We were lucky enough to secure an interview with the founder of the amazing Kettlebell Kitchen - Carley Jones. Such an incredibly inspiring woman. If you don't know about Kettlebell Kitchen, they exploded onto the scene a few years ago, they offer super healthy, freshly cooked balanced meals. Everything is 'clean' meaning no sugar, processed or preservatives. They use salt, but only Himalayan pink salt and all their meals are nutritionally balanced. (if you haven't tried their food, you need to!!!).
(above photo credit: Cleveland Brady).
So without further ado...... our interview with Carley Jones.
Q1. Do you consider yourself to be an entrepreneur, have you always been one even before you set up Kettlebell Kitchen?
I’ve never ever called myself that, to be honest, I think the word can be overused at times. Someone starts a business and then calls themselves this.
I’ve definitely always been very business-minded and money-hungry from a very early age. I set up my first business when I was just 16, importing watches and selling them! I made enough money to get my first house at 19!
Q2. Did you always plan to set up a business?
Yes, I did, I already owned a call centre but realised I wasn’t passionate about this after working in the industry for over 12 years. I realised I needed to follow my passion for fitness and health. I planned maybe a year before I opened KBK (Kettlebell Kitchen).
Q3. I think in the media we love a success story and brush over the hard times. I know you will have put tons of work into making this business the success it is today - what have been the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome and how did you do it?
This is very hard work, I think I make it look ‘fluffy’ from the outside and on social media but It really isn’t easy. As we are so busy (which is a fantastic thing of course), the challenge is to keep up with it all, bring in people/functions to ease the job load on others such as Events and Catering Manager, Recruitment Manager, Senior Operations Manager and so on.
Q4. What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt on your journey so far?
I have had to learn to take a step back recently. When you start a business you must be obsessed and almost micromanage it. But - you cannot continue in that way otherwise you will drive your staff crazy. Putting in processes such as complaints process so not everyone gets complaints sent to them. I’ve also learned that not everyone you will bring into your business will have the same work ethic, it shocks me the number of people that want that easy life, the amazing job role but don’t want to work for it.
Q5. How do you stay motivated? Do you set goals? If so what are your current goals? Personal/professional?
I stay motivated by waking up with fire in my belly every day. I know I’m over-run with tasks so ensuring I plan my time and days properly is imperative.
My goal is for KBK to be THE healthy eating place in the world, never mind the UK. In 10 years, I want us being a worldwide brand with hundreds of stores.
Q6. What is your daily routine?
Emails in the morning from my home office, I then go off for my day - normally to our HQ but I’m here, there and everywhere all over the place.
Hey, if you fancy giving your morning routine abit of a shake up, check out this blog post '5 Simple Morning Routine Hacks To Try Today'
Q7. Who inspires you?
My business partner Jamie, he is incredible. Whenever I am flustered or stressed, he has this amazing calming aura about him. he’s only a few years older than me but has around 13 businesses, everything he loves or is passionate about. Since coming on board with this crazy KBK Journey, he is really helping me take this to the next levels. I think there is only so much one single person can do before they realise they need someone else!
Q8. What would be the best piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about starting a business?
You HAVE to be passionate about it otherwise you won’t be obsessed with it. You HAVE to be obsessed, you cannot expect it to come easy either!
Also - plan a cash flow before you decide to set up, you need to understand if the cash model works, will it make money? A marketing template on Excel can easily be amended.
Looking for some more inspiring female founder stories? Check out our interview with Supernova Living Co-founder Laura Beckford and how she developed a vegan protein powder loved by international models and celebs alike. 'Laura Beckford, Supernova Protein's Co-Founder on her Organic Vegan Protein Powder'
Q9. What has been the best thing about your success so far? Have you had a ‘pinch me’ moment or anything where you were like ‘this is it, I’ve made it!’
Whenever I meet people, 80% of people seem to know of Kettlebell kitchen. I was on holiday last year and by the pool bar, someone got talking to me. When it came to it - they asked what I did for a living, they were a regular in KBK. That's when I knew we really were getting out there with the brand!
Also being at Bodypower this year, I stood back from our HUGE stand and thought ‘WOW’ last year we had a tiny 6 x 3 stand, this year our footprint is 20 times that size. Very proud moment.
Q10. What's next? Where do you see your vision for Kettlebell Kitchen going?
Roll out all over the UK! We recently acquired SoulmateFood, this now positions us as one of the biggest meal preparation companies in the UK. We will be aiming to be the biggest.
We have also just bought a bakery and re-branded this as ‘The Clean Bakery’ - We have huge plans for this to move products into retail. We now bespoke bake clean bread/buns/cakes/brownies etc to supply our stores but also - take them further afield. We want our new food monster truck to be travelling around to new locations every day on the road, we want a store in every major city by 2020, that was always the original goal but we want them bigger and better.
The above interview was done in 2018 when both Kettlebell and Carley were at the top of their game, everyone in Manchester was talking about the buzz around Kettlebell and more importantly how its female founder had made the business into an overnight success. Not long after this interview, Carley was 'pushed' out of the business and a year later she has finally told her story.
We have amended this blog and added in her latest video interview below. I hope you can tell from the above interview and also the video below, how incredibly passionate, fearless and hardworking this gal is.