Monday, July 2, 2012

ENTREPRENEURIAL SERIES - Day 15


~Day 15 of the ENTREPRENEURIAL SERIES!!  PLEASE make sure you READ, COMMENT, TAKE NOTES, and SHOW SOME LOVE to the fabulous folks doing awesome things! ~ 
Be Inspired!!!~

This interview is special to me because it is VERY UNIQUE!  It is unlike any of the previous interviews.  It is a little longer than the previous interviews but PLEASE read carefully and BE INSPIRED!

Kimberly Perry, Houston, Texas - "Healthy Habits Co-Op"
Tell the readers a little bit about yourself.
Hello, my name is Kimberly Perry and I was born and raised in Denver, Colorado.  Growing up as a child, I often wondered what if I could grow up and become a super “shero”.  I did not want the itchy tights or the flowing locks of hair; I just wanted to do good things, just like my mother.  Back when I was a kid, I remember seeing my mom rise to the occasion when my aunt passed away and her three girls moved in with us, for a total of six young girls in our household.  Often watching my mom fall asleep while braiding hair, I always wondered what I could do to help her.  This though stuck with me all the way to and through college where I received my B.S.  as a child protection worker.  While in college, I worked at a battered women shelter and my first job out of college was at a children’s group home.  I realized very quickly in life that I was not going to be a super shero, but I could brighten people’s day.
While in college, I met my soul mate Danny Perry and we were married in 1998.  In 2002 my husband, daughter, and I moved from Denver, to Houston where I fell in love with all the wonderful plants, culture and the genuine kindness of Houstonians.  Within one year of moving I opened a custom framing business, which was, a lot of fun but my heart never left social work. 
I begin volunteering with a local produce coop and a couple years later began my own organic produce coop, which has been going strong for the past 4+ years.  In 2011, I began a non-profit with a mission to teach families how to garden without using chemicals.
Explain what type of business you operate?
I currently run a fresh produce cooperative called “Healthy Habits Co-op, in Houston, TX, and I also run a non-profit organization called “Healthy Habits” that teaches families how to garden and grow their own fresh produce.  The produce cooperative distributes fresh fruits and vegetables bi-weekly and operates in a collective manor.  In short, I have gathered a group of families within our community, we all chip in a flat amount and purchase as much local, and organic produce as we can with the funds collected, which gives the members who have chipped in two nice big bags of fresh produce.  However, with over 500 families who have joined within the past four years I cannot accept the credit for introducing everyone to the coop.  In fact, we have never launched a marketing campaign at all.  The vast majority of our members join all based on word of mouth. 
Our newly launched non-profit works hand-in hand with the co-op to accomplish something that has been important to me prior for more than ten years now which is to teach families how to build a garden.  The non-profit has aimed to teach not only children but also entire families how to garden utilizing their backyard.  I chose the backyards of families because it is something that did not require tons of moving pieces, and that family can use it permanently.
How long have you been in business?
Our cooperative has been in business for nearly five years and our non-profit officially begin in January 2012 

How did you get the name for your business?
The name came to me fairly easy, after pondering different names with the Co\Founder.  We chose the word Healthy because we were attempting to provide something healthy to the community and included the word Habit because we wanted those eating practices to become a habit, hence the name “Healthy Habit”.

What motivated you to start this type of business?
I started these two businesses for several reasons.  One of which is because the average age of the Texas farmer is now 59 years old and unfortunately as these farmers retire the younger generation is not replacing them.  With this current trend I was forced to wonder if we as a country will one day have no option but to depend on foreign countries to supply our food, even more important will the skill of farming be lost.  Another reason why I begin this program is because many regions of Houston are notoriously lacking in grocery stores and healthy food choices for residents of the area.  This factor has served to compound the obesity crisis affecting many of our families, and the resulting health issues associated with the consumption of too many non-healthy, processed foods.  The dearth of access to fresh, fruits and vegetables further exacerbates the issues.  (Regina: Your heart is in the same place as First Lady Michelle Obama, she is also big on gardens and fresh fruits and vegetables, and fighting obesity!)
As far as the co-op, it unofficially began in 2008 when my family fell on hard times and affording organic produce became a treat.  While making school lunch for my little girl I found that paying $2 for a box of honeybuns would last all week compare to paying $1 for one Fuji apple that would be gone in a day.  I sat down and with my co\partner and dear friend Michelle Hernandez who has since moved to Chicago we decided to begin a co-op within our community.
The challenge was to find a facility in our community that would allow us to distribute vegetables twice a month and to find 40 families who would participate consistently, and we were blessed to find both.  

What are your top 5 must have business tools/aids?
I LOVE “Google docs”.  I must have my “smart phone”.  Something as basic as “the internet”.  My entire business is run on-line.  I love blogger, and lastly my trusty laptop, the world is not the same without it. (Regina: I agree! Without my internet & laptop... I don't know what I would do!)

Where do you see your business in 5 years?
If the lord says the same.  Five years from now my hope is to have set up a least 100 gardens within the city of Houston.  I see my business inspiring hundreds of families to making eating healthy a habit.  My hope is to earn a good annual income and employ five people on a regular basis to work with me.

What inspires you?
Every spark of goodness all around inspires me.  I am inspired that God shows us mercy every day.  My mother who is my “shero” inspires me.  I am so inspired by my husband’s excitement when I am happy and his unwavering love appreciation, dedication and support.  I am inspired by my teenager’s invincible love, and her smile.  My coop member’s continuous appreciation, all my family who support me unconditionally, and I cannot forget about all the wonderful people I meet in passing, who say kind words and do kind things. (Regina: I definitely understand how family can inspire!

Who is your business icon or who’s business ethic do you admire?
The person I admire the most is my husband Danny Perry.  He has been running his own non-profit called “TechCorps Texas” for ten years now and has helped thousands of families, and especially schools and children.  He works endlessly wearing many hats, grant writing, teaching, and setting up computer labs.  In fact, this summer he offered a water robotics camp to minority middle school age “girls only” at no charge.  How can you not admire that?

If you were standing in front of a room full of hopeful, promising, entrepreneurs what would you say to them?
Do what you love, build on the skills you have and remember to give back.  Respect our beautiful planet, and stop to smell the roses.  Do not lose confidence if something does not succeed, keep trying.  Set competition aside and work on your ideal being the best that you can make it.  Remember to smile, say hello to strangers and forgive.  Finally yet importantly, I would say travel, even if it is across town.  Traveling has a special and unique way to inspire.  
Is there anything you would like to add?
No that is it…..Thanks Regina for caring enough to write about others J


Thank YOU Kimberly for helping others in this way! I hope this interview raises awareness and generates you some donations!


Smooches!
Regina


Please visit my other spots:
http://reginathinks.wordpress.com/
http://reginasoldschoolfridayspot.blogspot.com/

2 People Saying Something!

mema

Great interview. You should send Michelle Obama a copy. Ms. Perry is definately on the right road to great success. I wouldn't be surprised if her work spread outside of Houston. Great job Regina.

Healthy Habits 02 July, 2012 23:34

Thanks Mema....and Regina :0}

My Fort Worth, TX Weather...

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