Photo:Courtesy of Kim Malek
Welcome to Second Life, a podcast spotlighting successful women who've made major career changes—and fearlessly mastered the pivot. Hosted by Hillary Kerr, co-founder and chief content officer at Who What Wear, each episode will give you a direct line to women who are game changers in their fields. Subscribe to Second Life on Apple Podcasts and Spotify and stay tuned.
If you live on the west coast, chances are you are familiar with the renowned Oregon-born ice cream company Salt & Straw. A brand whose mission goes beyond making ice cream, Kim Malek, the CEO and Co-Founder of Salt & Straw, has created a brand that builds a community connection, supports local artisans and farms, and encourages innovative ice cream ingredients. In 2011 Malek launched the brand from an ice cream cart in Portland, Oregon, and today has grown into a nation-wide business with storefronts in Washington, Oregon, California, and the first soon-to-open east coast scoop shop in Miami this year. Each store is tailored to location-specific ingredients, incorporating local and seasonal elements into flavors debuting every four weeks, ultimately making the typical ice cream experience more intimate and engaging. Salt & Straw has received notable accolades, from the Food Network naming its Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper flavor the second-best ice cream in the country on “Food Network’s Top 5 Ice Creams in America” program to features in the Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine. Malek has undoubtedly transformed the ice cream industry into a modern hospitality experience like no other.
And while Malek has proven to be a true industry leader in paving the way for future businesses, whether it is ice cream-centric or not, this surprisingly wasn’t her starting career path. Malek began her career journey in the marketing world at major companies such as Adidas, Starbucks, Yahoo!, and Red, holding positions that focused on community outreach, product management and development, and bringing new trends to the market. Fusing her past experiences and desire to start a company where the community came first, Malek garnered the courage to take the leap into the world of entrepreneurship.