By Diana Garcia
Meet Kela Hunte, a.k.a. Chef Keii, founder of Keii Brands, Incorporated. Kela’s small business journey began as a necessity after her oldest son suffered an accident that caused a brain injury. At that time Kela worked full-time as a project manager but had to pivot her role to become a full-time primary caregiver. To make ends meet, she began to sell desserts to local schools and regional resorts. Her start-up business began to grow and expand and is now a corporation: Keii Brands, Inc. Under her corporation, Kela runs 4 LLCs: Keii Desserts for custom mixed desserts and regional hospitality deliveries; Keii Entertainment team-building workshops and cooking classes, both virtual and on-site; Keii Apparel for logo aprons and kitchen related products; and Keii C.U.T.S 4 Kids, a nonprofit arm with the goal of empowering creativity for foster kids by creating recipes guided in instruction by Chef Keii.
Kela shares her experience as a business owner and how EGBI can help you grow your business too.
Hi Kela! To get started, would you mind telling us a fun fact about yourself?
In 2020, I was a contestant on Food Network’s “Bake Away Camp with Martha Stewart.” I didn’t win the competition, but I conjured up a winning idea to create a virtual team-building baking business.
What makes your business unique?
Catering by mail is a niche business-to-business market, and I consider myself an innovator in offering all-inclusive partial baking and meal kits with virtual instruction. Tech companies, in particular, hire me for team-building virtual events. I’ve worked with eBay, PayPal, Apple, and more companies. Most recently, I created a series of videos with my instruction for each segment of a Freedom Meal in response to Black History Month. Hundreds of boxes were shipped globally to team members of a large corporation, and all they had to do was scan a QR code to view each cooking segment on YouTube. These videos made the process easier to accommodate the various time zones.
What are some obstacles you feel like you have encountered in starting or growing your business? How did you overcome this?
Finding the perfect team is the biggest obstacle in any business, but my team is growing, and my status has changed from an independent contractor to CEO. Running a corporation is all-encompassing and I’m constantly mulling over ways I can bring value to my employees, community, clients, and culture. My business continues to grow and evolve, and with this, I am on a continuing education path. Seeking out programs like EGBI is one example of how I can propel forward with the growth of my business.
“EGBI helps people become the version of themselves they did not even know they could be.” – Kela Hunte, www.keiibrandS.com
What workshops/business coaching have you done through EGBI?
I have attended a few virtual workshops and EGBI’s Build Your Business Plan series, but my one-on-one business coaching calls with Joni helped me realize I was on the right path to accomplish my dreams and goals.
How has EGBI helped you?
EGBI, in particular Joni, supported me throughout the periods of my business growth. As my mentor, she helped me to focus on my goals and offered me templates and tools to grow my business from an LLC to a corporation. For that, I am grateful. Joni believed in me and my dreams, and at the same time kept me grounded to take those crucial steps to accomplish my goals.
Want to work with EGBI? Contact us to find out how you can get started.