BOSS 101: Interview with Karinn Chavarria

In honor of Women's History Month,  we're continuing #BOSS101 interviews every Wednesday throughout the month of March, with some bad@$$ women that are redefining the "B" word. I'm honored to continue this month off with a high school friend, Karinn, who I feel like I've witnessed blossom into this Food and Fitness Boss Lady in such a short time. It's crazy, because social media has allowed me the opportunity to keep in touch with people I may have never had the opportunity otherwise -- Karinn is definitely one of those, since I haven't seen her in over a decade; but I get to stay up to date on all her fun shenanigans via her blogging and social platforms. From Karinn's insta stories to her candid and honest posts, she's definitely someone you should be following for motivation, gymspiration, and a good laugh. Her blog and brand @feedthecurves is definitely on the rise and I'm so glad I was able to catch up with her as she offered up some boss tips on how to lean into your passions, hustle everyday, and live as your most authentic self.

Tell us a little about yourself…

My name is Karinn, I'm from Houston, TX and I'm on a mission to inspire women, minorities like myself and entrepreneurs to do what they love. I consider myself to be a hustler. I've been called that many times and I'm coming to terms with being able to say that myself. But what do I do exactly? For starters, I run a blog and brand called Feed the Curves. I'm also the co-founder of the fitness movement #FindYourSweat. I wear many hats from developing recipes for my blog to  restaurant marketing. I also curate and host events and work with companies for social media content!

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Tell us more about your blog/brand FeedTheCurves & FindYourSweat

Feed the Curves is all about celebrating your body by feeding it what it needs from the inside out. I've been overweight to emaciated and the last thing I'd want someone to do when embarking on a lifestyle change is to feel deprived or lost. So, I found a solution-- to advocate a mindful balance between food, fitness and a social life.  I'm a proponent of moderation and keeping it real so you'll find me posting a healthy meal one day then enjoying tasty libations at the newest restaurant the next.

I recently worked with Whole Foods for #VeganViernes, my weekly dose of vegan recipes, which was a highlight of 2018 so far. I'm not a vegan but I find there to be a disparity of education on the subject amongst blacks and hispanics. You can find me blog about ALL things food/fitness/and social events related on Instagram @feedthecurves. Be on the lookout for my website relaunch!

Find Your Sweat originally started as a hashtag and challenge to encourage women to find a workout that they truly enjoy and inspire them to fall in love or back in love with being active. My partner Cori and I completed 30 consecutive workouts in 30 days to showcase the variety of ways to get active in Houston. We tried everything from jiu-jitsu to samba (Brazilian dance) to boxing then posted about it on our social media channels. We quickly garnered media exposure and the response was far more than we expected and very humbling. We made a commitment to ourselves and to each other and found solace and unity when things got tough. We didn't want FYS to end after the challenge. We wanted women to experience the same camaraderie we did when you work together and not against each other. From that, the idea of hosting empowering events through fitness was born. We now host events in Houston and plan on taking it further! You can find more about our story here and subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming events here!

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Give us a little background on who Karinn is and what aspects of your early adulthood guided you to where you are now.

I'm multi-faceted and very complex to say the least. I've dabbled in so many things and experienced a lot in order to realize my potential and purpose. In college, I worked for a start-up gold trading business located inside of a grocery store. I also worked as a brand ambassador for numerous marketing agencies and events. Working both simultaneously equipped me with knowledge of running a small business, people skills and passion for production. The gold trade proved to be lucrative and soon everyone was buying and selling so the company expanded from 1 store to over 100 in a matter of a couple of years. I was there to see this company grow from conception so I fell even more in love with business. I loved it until they went corporate and I had to follow rules like a dress code haha. I received my degree in Journalism and Global Business but upon graduation my life took a different turn. Instead of pursuing journalism, I moved on a whim to Denver start my own business. At 23, I registered my first LLC and opened my first brick and mortar store in Colorado. Having my own business was great but I was pursuing a trade that my heart wasn't in. I thought that I'd be fulfilled monetarily but I hated it. I promised to never go into something that I'm not wholeheartedly willing to lose sleep for. I moved back to Houston and that's when the soul searching and going back to the drawing board began.

What inspired you to pursue a job outside of the traditional 9-5?

Because of my free-spirited nature I always knew that I didn't belong in one place but in many and I also don't do well with authority, so I knew I had to be my own boss from the beginning. But when I moved back to the H from Denver, I felt experience and tenure was lacking on resume. It was so frustrating getting back into the job market and receiving denials. That's when I really started hating the corporate world. I worked with temp agencies and couldn't find a job that suited my search for creativity and culture. I knew I was capable of anything and nobody would give me a chance. After each rejection, I thought to myself, "Like, y'all have never met me. I'm badass and can do that job just as good as the next person and probably better."

That's when I landed an Account Executive position with the Houston Press. I worked in digital and print sales with mostly restaurants and bars. This position gifted me more insight into business and events so I loved it but I also hated being a slave to the clock. When I got laid off, that added more fuel to the fire. I felt like a number, so I started thinking how I could turn my passions into a profession. I used my work experience from college and the short stint at the press to reinvent my life and say no-more to the traditional 9-5.

What is the craziest thing you've ever done to get a lunch/calendar meeting with someone?

I needed to find the owner of a bar and he was not reachable via phone. So I decided to become a bar fly and just hang out for a week until he showed up lol. I became a regular.

How important is networking and relationships when it comes to your brand/business?

You've probably heard that your network is your net worth which I can attest to. Networking is so important to your business because it gives you access to a pool of opportunity and can help you form incredible relationships. Relationships and how you nurture them are just as important. I believe having a good reputation will set you apart so be the person that you'd want to work with or for when shaking hands.

What’s one piece of advice you have for women that want to pursue a career outside of the traditional 9-5?

Be passionate about your idea and believe in yourself. The three P's of success are Passion, Persistence, and Patience.

What inspires you?

My mother's valiant and beautiful story of being an immigrant and achieving the American Dream. She moved to the U.S. from another country to live a better life. She had two children and my father left us when we were toddlers. She'd scrub toilets in order to ensure food was on the table. She built her own janitorial business. Wanting to leave that laborious industry, she sought out new opportunities. She then became the Director of Operations for a multi-million dollar company THEN opened up her own business. My mom is a self-made boss and didn't even have the resources that we have now (or know English!). She is my hero and everything I could have asked for when God blessed me with a mother. She is the reason I'm inspired by women and minorities.

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What Challenges have you faced as a woman in your field? Specifically, what challenges have you faced as a minority woman? -- if any?

I haven't personally experienced gender-bias in the blogging field because it is comprised of mostly women. However, this "crowded" space of female influencers can tend to be competitive. I hate to say it, but you'll meet some inauthentic people along the way who only have their best interest in mind. I don't view this as a big challenge though, I view it as unfortunate human nature and personality disorders hahaha.  

When trying to build your brand and expand your outreach, what components do you find most valuable?

I'd say figuring out your niche is highly valuable. You have to target the right audience to create content that connects and receive reciprocation. Without knowing these things, getting traction and engagement will be difficult. Once you have a niche, people view you as an expert in that field so you naturally gain a loyal readership/following. When you do attain this, asking for feedback from time to time is a good idea (ie. what would you like to see more of, how can I improve, how was your experience etc.).

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When we embark on a journey of building any sort of business, we imagine it going a particular way. How do you deal with inevitable disappointments?

Inevitable disappointments should be a part of the business plan. If you painted a pretty picture of your business and how it's supposed to be, let me be the first to tell you that you're in for a rude awakening. What you do with mistakes and disappointments is learn from them. Use them to strengthen your character and be constructive not destructive. Your setbacks and how you overcome them is what makes your journey that much sweeter and better. With the faith of a mustard seed and the strength of a bull, there's nothing that can stop you.

What Quote do you live by?

“A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once." - William Shakespeare

Not the most conventional or modern quote but indeed one of my all time favorites about courage and nobility. A coward has died so many times from not taking risks or standing up for what they believe in, thus dying inside numerous times before their actual death. The courageous only experience death once because they face the challenges and calamities that life throws at them.

What tips do you have for others working to be noticed by brands/partners?

Being authentic and yourself is what can set you apart. You can find me cussing, twerking, then I'm interviewing a restaurant owner. I never felt the need to be cookie cutter because it's not who I am. I'd like to think that brands like authenticity.

How do you redefine the B Word/What’s your Boss Word?

Bold- Bold are those who take risks and get to where they need to be regardless of circumstance. Be bold in your word, your presence, your conviction. I believe that bold women rule the world.

Any parting words for the #BossTribe?

Don't compare yourself to someone else and don't give yourself excuses. Excuses and comparisons has killed many dreams. I know it can be daunting to take a risk but face your fear and do it anyways, pave your own road of success. You're never too old or too late in the game so start now! As I like to say, one persons chapter 27 is another's first page.