Growth & Jobs | COVID leads woman to discover new opportunities in the kitchen
COVID-19 HAS caused numerous job losses, and, for some persons, a cut in salary. However, for Christine Brown, the pandemic has provided an economic opportunity, which has also created employment for her family members, who lost their substantive employment as result of the pandemic.
Brown, who works at Total Credit Services Limited, a member company in The Jamaica National Group, said her source of second income began by accident when she celebrated her birthday in May by cooking for close family members and friends, who dropped by her house for a plate.
“My birthday was the 18th of May, and everyone was on lockdown. You could not go anywhere; therefore, I decided to celebrate at home by cooking, as I love to cook. I made a seafood boil, an assortment of seafood dishes on a platter and seafood soup. A few of my family members came over, and one of my cousins posted a photo of the seafood boil on her WhatsApp messenger; and one of her co-workers said she wanted it, and asked me to do one for her,” she said.
Brown said that that one order sparked an idea, and she told herself, maybe she should start her own catering business.
“I decided to start Khrissy’s Kitchen. I do this on Fridays and Saturdays. I still have my full-time job,” she said.
Brown, who lives in Portmore, St Catherine, delivers meals and encourages kerbside pickup.
She said since she started in May, her business has been doing well, with the orders coming in frequently.
“During the first week, I received 25 orders in all; and the second week, it increased to more than 40; and recently it has moved to 80 orders,” Brown related.
With the increase in orders, she had to seek help from her family members, whom she now employs to assist in filling the orders.
“When the first order came in, I said to myself. ‘This is cool’, but every week the orders increased. Now, I have my brother, who is not working, as he is in the entertainment industry, and his girlfriend, who is from St Mary. Both became unemployed because of the pandemic. I also have my mother, who, although she has her full-time job, assists with the business,” she said.
They all get a full salary. “This is like a blessing, right in this moment. So they are my two primary staff members,” she said, referring to her brother and his girlfriend.
The profit from the business has more than doubled, exceeding her expectations, she informed. Already, she has purchased a deep refrigerator as she needed more storage space.
Most of her clients, mainly corporate persons, are in Kingston and St Mary.
“I have not done any major advertising, other than creating social media pages with the handles @khrissyskitchen on Instagram and @khrissysjakitchen on Facebook, and promotion is mostly word of mouth,” she related.
Brown has big plans for Khrissy’s Kitchen, as she wants to formalise the business by getting a proper location and employing more members of staff.
“I definitely believe that the sky is the limit. It blew me away when I started; however, I believe that God is working and it happens in a time like this (a pandemic),” she maintained.
To financial literacy expert Rose Miller, Khrissy’s Kitchen is an excellent example of how people can emerge and thrive from the pits of a pandemic.
She maintains that with application, losing a job during this period could be a new opportunity rather than a curse, pointing out that persons should explore how they monetise their skills.
“We all have gifts. Try and identify if there is a gift you have which you can use to earn an income. In fact, even while we are employed now, we do need more than one stream of income. Therefore, if we have a gift or talent, the aim should be to monetise that gift or talent to provide or boost your income,” she advised.
Miller, who is also the grants manager at the JN Foundation, said that more persons should be creative and think outside of the box, because there are opportunities and we should find the vision to tap into them.