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One More Reason to 'Feel Good' About Kalamazoo

Yumna Jawad | KzooConnect

Kalamazoo is a unique community filled with talented people that have an entrepreneurial spirit. Recently we were lucky enough to come across a rising entrepreneur/food blogger in our midst, Yumna Jawad. Her blog, FeelGoodFoodie, started as a hobby... "micro-blogging," and has taken on a life of its own with now 2+million followers. Jawad describes the essence of her blog as "Eat good, feel good."

The Jawad family moved here in August of 2017 after Yumna's husband joined Bronson's Advanced Cardiac Healthcare team. Luckily for Yumna she has a business model that allows her to connect remotely with her established audience as she explores our community and develops new friends and followers.

"It's a very friendly town and it feels like a wonderful place to raise a family!"

So far they've enjoyed visiting the Air Zoo and other area attractions and noted how surprised she was by the philanthropic culture shared by many in the area.

What was once Jawad's pastime has evolved into a full-blown business, "I was an early adopter of Instagram so I was pretty lucky in being in the right place, at the right time. I used to simply post photos of what I was making for dinner on Instagram. I wanted to share how I used ingredients like rutabaga or watermelon radishes... to modernize very simple dishes. From the photos, followers on Instagram started asking for recipes."

Over time and out of necessity, Jawad began to house those recipes, parenting tips, and lifestyle stories on a blog where she could continue engaging readers. Currently, Jawad actively manages her business from her home and shared that while being an early adopter to social media got her off to a good start, she was "intentional in wanting to reach a wide audience." Mission accomplished!

Jawad's interest in food really started in how it was presented as she worked side by side as a youngster with her mother in the kitchen. Fast forward to now, Jawad combines her passion and business savvy from her earlier days and experience as a marketing manager and research analyst, leveraging social media and its platforms into a productive business. Last September, an article published online in Entrepreneur describes in detail how she gained momentum in her online presence. However it does not share her motto which is something called 1% infinity, "you try to improve by 1% every single day, forever. Success doesn't happen overnight... you must try to improve by just 1% every day." What great advice for an up and coming entrepreneur!

In thinking about Jawad's success to date, the word 'intentional' sticks out most for me. While she attributes her early success to the right timing, it is clear that her approach in both creating content and strategically growing her business are not left to chance. Working from home daily, Jawad creates all of her own material inclusive of photography, recipe development and editorial content for her blog. She does not use a studio for photo shoots. Instead Jawad takes pictures of her food in her kitchen, at her table, on her stove... not a professionally trained photographer, she says, "I am an artist and I try to treat my food styling like a work of art, and use compositional rules to aim for an aesthetically pleasing photo."

Jawad uses local and organic ingredients whenever possible, but 'likes to keep it simple." When creating dishes, she starts with a base recipe and then tests the changes until she gets two thumbs up from her family, even receiving on occasion from her son a "10-thumbs up," which is her signal to publish the recipe.

Like all driven impresario's Jawad would love to see her "brand" evolve into a household name. The content created on the blog, words and pictures alike, are emotive and engaging. Jawad engages her readers with descriptive phrases like, "how soft the dough felt, how fresh the basil leaves looked, how aromatic the garlic smelled, how bubbly the olive oil sounded" and how "irresistibly delicious" the final dish tasted.

"I love writing about food because to me developing a recipe, cooking food and tasting the dish are all part of an experiential moment through all of our senses."

As Jawad continues her success as a food blogger, it's easy to admire her passion for the work she does, the drive she displays to improve daily, and her efforts to balance family and life. We call it the art of passion meeting life and making it happen in a very supportive community called Kalamazoo. Please welcome our latest star, Yumna Jawad, the mastermind of FeelGoodFoodie.

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