Ayesha Curry Shares How She Took Her Love of Cooking and Food and Built a 'Homemade' Empire

The lifestyle brand founder, author and host gave us her advice about social media and creating tangible brand experiences.

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By Nina Zipkin

Courtesy of Ayesha Curry

In this series, Instagram Icon, Entrepreneur speaks with the individuals behind popular Instagram accounts to find out the secrets of their success.

For Ayesha Curry, there is no such thing as a typical day. The 29-year-old married mom of three is the founder of lifestyle brand Homemade, the New York Times bestselling author of The Seasoned Life: Food, Family, Faith, and the Joy of Eating Well, a restaurateur and TV host. She has also grown a sizable online audience of 6.1 million followers on Instagram.

Curry's latest project is a partnership with GoDaddy on a new hub where visitors can shop her line of kitchen and home goods, read up on her favorite recipes, get tips for throwing a great dinner party and get insight into her entrepreneurial endeavors.

In 2013, when her oldest daughter was just 7-months-old, Curry launched her blog on Valentine's Day. The following year, she launched her YouTube channel, Little Lights of Mine, where her cooking tutorials are watched by more 500,000 subscribers.

Much of her time is spent testing out kitchen tools and choosing color schemes for new collections. And, in a milestone for the line, she opened the first retail space for Homemade in February, a month-long pop-up experience in Oakland's Jack London Square, with the goal of making the brand as tangible as possible for fans and fellow home chefs and entertainers.

Entrepreneur sat down with Curry to get her insight about developing a brand that feels truthful to you.

On creating a vision

"I feel like as an entrepreneur with a really great website and a domain you can truly 'make the world you want.' That's what I've done with Homemade," Curry said. "Homemade is intended to make people feel like they want to stay at home a little bit more and get together with their families, prepare a nice meal and have great conversation."

On her product line

Curry said that she felt a real shift in her work after the success of her cookbook in 2016. From there, she said her product line was a natural progression. "The products are really a product of me having a void in my own home and wanting something and figuring out ways to make that and make things convenient for myself and other families out there," she said.

On social media strategy

When it comes to social media, Curry said authenticity is what drives her approach. "I do have brand deals and things like that, but the people that I work with, before we begin working together, we make sure that it's set up so that I can do what feels right," she said. "I'm never going to be the person that's going to sell a dream to somebody, so I try and keep it very organic."

On brand building

For people wanting to build a brand in the food space, Curry said that especially for women who want to make their names as chefs, her advice is to go for it, especially if you don't necessarily see yourself in the industry.

"Part of my goal is to get more women in the kitchen, and it's so funny because the stereotype is that 'women should be in the kitchen and be the happy homemaker,'" she said. "You'd think that in the professional culinary kitchens, that would be the case, and it's not. It amazes me. It's a very male-dominated industry, even down to the line cooks. I just want the women out there to know that is such an option, and if they have a passion for food and want to share it with the world they should do that."

Read on for Curry's five favorite Instagram posts

I think this picture speaks for itself. Seeing my two big girls holding their new baby brother. This was but a dream. My husband and I always hoped for 3 children and here was that first moment.

This post represents the launch of my cookware line. Seeing my parents in store admiring the product for the first time made me feel euphoric to know how giddy and proud they were and are of me. That's something you carry with you through your lifetime. When I'm down, I go back to this moment.

I look up to Mrs. Obama so much. I was grateful for her allowing me to stand and speak my truth.

Bucket list moment. This is something I'd always hoped to accomplish. It was really a moment for me pressing post on Instagram to share this news with the world. I know the food category is chosen by people I admire and look up to. To be recognized by them meant the world to me.

I was so excited to share my Homemade website with the world and inspire other entrepreneurs to pursue their passions and create the world they want.

Nina Zipkin

Entrepreneur Staff

Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture.

Nina Zipkin is a staff writer at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers leadership, media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.

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