Equity Spotlight: Meet Kushinda Little, Founder of Yummy Honey Co.
EquityCoin’s Director of Community Engagement, Michael McConnell, had the pleasure of sitting down with Kushinda Little, owner of Yummy Honey Co. to discuss the triumphs and challenges of being an entrepreneur in the 21st century. Listen to the interview on Youtube or check out the transcribed version below.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your company?
A: The name of my company is Yummy Honey Co, and I established the brand in 2020. It is a black owned kosher honey business, and I have five different honeys that the bees pollinate. Wildflower, which is good for your seasonal allergies throughout the whole entire year, helps with congestion and soothes sore throats.
Then I have a California buckwheat that’s also good for allergies and has a property in it that’s called rutin, which helps strengthen your blood vessels – it’s really good for people who are anemic.
Then, I have my custom blend, which has antibacterial and anti-microbial properties, so it’s a really good healing honey for topical use. If you have any cuts or bruises, it’ll actually help heal your wounds. It’s also really good for cooking – think chicken wings, salmon, brussels sprouts, prosciutto, or the charcuterie boards with meat, cheese and crackers; it goes excellent with that.
Then I have Orange Blossom, which comes from the orange tree, so it has more of a citrus note, which is really good for anxiety and headaches. Also good for your teas and your Greek yogurt and smoothies.
And then the last one that I have is a West Coast Coriander. Coriander is known as a memory stimulant, which I think everyone kind of needs help with sometimes because we do forget things. It also has less than 2% sugar content, which is good for people who are a diabetic or have low blood sugar.
All of the honey that I produce is locally based out of the Northern part of California. I’m a member of the California Beekeeper Association, which focuses on supporting local beekeepers, making sure that the laws stay intact. A lot of the honey that you see in stores is not actually real honey. So, when you look at honey and how it drips, if it drips very slow and kind of like melted plastic, that’s the indication. And then also the colorway, obviously, honey has different hues as well. You can tell the difference. Also, honey is supposed to have a smell. So, for example, my orange blossom smells like an orange tree. It has a citrus note. My coriander actually smells like licorice. And then the wildflower also has a floral scent.
When I started this company, I just thought it was really important that we save the bees. I do think it’s important that we understand our impact as far as humans in terms of why bees are important, because they produce over 80% of the world’s agriculture. So, sometimes I’ve had debates with people who are vegetarian, when they talk about they don’t eat bee byproducts but technically you are eating a byproduct from a bee because the byproduct is actually fruits, vegetables and herbs. Bees help with our ecosystem, and usually we as humans think “bees or bugs” or anything that is not intelligent in terms of human thought that they don’t play a huge role into if they become extinct. That’s kind of the gist of why I started it and why it was so important to promote saving the bees and especially educating people of color on food, food safety and actually growing your own food as well.
Q: I love that! And the next question, what is your passion and how has it led to the development of this business?
A: As a child, my passion was always about community and bringing people together. I was always the “weird kid” or the artistic child growing up. I was one of the ones that were kind of outside of the box per say. I was in the music and fashion industry and I’ve always had this sense of community, never trying to be in competition with people that I work with, always trying to either have interns. This might be because I used to teach at Brooklyn College one time and I used to teach pattern making and garment construction. I just had this ever-burning desire to learn from people that I either looked up to or helped me along my way. I kind of transferred that down to the youth or the “community”. My passion has always been bringing people together and actually letting them feel comfortable with their intrinsic values.
We all come from different walks of life. We all have different types of upbringing. But at the end of the day, when we first meet each other, we’re kind of both walking into each other’s lives. When you go into a situation with no judgment you can actually learn a lot more from people – when you give them that freedom to be themselves.
So yeah, my passion has been community, which actually has led me to creating the honey company, which basically, you know, hives are community minded. They signal each other, they communicate to each other where food comes from. They actually protect each other if someone comes to attack the hive. This is how I view community.
Q: I definitely can relate to that. Very well said. And you know, at EquityCoin, one of our goals is to help build generational wealth in our communities. What does generational wealth mean to you?
A: Generational wealth means having a plan, being prepared, having a level of determination and focus. In hindsight, a lot of things that I wish that I would have learned throughout my years if someone would have pulled me aside and told me to invest my money, whether it would have been in stocks, mutual funds or even buying property. I’m 41, and throughout my years I’ve learned that money comes and goes. But when I think about the amount of money that I spent on things, I could have invested it and would have possibly been in a better place for myself. Five years ago, I started to focus more on investing. I have a six-year-old son, and I wanted to make sure that I was leaving him in a better place than myself, or put him in a better position. There’s a lot of things that I do with my own son, where I’m teaching him entrepreneurship and having assets and putting things aside for him to where he can have, you know, mutual funds even in terms of with EquityCoin. I invested in EquityCoin not for myself, but I invested in it for my son because I knew the long term value that it would have, not only just for me but for his generation to come. So, it’s very, very, very important that determination, the education of the foundation, gets passed on from generation to generation. That’s what at least that I’m trying to do with my family and my desired goal with EquityCoin.
Q: Yes, I love that! And what are some challenges of being an entrepreneur, ‘mompreneur’ as well that most people overlook.?
A: It’s usually dividing your time because you’re constantly getting sprayed to do multiple things at once. And then the other challenge is logistics. Running a business is really hands on and most of the time, I’m pretty much doing all of the work.
I think when anybody is starting a new business, we usually go in headfirst and worry about the money coming later. I’m not discounting that. But the challenge is always, even when people are having businesses for 20 and 30 years, they usually are always really focused on a return on their investment and making sure they’re actually making money, being able to pay themselves. So that is just one of many challenges that I come across.
Q: 100$%! Makes sense. And I can totally, totally relate. And my next question, what are some ways that you integrate Equity into your business and lifestyle? We all want the people in our community to understand and have equity. How do you integrate that into your business and lifestyle?
A: Mutual funds were a really big thing for me. I’ve got at least 20 different mutual funds that I invest in every single month. And the thing is sometimes when people are thinking about equity or mutual funds, a lot of people don’t understand them. But even in terms of the amount of money that we spend on things, let’s say, for example, a pair of Nike’s, and we do that every month, it can make a difference.
I know that within ten years, those mutual funds will not only incur interest, but I can actually pull from them if I ever need anything for emergencies, which is very, very smart to do. It’s better to invest and to put your money aside and stop making emotional purchases because of a trend or fad. For me, equity is about owning assets, even investing in EquityCoin like that was something that really stuck out to me because a lot of people get so confused in terms of, you know, the blockchain in the crypto realm to where it doesn’t seem real, right? Because usually when we talk about money, money gets passed through us, you know, through our hands or credit cards.
EquityCoin is actually backed by real estate, which is real buildings that you can actually see and touch. You know what you’re investing in is going to actually incur interest on it. It is a great feeling. And it’s not just for myself, but I’m concerned about my son. He’s six years old. By the time he’s 20, my son will probably be a multimillionaire just because of what I’ve done on the back end for him. At the end of the day, I don’t want him to fall in the cracks and I don’t want him to not have anything if and when I leave this planet. I want to make sure that he has assets and big things that are set up for him as well.
So, equity is extremely important. Sometimes we have our levels of fear because we are intimidated by people who are highly educated or have more knowledge. But the key is that information can actually bring value to you and help you grow and benefit you and your family as well. So, it’s really important for people to have these conversations. Take what you can and utilize it in your day to day life to make sure that you have generational wealth as well.
Q: Is there a historic moment that has most shaped your ambition or resilience?
A: Oh, Jesus. Lordy. That’s a tough question because there’s so many different experiences that I’ve had so many. Right before I decided to transition into honey and the agriculture business, I did wardrobe and image consulting/costuming, and worked with all of these really big names. For example, my last client that I worked with was Erykah Badu, and I worked with her on the Soul Train Awards. It was actually with my style partner who passed away about maybe two or three years ago. But anyway, he had brought me on the project and we did the Soul Train Awards. The cool thing about working with her was she was like a conductor out of orchestra – she was just so on point. She had this very motherly kind of vibe to her, and very aware and self-aware of her surroundings. She’s a very big energy person, and it was enlightening to actually see a strong black woman being able to lead because she was the host of the Soul Train Awards. That was a moment that I really enjoyed – witnessing someone who has been in the industry for a long time. She has evolved, but she has never changed her internal self. I appreciate that, because a lot of times we try to change ourselves to fit a specific environment. But being around Erykah and seeing that she was just unapologetically herself – that was something that really stuck out to me and has given me a lot of personal drive and self-love.
Q: And lastly, what is the best way for our audience to support your vision?
A: Well, buy some honey, number one! The website is www.yummyhoney.co, and then I’m also on Instagram which is @yummy_honeyco. If there’s anyone into gardening, urban farming, please feel free to connect. Also, to spread the message of sustainable farming, honey, and business, I’m open to considering speaking engagements. Thanks for having me!