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How She Got There: Kim Lewis, Co-Founder & CEO of CurlMix


Name: Kim Lewis
Age: 25
Job Title & Description: Co-Founder & CEO of CurlMix
College Major: Business – Double Major in Logistics & Marketing
Website: CurlMix.com
Twitter Handle: @CurlMix
Instagram Handle:@CurlMix

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

Kim Lewis: There is no such thing as a typical day, but that’s the love/hate relationship with being an entrepreneur. It’s wonderful to have a new project every day, and being the lead on it, but some days, I wish I had just a bit of monotony and consistency. I sometimes envy my friends who are off of work after 5pm, when I know I have to work 14 hours expos over the weekend. But then they envy my freedom and control of my life, so it’s a double-edged sword.

Despite the unpredictability of my day, my weeks are pretty consistent. From week to week, I usually converse with our Customer Service Manager. She can pretty much handle everything on her own, but the big issues are usually discussed with me. Then I check on our Facebook Ads, I’ll delete low performing ads or try a new style. A few times a week I’ll write detailed emails to our mailing list and/or a blog post about what’s to come from CurlMix. I’ll schedule fulfillment of our CurlMix boxes for that month. I order materials to replenish what’s out of stock. I update our website and listen to Marketing podcasts to improve my skills. I also generally cook once a day. I prepare for the launch of next month’s CurlMix and I converse with our bet CurlMix customers in our private Facebook group. Oh, and occasionally I scroll down my timeline on Facebook & Twitter. At the end of the day I’ll catch up on some self-care with a long bath with bath bombs, wine, candles, and a good TV show.

What is the best part of your job?

KL: Easy, talking to my customers in our Facebook group. #1 I’m an extrovert, I absolutely LOVE talking to people. #2 My customers are my favorite people. There’s this strange bond I have with many of them, and I have hardly met any of them in person. So naturally, I truly enjoy our CurlMix chats about what they loved or didn’t like about a recipe. They truly inspire me to keep going on days I feel like quitting, and they have no idea how much their love means to me.

What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?

KL: I was a District Manager in Training for ALDI. I got it by interviewing on campus at U of I. I hated it. It wasn’t a good first job for my personality type. I was only there 3 months and on the way to a meeting, I got lost, cried my eyes out, called my husband to tell him I wanted to quit, and went home. Sometimes, I would hide at work and cry, out of my disdain for the job. My manager was a pain, the coworkers there gossiped about me to my manager, I was working 80 hours a week, and it was the MOST conservative place to work. I’m not just making that up. It was rated as one of the most conservative places to work in America on Glassdoor.com. For someone like me, an extrovert, fun, free thinker, and idealist, it made me feel smothered.

What words of wisdom (well-known quotes, an anecdote from your boss) do you find most valuable?

KL: My first real job only lasted for 3 months, so these words aren’t from my boss, but rather mentors along my entrepreneurial journey. “Stalk your competitors”. If they are doing something you aren’t you might be missing something, but if they copy you, you’re ahead of the game.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

KL: I started my first business solely out of passion and interest, without a revenue model. I learned that niche social networks don’t make very much money and never start a business without a way to make money, or else it's just a hobby.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

KL: Being on stage and pitching to thousands of people, oh and quadrupling revenue in the month of December 2016.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

KL: This may sound unorthodox but I usually look for someone who already has a side hustle. Someone who blogs, does social media, does photography, something. If you have a side hustle or if you’re pursuing entrepreneurship, that tells me that you are a self-starter. I don’t need to micromanage you because you micromanage yourself. I don’t hire people who don’t have something else going on outside of work.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

KL: Find a side hustle, something you’re known for, and figure out how to make money doing it. If you can’t successfully run a side hustle, baby sitting, assisting, sewing, creating products etc., you’ll never be able to run a business. Once you’ve got the hustle down, now you can begin building a business. I’m sure you’ll gain the basic skills necessary to start a business.

What's the one thing that's stood out to you the most in a resume?

KL: In business school, I was taught that a resume shouldn’t have any color or graphics. It should only contain text. That’s the boring and corporate professional way to do things. However, the resumes that stood out had colorful formatting for highlighting their skills and abilities. I thought that was pretty neat because I was able to quickly identify and remember their strengths. Clearly, this candidate had a creative eye. It wasn’t too much but it was enough to make me want to invite them to interview.

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