Djenaba Johnson-Jones is Founder and CEO of Hudson Kitchen.
After working in marketing and product development at some of the biggest media brands for 15 years, Djenaba was clear of one thing when she was laid off from W magazine in 2014: This was the opportunity for a new beginning.
Owning her own business was always something Djenaba was interested in, but the lure of corporate America (and a substantial, bi-weekly paycheck) were ever-present. Although there was a part of her that understandably had some concerns when she had to call her husband and tell him about the sudden unforeseen change, the other part of her knew, now is the time to stir things up!
And stirring things up is exactly what the Arlington, Texas, native does through her business, Hudson Kitchen, which is a culinary incubator that helps food entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses with low risk. Currently, Hudson Kitchen offers culinary business workshops, networking events, access to food industry experts and consulting services. After the opening of its physical location, it will also offer 24-7 kitchen rental, storage and a co-working space.
"We want to give soup-to-nuts support to food entrepreneurs with the goal of helping our clients find success selling their products, open their own storefronts and hire employees to help fulfill demand,'' says Djenaba, who has connected entrepreneurs with major retail outlets -- such as Whole Foods, supported food businesses with securing major catering jobs, helped supply food services to local nonprofit organizations and raised brand awareness for up and coming food entrepreneurs.
The creation of Hudson Kitchen came out of Djenaba’s own experience with facing countless obstacles when planning to launch her initial business, which was a health and fitness concierge service. As someone who has always loved fitness and who is a former certified personal trainer, her original plan was to provide fitness support and food service to her clients, which included the delivery of prepared meals. But doing so out of one’s home kitchen in New Jersey is illegal -- so Djenaba, after doing more research and realizing this pain point also presented an opportunity, shifted her business to the Hudson Kitchen concept, and it has been bubbling ever since.
Djenaba Johnson-Jones has found her sweet spot -- a business that allows her to utilize her marketing and product development acumen, and is a client-centric model that fosters a community and focuses on the success of other entrepreneurs. And for this wife and mother of two, one of the sweetest gifts is that she now has more time to spend with her family and friends. “No more hustling back to forth to someone else’s office. I can go into the school, talk to the teachers and be more involved, and then I go to work to serve the community I’m building at Hudson Kitchen.”