We had the good fortune of connecting with Kathy Phan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kathy, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Most people see risk as something that should be avoided at all cost. They prefer to take the safer route, to more surely secure the outcome. But my take on risk is that it is unavoidable. There will always be some degree of risk in any decision we make. Before I decided whether I should pursue my dream of opening a bakery, I had to weigh the risks of quitting my job and putting my all into opening a bakery. What are the chances I could make it when statistics show that 60% of restaurants fail within the first year, going up to 80% within the first 5 years? I had no previous experience in the restaurant industry and no one but myself to start the business from scratch. But then I weighed the risk of staying in a career that I hated and being unhappy for several more decades just for a secure source of income. I was risking my happiness which I realized I was less willing to lose than money or ego. And as you learn, it is better to take higher risks while you’re young and more likely to recover than when you’re older and it is much more difficult to recover.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
CAKED specializes in a unique variety of cookies and brownies ranging from exotic flavors like ube, taro, and matcha to decadent flavors like slutty brownies, krispy peanut butter marshmallow brownies, and many more. It was not easy to get to where we are today as I had a lot to learn, never having experience in the restaurant industry previously. I learned that doing things commercially was very different from baking for friends and family in my parents’ small kitchen. I learned that there was a lot I didn’t know and that I needed help – which I am not accustomed to. However sometimes, asking for help is the only way to ensure things are done properly and efficiently. I can start a business by myself, but it can’t be truly successful without the help of others!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of my favorite restaurants is Cowboy Star. It is a great place for a little bit of fine dining and delicious steaks! Then depending on where my friend is coming from, I like to introduce them to any exotic foods that they haven’t tried before.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My close friend, Hieu, and his support deserves some credit for believing in me and encouraging me to pursue my dream!