Throwing a party isn’t what it used to be and, in the process, it’s even been spiced up, thanks to Nikki Gilbert. She throws sushi-making parties and provides catering for corporate and private functions.
Although Nikki Gilbert’s ethnic background is Greek-German-Polish-Jewish, she has loved Asian food since the age of 6 and waited tables at a Japanese restaurant while in high school. During college Nikki worked at a sushi bar, where she used to ask the sushi chefs for lessons. “I’d go home and bring in what I made, and they would laugh at me,” she says. With her dream of becoming an entrepreneur and the idea that anyone can enjoy making sushi for themselves, Sushi Girl was born in 1998.
What gives your business an edge?
GILBERT: I like to think of myself as the perfect bridge between the two cultures. Because I am an American/westerner I feel that I have a better understanding of what westerners want to experience in a sushi class and/or party. And because I lived in Japan for many years (and for many years before that worked in authentic Japanese restaurants), I bring authenticity to my clients’ sushi experiences. Furthermore, I really love Japan, its food, its culture and its aesthetic style. With every event, I am sharing the things that I love and the experiences from my life in Japan. Because of that, there is real legitimacy to what I do, and I believe that comes through to my clients.
What tips can you give others who want to embrace their dream, but don’t feel they have the confidence to move forward?
GILBERT: First, make sure you really understand what your dream is. Some people think their dream is to have their own business when actually they dream of not having to be tied down by a job. I am living my dream but, make no mistake, I am still tied down.
Second, take baby steps. Make sure you are comfortable with generating income out of thin air before you give up that paycheck.
Third (and probably the most important), envision the worst-case scenario and determine that if that were to occur, would you still be glad you took your shot?
Photo by Sushi Girl.
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