Your day takes a turn for the best when you sit down and speak to a genuinely authentic and caring individual.
Thank you, Kimberly Vorperian.
Kim is a multifaceted woman who can rap you a birthday tune, draw you a picture, play you a song, and if you need it. She can make you smell good. (basics.com)
Kim loves the water and the energy in her community, two things I think that truly resonate with people who live in St Pete.
So, next time you are out and you happen to see a Bodhi Basics product pick it up and smell it.
It’s what love and passion smells like!
Thanks again Kim see you around town.
In one word describe yourself.
Who has had the most influence on your life?
My mom’s side of the family is incredibly talented of makers, musicians and artists.So, I grew up in that kind of atmosphere.
My uncle Johnny played five different instruments and worked at the University of Chicago on rockets as an engineer.
He was just an all around renaissance man building things when needed just kind of knew everything about anything. He would be my inspiration role model that kind of thing.
What is your favorite thing about St Pete?
Simply put would be the energy and the community here.
Small business is celebrated, supported, and it all goes together with the mission as a community.
Which is to support each other, support local, support small. That really creates a beautiful groundwork to start and grow a business.
(Kim Voperian selling her products at the market)
What is your favorite thing to do in St Pete?
I like going to the beach. It is not exactly downtown St Pete, but anything with water that is where I am at.
You said about localtopia in article by 83 degrees media “I’ve never seen a town with so much pride in local things and local makers and using their money with smaller companies and smaller businesses “I’ve lived in a lot of places and carried Bodhi Basics with me through a lot of different towns. There is no other event that I’ve ever seen like this that gets so much support. People are so excited to come out and put their money where their home is and their heart is.” why do you think saint pete creates this?
I think for St Pete it has been a slow progression and the size of the city fosters this idea of community.
When you live in a bigger place it is harder to find those pockets and they are there but maybe they don’t get to be celebrated as much because people don’t see it. Like in their face daily on the street every Saturday.
Really the size of St Pete and just the type of people who gravitate towards it I am not too sure what it is.
In your free time Do you still Rap for people’s 18th birthday ?
OH MY GOD YOU ARE LIKE AN INTERNET SLEUTH (laughter).
I totally forgot about that. So, yeah that was for my sister as a I’m so excited for you. I write a lot of music not necessarily rap, but I do a lot of music, songwriting. I do art that is like my thang.
So, when I am not doing Bodhi Basics maybe I am not rapping ,but i am doing something musical or artistic.
Can you talk to me about your 2014 sound-cloud album release homegrown?
OMG THIS IS INTENSE.
Yeah I guess this goes along with what I do in my off time.
I don’t really go play out in the public, it is a personal thing I am really shy so it is hard for me to get out there.
That was one of my friends saying hey let me record a couple songs you sound really good we need to have people here this.
I was like I don’t know about that. I totally forgot about that I forgot people could hear it.
I have had many interviews and none these have come up so kudos to you.
What other careers did you have before Bodhi Basics?
I had an interesting path.
I went to college and supported myself through college with serving jobs, kitchen jobs,random stuff, art commission, just everything and anything.
After that I thought I wanted to own and run a cafe so I worked as a cafe manager. Then I moved to Chicago and was a baker in this European bakery, but I got celiac disease so baking to a backseat.
As I was trying to maneuver that new lifestyle I started working as a metal smith for some jewelers which was really neat.
I learned how to make jewelry from scratch with pieces of metal and torches all that fun stuff.
That was an awesome job I had that for a long time.
I worked as a studio assistant to an artist helping with framing and fun stuff like that.
Then I left Sarasota had a bunch of serving jobs moved to St Pete.
After bouncing around a bunch of cities around the US. I got a job at bodega while I was doing the soap.
I started doing the soap business really small while I was doing my other jobs.
Did you ever think you would have been making soap for a living?
Not in a million years. No, still sometimes I wake up and I am like what do I do again. This is really bizarre. Just that anyone can make a living making soap is pretty crazy to me and I one that is doing it.
It blows my mind.
How long did the idea of Bodhi Basics to launching take?
I had the idea in 2010 when I was working for the jewelers.
I have always known that I wanted to run my own business and be my own boss so it has just been trying to figure out how or what I would be doing to make that happen.
In 2010 I started combining my love for plants, herbs, and the medicinal healing properties of those with making products.
2010 it kind of started, but it wasn’t a business yet.
Pretty quickly there after I would say a couple of months I had some recipes down maybe 4 that I really liked and I tried it out. I gave it to friends gave it to family they all loved it, so I started an etsy shop.
It took about 3 or 4 months to start on etsy and then after that it has been almost seven years of S L O W BUILDING INCREDIBLY S L O W BUILDING I think it was 2015 when I quit my part time job and started doing Bodhi Basics full time.
It has been a very slow progression.
Kim Can I eat your soap?
Ha, Technically yes, but I definitely recommend it for your skin rather than your tummy.
How does it feel for your product to be global?
Oh yeah people from all over through etsy and my website. It is crazy and weird.
I am curios why would you buy soap from me?
you live all the way over there. It is cool, feels really good.
Is Iceland still on the list of places to be?
Yeah, I would love to go to Iceland I think it is freaking cool, and it is weird. It is close, cheap to fly to.
I love the landscape the bright greens, the ashy blue water it is someplace I would love to go.
Being a female entrepreneur did you face any challenges?
No, everyone has been really supportive, but I do think that being a female entrepreneur especially a young one, makes it hard to have people take me seriously.
I did a lot of cold calls when I started the business.
People were like this is just a girl who doesn’t know what she is doing.
I felt a lot of that.
Working with bigger companies sometimes I feel that.
It has been hard. You just need to push though and be like screw that I am strong independent woman.
I Run my own business I am paying all my bills these people have no right to talk to me like I don’t what I am doing.
I know what I am doing, you just have to show them that and they will respect you.
Under the current political condition do you think there are going to difficulties for female entrepreneurs and what advice would you give them ?
I think there is going to be difficultly for all small business and all small entrepreneurs.
Females, on separate thing are going to be face with a ton of challenges and that is going to bleed into the work place, into to being an entrepreneur, and trying to get your voice heard and respected.
So, yeah I don’t know if I have advice I think we all are just taking it one day at a time. Taking a deep breath saying this happened what are we going to do?
Truly as women and as humans we all need to band together and if some unfair law or whatever the hell is thrown at us we need to support each other and we need to go at it united.
I would say that is my hope.
In our lives we all have to choose a path what helped you choose yours?
Small daily choices that happen everyday.
I just kind of followed my heart. I try to follow my gut.
I try to follow my passions.
I know when something doesn’t feel right not to do it, or know when something is draining me and I need to cut it out
If I feel something is missing and I need to go there.
It has been very intuitive.
A daily checking in with myself. Hey how is it going?
Is this where you want to be ?
Let’s look in the past let’s look in the future where do you want to be headed and where have you been?
That has been my approach.
My mission in life is to not make money my purpose, what would you say your purpose is and most importantly what do you value beyond money?
Besides being able to live with a roof over my head and have some food.
Money has never really been a goal for me.
My purpose has always really been about helping people, healing, or lending something that I posses.
A skill that I have to aide other people.
I would say that is my main motivation that is what I live for.
Lastly in previous interviews was there ever a question that you wanted them to ask you but they didn’t?
You know it kind of struck me when you asked me about my other passions and other things I am interested in.
I have never really been asked that in an interview.
It has always been I AM MY BUSINESS LIKE KIM IS BODHI BASICS.
Really all of us have passions other than the main thing we do for a living and I have never really been asked what those were.
Or the other things that I live for.
So, I really appreciate those questions.