THAT BROWN GIRL COOKS!￼
RVCDF helped That Brown Girl Cooks! purchase new equipment and expand its business.
Kristi Brown started her catering company, That Brown Girl Cooks! (TBGC!) in 2012, but says it’s more of a food, culture, and community organization. Together with her son, Damon Bomar, they have expanded the business with a line of black-eyed pea hummus sold in major grocers throughout Seattle, pop-up venues and interactive cooking classes.
“We like to call it Culinary Collective,” says Kristi. “TBGC! explores inspirations, melds them with experiences and brings them back to the communities we serve. Debuting a variety of products, events, pop-ups, and classes, we hope to engage and inspire community and connect people with a wholesome, nurturing lifestyle.”
“We strive to make ‘healthy and wholesome’ a spicy and vivacious experience,” adds Kristi. “Our personality shines through our brand. While we are spicy and bold, we are also wholesome and nurturing. These characteristic draw people to our products and culture.”
Like many small businesses eager to expand, Kristi needed working capital, as well as financing to purchase equipment and complete tenant improvements that will support the new equipment.
Working with the director of economic development at SEED Seattle, another RVCDF client, she was advised on relocating her business and searching for financing. She never approached a traditional bank, having heard good things about RVCDF.
“I enjoyed the process,” she said. “There are various aspects of business operations of which I wasn’t aware. RVCDF asked the hard questions in order to make sure we knew the exact purpose of the funding. It’s easy to say that you need money for your small business, but I have found that if your structure doesn’t properly support your desired growth, then you will fail.” While she instituted strategies outlined in her plan, she learned that she had to scale her employment in order to strengthen her business.
Looking ahead, TBGC! hopes to open a restaurant, so will likely need additional funding.
“As the food industry grows, companies look to engage in multiple facets within the culinary industry,” said Kristi. “We have found that while competitors may operate within the restaurant, food truck and grocery spheres, none offer a range of products and services like TBGC! We don’t just produce delicious food, we create the community and culture around it.”