she thinks I am dramatic. She has the beginner's bible with stories about Jesus for children; we thought that was perfect for her to learn about Jesus, the ultimate story teller.
The cool thing is that most of the stories are the miracles Jesus performed, I want her to dream big. She loves all those stories.
If people want to listen to your stories, where should they go?
I get to do Story Telling at our Open Seat Community and different conferences/events. One upcoming event in particular will be at the Miss Africa Texas Pageant this Saturday in Plano, TX. I also have a YouTube channel under the name, Queen K Smith. I have some upcoming stuff that I am going to doing specifically geared towards stories. Be on the lookout, you may visit my website and subscribe for upcoming activities and events.
Although I enjoy writing about my life and the fun things I do with my family, I miss writing about other people. After a thoughtful consideration and a little survey that I did with my readers, I have decided to revamp this section on my blog that has inspired many people since I first started it : Monthly Heroines! I don't know about you but I think our generation craves for the right people to look up to. So when I thought of who to feature on my 'comeback' edition, I thought of this girlboss that I've admired for a while, Kari Crowe, the owner of Melt Ice Creams and Motor Sisters Ice Cream.
Read it, be inspired, share it, and happy national ice cream month!
You are not a chef, you didn't have any experience in running your own ice cream parlors before, so what got you into opening Melt?
I had a passion for the food industry! I had been freelancing and photographing chefs, restaurants and food for a few years and when I started looking for a career change I really wanted an opportunity to add value to our community. Ice cream seemed the perfect fit for my community, it met my desire to stay creative and my excitement to build a business. The hot weather season that is so significantly long in Texas definitely creates opportunities for adding value with frozen treats.
Why ice cream (a seasonal business), and not a coffeeshop (people drink coffee year-round, at anytime of the day now) or anything of that nature? Watch the video to find out (and don't forget to subscribe! :)
After opening Melt, have you ever thought, "This was not a good idea"? What kept you going?
Opening a food business is no small feat, in my opinion it gets romanticized a little too often. It’s hard grueling hours, and there’s no magic formula to make it successful. I think as a business owner you always work through trying times and difficult seasons but how you respond, adapt and improve is what really matters. We make mistakes, our employees make mistakes but the value for us is taking those mistakes and turning them into opportunities to learn to be better, smarter and stronger for our customers and the future of our business.
I think what keeps me going is learning to let go of things out of my control and improving the things that are in my control. Building a culture and a team that understands our vision and the future of the company keeps everyone moving forward!
I read on your blog, that your husband quit his job last year. As a wife,were you panicked at all? What encouraged you guys to stick with Melt and go all in for this business together?
It was a very calculated decision that we planned for and he kept great relationships with his industry peers. Mark coming on board brought a wave of leadership and dedication to push the organization to new strategic growth. We have such different strengths that we can play off of and I’m so grateful for that.
What is the biggest lesson you've learned about opening/running your own business so far?
I don’t know if I can narrow it down to one. There are so many small things we learn every day and every week about business. I would probably say...
the most impactful thing I’ve learned is to always keep learning, never settle.
Any advice for my readers who might want to open their own business in the near future?
Dive into researching and understanding your market, your customer, and your product. The more knowledge you have up front, the less surprise you’ll have when you launch!
Anything exciting coming up for Melt and Motor Sisters that you'd like to share?
Moving MELT was a big feat and our grand re-opening last weekend was amazing, our team and our customers rallied support. It was beautiful to be a part of! The new shop (1201 W Magnolia Ave #115, Fort Worth, TX, opens Tue-Thurs & Sun 12 pm – 10 pm and Fri-Sun 12 pm – 11 pm) allows us more production space, a larger patio and a larger parking lot as well as extended summer hours! We now have additional permanent flavors, seasonal cone pairings and seasonal sundaes! Coming up, we have Christmas in July, one our most beloved days of the year. We will celebrate this mid-year holiday with all things Christmas-related on July 23, you don’t want to miss it!
I’m proud of Motor Sisters in Dallas because the brand embodies women empowerment and the ice cream offerings are fun and funky! Have you had the Amelia Earhart? It’s a combo of salty and sweet, crushed pretzels, crunchy peanuts and lots of nutella sauce! The Truck Yard is such a fun and eclectic place to be a part of!
What are your all-time favorite ice cream flavors?
This is a tough question! I have loved a lot of our non-dairy options like Coconut Curry and the Velvet Vegan! But currently the summer sundae is my favorite!!!
I found this mother's blog when I was looking for some inspiration. And to my surprise, she can manage to look so effortlessly good with 4, not 1, but 4 kids running around!!!! Whaaatt....??
With so many activities done during the day, I write in the wee hours of the night, which makes for hard mornings. I keep all random ideas noted in a folder on my phone so no matter where I am, I can document inspiration. Because we all know the best ideas are when we least expect, like when your hands are wet while doing laundry.
Speaking of laundry, while taking care of my 4 kids, I have learned to spend a little time on myself. To forget the laundry, because it'll always be there. I mean, I haven't seen the bottom of my laundry basket in months! Spend a little time on yourself, mothers. On your hair, get a new lip stick, get fitted for a new bra and jeans that actually fit! I've found that the number one problem mom's have is not getting properly fitted and wearing the wrong sizes. No one feels good when frump is going on.
I have always been into fashion. I used to prep all my outfits the night before and devoured fashion mags and pinned looks on boards. The old fashioned way, ha! Now to 'keep up' with it without spending too much money on it, I think it's best to invest in your closet. Namely a good bag and a good pair of shoes. If you follow me on Instagram or my blog you'll notice I use the same pieces over and again. This is because I've learned through trial and error how to shop smart. And what pieces will carry you through the seasons. I blog about this at www.shalicenoel.blogspot.com/costperwear. Feel free to check it our and get inspired!
I'm working with some great companies, a giveaway planned and had a blast modeling Anthropologie's FW line last week. I definitely succumb to baby fever and I'd love to have a 5th kid, but who knows. Because life will never slow down from here or get any crazier?