Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
My name is Kristin Klock, I own Root Catering, a boutique style catering company that focuses on custom, seasonal, farm-to-table menus. I grew up in Rochester, attended University of Rochester, and moved to San Francisco for 10 years where I worked as an event planner and later went to culinary school. The business began as Chef k2, a small personal chef business in California, and grew into Root Catering in 2011 when I moved back to Rochester.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
I always knew I wanted to work for myself, the details changed but it was always a constant that I wanted to be my own boss. I usually thought I would end up as a writer until I learned how hard it is for me to sit still all day.
How did you get started? What were some of the difficulties you faced in starting?
I was working as an event planner for a non-profit and I was not happy in my job. My greatest joy each day was coming home and cooking dinner. One day I said to my mother, “I wish I could just cook dinner for a living”. She responded, “Um, I’m pretty sure that IS a job.”
I think the hardest part was just starting. It’s SO EASY to doubt yourself when there is no real business to back it up. Once I got going and the train left the station, there was no time for self-doubt. I had too much to do.
In moments of self-doubt, hardships or failure, how do you build yourself back up?
In elementary school my teacher told me that we learn the most from our mistakes and that thought really resonated with me. Whenever something goes wrong, I try to brush off the feelings of disappointment and quickly find a way to learn from it. We are stronger from learning things the hard way.
What is your best advice to someone just starting out? What advice do you wish someone had said to you?
My advice to someone starting their own business is to just get to work. You can spend a lot of time planning, thinking, organizing, obsessing, worrying, debating, hesitating. JUST GET TO WORK. Do at least one concrete task every single day and one day you’ll wake up and realize you have a business. In the meantime, pretend you are bigger then you are and just go with it. One day the business will match the dream in your head.
Lettering art by Michelle Cavigliano of My Zoe Trope
What inspires you?
A lot of things inspire me. A well made cup of coffee in a good mug. Things perfectly lined up. People who have to make their own jobs because no other job fits. A perfectly organized kitchen.
The way new ideas flow when I’m 24 hours into a vacation. Well made dishware. Attention to detail. People who show no fear. Employees who show up to work and give it everything they’ve got.
What is your favorite part of what you do?
How could I decide? I love so much about what I do!
If I had to pick one thing, I would say watching our events all come together. Some of our weddings are 2 years in the making – 2 years of visions coming to life, menus being tasted and tweaked, staff being trained, lists being made. To watch it come together can be magical. Well, magical with hundreds of hours of work behind it.
I also just really love my staff. They are good people, they show so much heart into their jobs, and we have a blast behind the scenes. It never feels like work when everyone is together.
What do you find most challenging?
The hardest part about starting my own business is letting go. A few years ago we hit the point where I really couldn’t do it all myself. Watching my talented staff run the show without me feels like a parent dropping their kid off at school. The child can’t wait to be independent and the parent gets in the car and cries. I’m so proud of what my team can do without me, but it’s a little sad that they don’t need me anymore.
Name some local creatives that you really admire.
Chara Dow makes incredibly unique and beautiful furniture AND works hard with Root Catering all year long, so she’s pretty much my hero. Kelli Berg of Simply Beautiful Events brings incredible visions to life at her events. Charles Arena’s flowers have brought me to tears they are so stunning. Nate Hodge’s paintings speak to me, he paints how I tend to dream. Kate & Molly at Scratch Bakeshop are talented pastry chefs and have fantastic business sense. And mostly my mother, who showed me beautiful design from a young age, and taught me to always take the extra step when setting the table.