We had the good fortune of connecting with Wo’se Kofi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wo’se, how do you think about risk?
Growing up I would always be an innovator. Jobs did not come as easy as one may thing, nor did apartments as I would find out much later. I was never taught about taxes and credit scores. Both of my parents started out in the entrepreneurship world, but after they split my moms went to become a full time teacher eventually. My father as an African drummer got gigs with local schools and Universities. Everything was pointing me in the direction of getting a job and stay under employment. The risk I decided to take was to create my own path and allow my talent skills passions and almost business degree to guide me. I wanted to have a product that would open the minds of the people and speaks to the social injustices. I started out reciting raps and poetry at late night events until I realized that there were no healthy vegan options available in the near area nor at that time. Since I had already dabbles in the selling of food with prior employment, that was my calling. I risks many days setting up hoping there would be enough traffic on the street for me to sell out. Mapping out events and where to Pop Up, how much food to make so that I would not be taking any back home. Many times I ventured into other areas and markets that would require me to have certain commercial kitchen permits. Many times I didn’t have to because they simply loved the food. The main risk of starting a sole proprietorship small business in the inner city facing gentrification. I started a family while running this business and have a large following in my community and via social media. Without taking risks , I wouldn’t be, “The PattyMan”.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
With our Sunday Pop Up we have become a community brand pioneer for veganism. When we started there were only one other vegan vendor, and now there are Pop Ups and trucks everywhere. Because we have always been upon health and wellness cooking many of our methods are more refined and geared towards a healthier eating lifestyle. We do a variety and cooked and raw dishes , like soups and salads. Many items are prepackaged easy to grab and go and share with a love one. The community vouches for my brand and we get many orders from organizations in Leimert Park.
It’s always exciting when I see familiar faces like community leaders coming through to one of our Pop Ups. I got to where I am, ready to move into a brick and mortar, by keeping a strong business model and keeping a love and respect to all sentient beings. Being a kind soul that many people can look up too is important, because you build trust. I over came challenges by staying consistent and focussed on providing food to the community I served. It allowed me to stay in business because of the connections built. The lessons I have learned are many. One would be to hire adequate staff and capable ones. Not only that but having specific guidelines and learning how to be clear about what you want.
I am only providing a food option that was not highlighted until very recently. My family was brought up in this traditional style of eating and cooking, using no preservatives and organic farm ingredients. We provide the chance the eat a vegan homestyle cooked meal for the transitioning and full time vegan. We believe every city could have a Baba’s Vegan Cafe for we also believe in hiring local.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Cafe Gratitude Leimert Park Sundays Drum Circle and Market Place
The Grain Cafe
Stuff I Eat (Inglewood)
The Bluff (Yoga),Long Beach
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Kaos Network (Ben Caldwell) , The World Stage, Leimert Park Family, Leimert Park Community, SuprMrkt (Olympia Ausset), VeganOutreach (Gwenna Hunter)