After Four Years of Perfecting Her Chocolate Craft, She Created Her Own Chocolate Company – Kate Weiser Chocolate. An Interview With Entrepreneur & CEO Kate Weiser.
Q: Did you know you would become an entrepreneur and start your own business?
KW: I knew it was something that I eventually wanted to do. Growing up, my dad owned his own business, so it was engrained in me from a young age to be your own boss. I did not expect to start that journey so early in life, but when the opportunity came, I grabbed it.
Q: What has surprised you about business ownership?
KW: How humbling the experience can be and also how much I rely on other people to keep this company growing. In the beginning, everything comes down to you as the owner, but as you grow, you realize the value that others can add to your business. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and have gotten more and more comfortable admitting those mistakes to my leadership team which I think has helped me grow as a leader.
Q: Were there moments in your career that were pivotal to getting where you are today?
KW: Absolutely. Mostly those moments were just about saying “yes” when I was full of fear. All of those scary, unsure moments led me here.
Q: What are the best practices you have employed to build a successful career?
KW: Be open to new ideas that aren’t yours. Treat your people with respect. Be a service leader – always ask what your staff needs from you in order to do their job well. Focus on growth and how you can reinvest in your business.
Q: What is it about your job that most excites you?
KW: The endless possibilities and opportunities around the corner. Seeing the growth year after year and looking back at where we started keeps me going and keeps my energy up.
Q: What's your advice for women in male-dominated fields?
KW: Block out the noise and keep going. Advice is free and everyone will want to give it to you, but you have to listen to your gut on what’s best for your business.
Q: What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
KW: Fear of failure, for sure. I’m more scared of failure now than I was in the beginning because I feel like I have more to lose now. The key is to not let that fear stop you from experimenting and trying risky things.
Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments your career?
KW: Opening Day of my first brick and motor location. The night before, I had a dream that no one showed up. We ended up having a line out the door and had to stay open two hours past closing. I was in total shock.
Q: After high school, where did you feel your career path would take you?
KW: I was sure that I would work my way up in high end restaurants. I loved working on the line and wanted to be a distinguished pastry chef working at some amazing restaurant in New York.
Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance?
KW: Hire amazing leaders, trust them, and let go of total control. Micromanaging can chain you to your business. If you trust your leadership team to make the right decisions, then you are free to have a fulfilling life outside of work.
Going through 2020 with all its Covid struggles really put that into perspective and I now preach to my leaders the importance of taking time off when they can and maintaining a life outside of this place. The happier they are in life, the more likely they will stay. I always tell them, at the end of the day, it’s just chocolate.
Q: What would be the title of your autobiography?
KW: Well That Worked Out! – A Guide to Eternal Optimism in the Face of Fear.
25 Things About Kate Weiser
1. What's your favorite family tradition?
Melting a Carl, the Snowman on Christmas Eve
2. What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?
3. What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
Have our friends over and drink wine on our back porch.
4. What was the last book you really got into?
I like to read thrillers for fun. I’m mostly into podcasts – I LOVE “How I Built This” which interviews entrepreneur about their failures and successes. It’s fascinating.
5. What’s the most amazing adventures have you’ve ever been on?
I went to a cacao plantation in Ecuador that was amazing. I also went on a tour of Europe by myself which was incredible and kind of scary – I highly recommend traveling alone. You really find yourself.
6. What’s your favorite international food?
7. What’s your favorite app on your phone?
My Podcast app.
8. Best and worst flavor ice cream?
Best – Mint Chip, Worst – I think that’s a trick question. There are no bad ice creams.
9. What TV shows did you watch when you were a kid?
Fresh Prince and all the TGIF shows.
10. What’s your favorite quote or saying?
‘Robbing Peter to Pay Paul’ – we say that a lot at work when we are moving product around from store to store during the Holidays in an attempt not to sell out anywhere.
11. If you unexpectedly won $10,000, what would you spend it on?
A REALLY fun weekend in Vegas:)
My husband would probably advise me to just save it though, ha-ha. He’s the voice of reason.
12. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I was a night owl, but now I really like getting things done in the morning
13. What would your perfect vacation look like?
A great balance of planned activities, adventures, and R&R. And of course – great food and wine … and maybe some Blackjack gambling for funzies.
14. Favorite Dessert?
Cookies – all kinds of cookies. Crunchy, soft, chewy, it doesn’t matter.
15. Do you read reviews, or just go with your gut?
The best reviews are the constructive kind where we can implement real change. It’s very important that we listen to our customers about their experience.
16. What’s your big passion?
My new hubby and our baby boy coming this January)
17. What’s your signature drink?
18. What would you sing at Karaoke night?
No Doubt’s greatest hits
19. What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play?
I’m not into watching sports but I love playing ping pong! That’s a sport, right?
20. Have you ever met anyone famous? Who?
I watched famous people eat from afar when I was the pastry chef at Nobu, but I don’t think I actually met any of them.
21. Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest?
Taste for sure. My eyesight is getting worse with age.
22. If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
23. What were you like in high school?
I was pretty shy in high school. I didn’t want to raise my hand in class. I had a few close friends who really knew me, and I could be my loud, goofy self around. I never skipped class or homework assignments. I hated being late. I played basketball and doubles’ tennis. I didn’t really come out of my shell until I started working in a restaurant as a server after I graduated.
24. Would you rather cook or order in?
25. Cake or pie?
Why are you making me choose between my two favorite things??? Ok, Pie.