• Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

Girls in enterprise: Ji Hye Kim


Mar 28, 2023

In honor of Girls’s Historical past Month, The Michigan Every day’s enterprise beat spent the month talking with ladies enterprise house owners all through Ann Arbor about their journey, their connection to the neighborhood and their legacy. Learn the opposite tales right here.

Nestled within the coronary heart of Kerrytown, Miss Kim, an award-winning restaurant operated by Ji Hye Kim, serves conventional Korean delicacies with a up to date twist. Kim opened the restaurant in 2016 as part of Zingerman’s Group of Companies by their Path to Partnership program, which permits anybody, no matter earlier enterprise expertise, to use to both be a part of an current Zingerman’s enterprise as a accomplice or, in Kim’s case, begin their very own. 

Miss Kim is a novel Korean restaurant in additional methods than one. As an illustration, the sliding pay scale enterprise mannequin signifies that prospects can select what to pay for 17 of the restaurant’s hottest dishes, with worth choices starting from free to 1.5 instances the common worth of the dishes. The restaurant was additionally not too long ago concerned in Ann Arbor’s 2023 Restaurant Week, and provides quite a lot of widespread Korean dishes from kimchi to tteokbokki

In her time as a enterprise proprietor, Kim mentioned she has needed to learn to command respect in an trade the place ladies and other people of Colour are underrepresented.

“There have been instances the place the cooks could be employed and (it) could be further difficult as a result of they’re straight male — typically straight, white male — cooks and so they’re used to working in male-dominated kitchens,” Kim mentioned. “They don’t need to take heed to feminine cooks. However on the finish of the day, it’s my kitchen and my enterprise and if they can not respect ladies or a girl boss. In order that’s one other constructive factor about proudly owning a enterprise of your individual — you may create an surroundings that you just your self need to be in.”

Throughout the nation about 60% of eating places shut inside a 12 months after they first open, making it clear that beginning a brand new restaurant isn’t any straightforward activity. Kim mentioned Zingerman’s Path to Partnership program helped present her with the sources she wanted as a brand new enterprise proprietor. Kim began working for Zingerman’s in 2007, after she determined to go away her earlier workplace job and make the leap into the meals trade.  So when she wished to open a restaurant of her personal, she mentioned Zingerman’s helped her navigate all the challenges that got here with that call.

“Being a small enterprise proprietor can be difficult as a result of typically the sources will not be accessible to you, it’s probably not straightforward or low cost to have your individual HR division or authorized recommendation or accounting assist,” Kim mentioned. “I’m fortunate as a result of I can get (that form of) assist by Zingerman’s community. If I weren’t a part of Zingerman’s community, these issues could be very difficult.”

However even with the assist of Zingerman’s Group of Companies, Kim has nonetheless confronted challenges. The loneliness and isolation that accompany being a small enterprise proprietor can take a toll on entrepreneurs, she mentioned, so making a neighborhood of ladies cooks was key to her private success.

“You possibly can usually really feel such as you’re remoted since you’re operating your individual enterprise, however you may treatment that by being part of a neighborhood,” Kim mentioned. “For me, it’s being part of Zingerman’s and connecting with different cooks, particularly ladies of Colour cooks, on this space of Southeast Michigan, but additionally everywhere in the nation and sharing our widespread challenges collectively. That at all times helps.”

When requested if she had any recommendation for fellow ladies entrepreneurs, Kim instructed The Every day what she tells all the feminine workers at Miss Kim: to problem each expectation individuals could have for girls within the kitchen.

“You can not behave like patriarchy expects you to,” Kim mentioned. “Don’t take no for a solution. Work with the group. Be sturdy and converse up and don’t be afraid of leaving (an) surroundings if that’s not the fitting surroundings for you. I feel the quick method to describe it’s, you don’t need to comply with what society has arrange as an expectation for girls.” 

Every day Workers Reporter Mary Corey will be reached at mcorey@umich.edu.

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