Today we’d like to introduce you to Jess Bowen.
Jess, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I created Kettlebells and Cupcakes, or KBCC for short, because I believe that busy can be healthy, and that thoughtful design can be inspiring. But my path to entrepreneurship has been anything but linear.
I grew up in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and my career aspiration in high school was to get a job where I had to wear heels and walk to important meetings with Starbucks in hand. I didn’t know what I wanted that job to be, I just knew I wanted a “career.” So after my junior year in college, I applied for a summer internship in New York City working for Goldman Sachs. After a successful summer in the City, I was offered a full-time position.
Looking back now, moving away from home and starting my career in such a rigorous environment, was in a way, the start of my entrepreneurial journey. I had taken a big risk and was truly on my own. There was no life-after-college handbook and no mom who could bring me soup when I got sick. There was only to try, fail, and try again. The resilience that experience taught me has stayed with me even to this day.
After six years at Goldman, I was restless, so I spent the next year side hustling in the health and fitness space, my secret passion. In July of 2014, I finally got up the nerve to quit and become a personal trainer at Equinox (my parents were thrilled as you can imagine). The transition was not easy. I went from being a vice president at a prestigious company to handing out towels to sweaty people on treadmills.
The experience was incredibly humbling and also taught me the real meaning of grit and determination (something that is extremely necessary to the entrepreneurial journey).
After 2.5 years at Equinox, I took my personal training and nutrition coaching business private and bought the domain, www.kettlebellsandcupcakes.com. I chose this name because I strongly believe in a balanced approach to health and fitness. I don’t know any modern woman who isn’t balancing at least three or four different demanding life roles, and extreme health and fitness trends are not only confusing and complex, they are completely unrealistic long-term.
While KBCC has evolved over the years, our mission of creating solutions that promote balance has stayed the same.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has certainly not been all roses and rainbows! The learning curve of entering a new field or new type of business can be incredibly daunting. So for me, transitioning from finance to fitness was much harder than I anticipated. And when I decided I was ready to start my own business, I had no clue how to build a website, or create a company.
This initial “where do I even start” phase can feel debilitating. I also had no prior experience in the packaged goods industry, or in creating a product from scratch (including designing the labels). To my surprise, I discovered that you don’t simply put the powder in a jar and sell it… there are about 346 hoops and hurdles you have to get through first. I also learned that no doesn’t always mean no.
Glass packaging and high-quality ingredients were really important to me, but I was initially told it wasn’t possible. I’ve learned to keep asking questions, keep seeking out additional opinions, and keep moving forward, no matter how slow the progress feels.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Kettlebells and Cupcakes – what should we know?
Kettlebells and Cupcakes was founded on the simple idea that sustainable, healthy living should be convenient, inspiring, and delicious. The over-complication of what it means to be “healthy,” especially in the modern era of Google and social media, drives me crazy.
We create simple solutions that help busy women stay on track with ease, even during the chaos of everyday life. We started with protein because most women are deficient.
This isn’t necessarily on purpose, we just tend to prefer less meat, quick sources aren’t always available (especially at the office), and work, kids, and caring for the home tend to take priority. But simply consuming enough protein each day can have a profoundly positive impact on weight management, healthy hair, skin, and nails, and on gut health (a trend I noticed after logging well over 1,000 hours of 1-on-1 training sessions).
So even if you are on-the-go, or are too tired to cook dinner after a long day, our protein powders will help you nourish your body with little effort. We also believe that packaging matters and that opting for superior ingredients shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice on storage safety or chic modern style. I am incredibly proud of our simple ingredients and eco-friendly packaging.
Our jars are not only a beautiful edition to your kitchen counter (and if it’s not hiding in the back of your pantry, you are more likely to use it), they can be repurposed in many different ways around the house, cutting back on plastic waste.
This company would not exist if it were not for many bold women who created badass companies before us. We want to keep that cycle going and empower the future generation of girls from all walks of life. A portion of our proceeds goes to support Girls, Inc.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are so many people to thank! (I feel like I’m at the Oscars) It feels cheesy to start with my Mom, but she’s always been a strong supporter, and I appreciate the many phone pep-talks she’s given me (thanks Mom!).
I have to credit my boyfriend, Sean, next. KBCC is my first truly creative venture, and it’s very different from the logical world of finance. He’s been instrumental in helping me develop and navigate through the daunting-but-rewarding world of creativity that comes with running a business and bringing something to life.
My friends are my sanity, and I truly appreciate every phone call, text, visit and coffee date (you know who you are). I wouldn’t be doing what I do without you.
And lastly, I have to credit all of the talented, intelligent and hard-working people I met while working at Goldman and Equinox. I can confidently say that I would not be where I am today without all of the honest feedback (both positive and negative), the helping (or forcing) me to get out of my comfort zone, and for supporting and encouraging my crazy ideas.
- Our Organic Vegan Chocolate and Vanilla Protein Powders are $42. We sourced a high-quality pea and chia seed protein powder so that you aren’t left with that awful chalky texture.
- Our Unflavored Collagen Powder is $34 and will last you a full month! It will easily dissolve into your morning coffee or tea and has no taste whatsoever. Coffee with benefits? Yes, please!
- Website: https://shopkbcc.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shopkbcc/