Conversations with a woman entreprenuer: Claire Smith
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We sat down with Claire Smith, woman, chef and entrepreneur in Houston to get her advice to our budding entrepreneurs embarking on their Lemonade Day business.
Did you have a lemonade stand as a child?
A couple of times when my father was involved with Fleming Park in Southampton and we raised money for the park.
What was your first business and what inspired you to open your own business?
My first real business was Daily Review Café, which I opened in 1994 after moving back to Houston from San Francisco where I attended culinary school and worked for 5 years. I was inspired to open a restaurant here in Houston because I had such a strong support base from my parents, to their friends and to the many people I knew from growing up in Houston and attending college here.
If you could give one piece of advice about starting a business to our young entrepreneurs setting up lemonade stands, what would it be?
Have a plan, be well rested and make sure you have staff you can count on and trust to represent your effort at all times.
Youth who participate in Lemonade Day must have a “caring adult” participate with them. How have your parents and family helped and supported you as an entrepreneur?
Absolutely, my parents and family have always been my greatest cheerleaders and supports. They are their own marketing machine!
What do you enjoy about owning your own business?
I enjoy the people I work with the most. I love watching our employees hone their skills and move towards the mastery of their craft.
Name one scary moment you encountered about starting or owning your business.
The scariest moments always come from not being prepared, whether that is forgetting something important like napkins for a big birthday catering, OR realizing that a large party reservation has been written down on the wrong day and a crowd of 25 has arrived for their dinner OR RUNNING OUT OF LEMONADE AT CITY HALL YESTERDAY WHEN 5 PEOPLE WANT SOME! Next time we will double up at least!
ABOUT CLAIRE SMITH
After five years cooking in such acclaimed restaurants as Green and Oliveto in the San Francisco Bay Area, Claire Smith returned to her native Houston, Texas to replant her roots. Critics championed the opening of the Daily Review Cafe in November of 1994, agreeing that the time had come for seasonal, fresh and inventive restaurant dining in Houston. The Daily Review received praise not only from the Houston dining public, but from national magazines such as Esquire (Best New Restaurant of 1995) and Travel & Leisure (Women at the Helm).
In 2003 she opened her new restaurant Shade to rave reviews. Her contemporary, comfortable eatery highlights what has been described as “global home cooking.” Shade earned Smith the Restaurateur of the Year Award from My Table Magazine in 2004 and was named one of the 10 Best New Restaurants in the state by Texas Monthly. In 2009, Smith opened Canopy, in the Montrose area, which is fast becoming the neighborhood place.
We like to sit down with inspiring entrepreneurs and give youth real advice on business. Owning your own business isn’t always easy, but these entrepreneurs show when life hands you lemons …