Business Name: Konjo Catering
Your Name: Fetien Gebre-Michael
Business Website? http://www.konjogroup.com
What Year Did You Start Your Business?
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you come to create your business?
My family came to this country from Ethiopia in the late 80’s. My parents are the definition of hard work. They opened up their own businesses and put 12 children through college. I was the eldest daughter and was always prepping and cooking meals for my 8 younger siblings. It was through my family that I acquired a love and passion for cooking. I parlayed that love into an Ethiopian Catering and Events company, the only one in Colorado.
Who was your very first customer and how did you find them?
My very first customer was a friend of a friend. I treat everyone as if they were a part of my family. Great food brings people together and I am so happy that many of my clients have referred me to their friends. It shows me that they not only appreciate my food but my professionalism, too.
What has been the biggest surprise so far after starting your own business?
That I need more money!! I thought I could survive on unicorn kisses and rainbows, but alas I was wrong. I’ve learned that the art of staying in business is to keep up with the ever-changing market. Consumers constantly drive your business. If you don’t keep up, you’re done.
When did you know your business was going to work out?
I’ve had so many ups and downs that at times I thought I was crazy to keep working for myself. I knew that my business was going to work out because of the support I have from not only my friends and family but my community as well. They have embraced me and have honored me with Catering their weddings, social gatherings and business meetings.
What has been your biggest lesson learned in pricing?
That I need to know what things cost in order to not only know what to price things at but to know how many products I need to move in order to sustain myself and to turn a profit.
What does a typical day look like for you from morning until evening?
Goodness, where do I start? Baby starts stirring around 6/6:30 am. Once I’ve got my 11 months old up and ready, I get myself ready and then we have breakfast as daddy heads out to work. Then it’s clear accords town to drop him off to his grandmas. From there I either head to grab supplies or straight to the kitchen, clear across the other side again. In between prepping and cooking I’m stopping to answer calls, return emails, fill lunch orders, take scheduled dinner orders and a slew of other things. Then I head home as daddy and baby are pulling up. We make dinner, feed the baby (sometimes I feed myself) and get him ready for bed. My husband and I have some time together before we both get some more work done on our laptops. If we’re lucky we’re in bed by 10 but it’s usually like 11, uggggh
If you could go back in time, what’s the one thing you would do differently when you were starting your business?
I would have taken the proper steps to make sure I had the proper entity. I began as a sole proprietor and quickly learned that I needed to switch to an LLC to protect myself and my assets.