My name is Charla and I am the founder and owner of a culinary website called That Girl Cooks Healthy. In Early 2014 I decided to make the plunge to set up my very own website. Since I was a little girl I was always obsessed with cooking, often helping my mother and grandmother in the kitchen – a curious child I was. As I transitioned into womanhood I started become more aware of diet and nutrition. Coming from an African-Caribbean heritage where diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and renal ailments are rife, I wanted to revamp the whole concept of Caribbean cuisine. Many people seem to believe that Island cooking has to be traditional even the unhealthy aspects of it. Nowadays many people are suffering from food intolerance which often comprises the cultural upbringing leaving them to feel limited with options. My website is exclusively gluten and dairy free recipes (Caribbean and otherwise) where I teach people how to cook recipes omitting gluten and with using plant based milk. Ultimately the aim is to transfer my skills to others in order to empower them to cook with confidence in the kitchen.
CH: I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur but didn’t quite know how to go about it. I also wanted to do something that I genuinely enjoyed and had a real passion for. There was a time where I was very naive and thought all business owners needed to wear suits and pursue a business within the corporate environment, with that level of thinking and with no one to steer me in the right direction I daren’t not explore this path. It wasn’t until I met some like mindedindividuals that I thought more about working for myself. Also with my love for all things culinary I just knew I had to use this opportunity to market myself.
CH: Presently, my business is intangible, so it’s all based on the internet. HOWEVER…. to answer that question I would say setting up the actual website wasn’t an easy process especially for someone who isn’t computer savvy. Also learning food photography was not and still isn’t easy. People are naturally visually people so food needs to look appealing. This is something that I found very challenging to the point where I shed tears of frustration and finally marketing your brand and exerting your authority was overwhelming in the initial stages.
RB: Who has been the greatest influence on you since starting your venture and why?
CH:My family, people within the same niche and a wonderful lady called Janet Brown. Sometimes the path of being an entrepreneur can be quite lonely at times. Especially if you don’t know anyone outside of cyberspace who share the same long term goal. With the exception of my family the aforementioned that been the most supportive. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have completed so many milestones, so I’m grateful for their support.
RB: What is the vision for your business and where do you see yourself 5 years from now.
CH: In a nutshell the vision is to turn That Girl Cooks Healthy into an established brand where people recognise me. I want to sell meal plans, possibly to consultations, sell cookbook which I’m working on right now and possibly launch my own product.