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Meet Julie Gordon of Inspiring Kitchen in Chicago

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Gordon.

Julie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in a family where cooking and food brought everyone together. My Mom, grandmothers and aunts are and were wonderful cooks. That love of cooking carried through to me. It’s what I enjoy doing in my free time.

Professionally, my career has been focused on marketing and business development in various industries. I’ve worked on both the agency and corporate side of business using experiential, data driven, direct, digital or traditional marketing techniques to achieve goals. I have always thrived on discovering creative solutions to complicated situations. When I started working with housewares clients, I realized how much I enjoyed being able to educate and promote brands that I really believed in. As a consultative sales person, my style is to educate on the brand to such an extent that the consumer has connected to the products. It resonates with them which makes them decide for themselves to buy the product.

Using Inspiring Kitchen’s website and social media platforms as tools, I am able to help brands connect with a wider market. Whether I am creating recipes for brands, showcasing new ways to use housewares products, sharing culinary experiences (restaurants or events), talking culinary travel, introducing kitchen design products or designs or highlighting trends in the above industries, the opportunity to communicate with those interested is extensive.

Finally, this connection to the food and cooking space opened the door to working with celebrity and local chefs and restaurants. I attend industry trade shows like the International Home and Housewares Show, National Restaurant Show, Sweets and Snacks Expo and design conferences at LuxeHome at the Merchandise Mart.

Ultimately, I was asked by people who heard me talk or asked me for assistance to write down what I know. They wanted to know about my favorite finds whether housewares, food products, restaurants, kitchen design and culinary travel locations. And thus, Inspiring Kitchen was born.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Launching Inspiring Kitchen has been a very fun project. There have been small obstacles along the way but overall, it is exciting to be able to share what I have the pleasure of doing every day in this industry. A couple challenges that I have encountered include the following. Operationally, I wish many times that I would be more technologically savvy than I am. I also wish that I would have more hands to do all that needs to be done. Totally an issue every small business owner has!

As a marketer, my normal inclination would be to create a business plan for the company. But, that wasn’t how I was looking at the purpose of Inspiring Kitchen. By letting the company evolve to areas that are intrinsically connected to the culinary space, I have been able to align food with kitchen design, restaurants and travel. The strategic partnerships that I have spent my professional career building work beautifully here as well.

The biggest obstacle for others was trying to categorize what I was doing and the role that Inspiring Kitchen plays in the marketplace. Once they learned the mission, they jumped on board. In the end, I have loved every opportunity that I have the chance to learn about and share. It’s totally exciting to me!

Please tell us about Inspiring Kitchen.
Inspiring Kitchen is a very niche business. The company started as a means for me to share fun and useful housewares items, cooking tips and tricks, new favorite finds and industry trends with those interested in cooking. Working with housewares brands, attending the International Home and Housewares Show and interacting with celebrity chefs gave me a lot of really good content to share. I had been asked (told!) to write all of this down so many times that I finally did.

Part of my job for my housewares clients is to work in stores to educate customers on the brands I represent. What would soon happen is that customers would realize how much I really knew about products that stores like Williams-Sonoma, Bloomingdales and Crate and Barrel offered that they began asking me to help them replace all their old cooking equipment for what I thought would best suit their cooking style and needs. That expanded to not only their local kitchens but second homes as well. In addition, once they got all the items they wanted for their kitchen, they wanted to learn how to actually use them. So, we did private knife skills and cookware classes, for example, where we would chop and dice and then make a dish. They were able to see first hand how to use these high quality items so that they would feel more comfortable using them on their own.

A very similar service happens with wedding registrants. I began doing custom wedding registries with a final step after their wedding to come to their homes to show them how to use all that they received off their registry. This is very different than walking into a retailer and being given a list of EVERY item in their store to add to the registry. I get to know the couple and their style and then recommend items that meet their needs now and for the future.

As the company has grown, the opportunity to collaborate with home design brands and LuxeHome at The Mart has occurred. A NY based interior designer wanted to work together so we created a blog series on the steps for implementing a kitchen remodel. Sharing trends in home remodel and kitchen design is an exciting direction for Inspiring Kitchen.

In summary, Inspiring Kitchen is a resource for those who are interested in the culinary, housewares, kitchen design and travel space to gather information to make the best decision for their purposes. As a marketing consulting business, the opportunity to work with brands, tourism bureaus, restaurants, and design studios to gain visibility through marketing and sales channels is an exciting partnership. For more information on working with Inspiring Kitchen, please reach out.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I realized that the interest and opportunity is far bigger and wider than I had anticipated. Not only from consumers but from the brands as well. Cooking and entertaining, being able to be educated on products that will help you have a better cooking experience and knowing that education really does give you comfort in your own kitchen makes such a difference.

Don’t limit yourself to one offering when alignments open so many doors.

Starting a business is hard work. Ask for support and then help those coming up after you. It will give you great satisfaction to know you assisted someone in achieving their dream. Have fun!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Ratanya Bowens

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Michelle De La Cerda

    March 12, 2018 at 3:13 am

    Awesome story on an awesome lady.

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