Like most entrepreneurial stories, Kim Malek’s is “part strategy, part luck, and part love.” After years of working for Fortune 500 companies, Kim had just moved to Portland and was itching to do something different. Her cousin Tyler was thinking of moving to Portland to enroll in culinary school. They started talking about joining forces to make delicious food together.
Well, is there a better place than Portland to make delicious food? And what food is more delicious than ice cream? Since its inception, Salt & Straw has grown from a food cart to three brick-and-mortar ice cream shops, becoming one of Portland’s most beloved institutions. Maybe it’s the quirky flavors, maybe it’s the all-natural ingredients, maybe it’s the unique churn process, but Portlanders just can’t get enough.
As the days are getting warmer and longer, we at OEN have ice cream on our brains. That’s why we invited Kim Malek to speak at our March 12 PubTalk about the opportunities and challenges her wild success has presented. Small-batch, handmade ice cream created from sustainable, natural, local, and organic ingredients is all well and good (we in Portland demand nothing less), but how can this model be expanded without sacrificing the very principles it’s built on?
We asked Kim a few questions to get the conversation started:
What is the best entrepreneurial advice you’ve received?
To not ever take advice! Listen to other’s experiences but create your own path forward.
How can an entrepreneur benefit from hearing your story?
Learn how to follow your dreams and don’t take no for an answer!
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as you’ve expanded Salt & Straw?
Investing in infrastructure to support our growth… it’s scary to spend lots of money as a new, small business.
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
Strawberry Honey Balsamic