Mrs. Honeycutt on Her Childhood, Baking, and Entrepreneurship
Matilda Green, Staff Writer (Photographs by Eryn Logan)
Growing up, Kim Honeycutt was surrounded by business starters and creative thinkers. Her father started his own toy business and her grandmother set up a jewelry business, helping her family escape poverty during the 1930s. Her other grandmother baked pies and sold them at farmers markets. Honeycutt’s family legacy of entrepreneurship taught her to simply try hard things. For example, when Honeycutt was 15 years old, her mother told her and her 13-year-old brother to find a job for the summer (or she would find one for them). Acting quickly before her mom could do anything drastic, Honeycutt called the number on the back of one of her father’s toy catalogs and ordered 24 kites. That summer, she and her brother stood on the dock of Lakeside Marblehead, Ohio, sold kites, and would come to make “a couple thousand dollars” each summer. The North Coast Kite Company still opens seasonally and this summer will be Honeycutt’s 35th year running it.
Now, a Chattanooga resident, a mother of three teenagers, and one of CCS’s College Counselors, Honeycutt likes to bake in her spare time. She frequently makes pies (following after her grandmother) and toffee. After trying to start a bakery (in 1999) called HoneyBuck Bakery and deciding it couldn’t work due to location and logistics, she and her husband instead started a fair trade business downtown Chattanooga. The shop, called “World Next Door”, allows artisans around the world to sell their wares while earning a full wage. Now there is one location in Lakeside which, just like the kite shop, opens seasonally in the summer.
Because Honeycutt kept running the kite shop through college and years after, the funds allowed her to travel to countries like Ecuador and Guatemala and choose jobs based on more than just finances.
Looking back, Honeycutt knows she has not done this on her own. She talks about her parents: “They made me realize that I can do more than I think I can do. They made me feel like I can do anything, so I tried stuff and I did things.” Her parents not only just pushed her to do hard things but they “saw the business” in her.
Honeycutt’s advice to CCS students (and all who read her story) is this: “You can absolutely do stuff if you just are not afraid to try it.” She rationalizes this idea: “What’s the worst case scenario? If you can get through that, do it! Why not? What do you love? What’s interesting to you? Can you turn that into a way to make some money? So if you have an idea, or your friends have a crazy idea, try it.” Honeycutt lives out what she believes by trying to start something she loves like a bakery. She tried it and it didn’t work out. But what did she lose? On the other hand, she successfully ran (and continues to seasonally run) a shop 9 hours away all because she simply tried something.