Nancy and her daughter, Kimber decided to do more than just window shop in 2008, when they founded their first A Taste Of Olive location.
Originally hailing from Kankakee, IL, the pair often found themselves in a Chicago olive oil on tap store. Nancy and Kimber always had a love for cooking, and initially developed a taste for olive oil because of its health benefits. Right away, Kimber observed, “without changing anything about the way I cooked; I noticed using higher quality oils to cook with was making a difference in my diet.”
They knew that store was going to be one of the things they missed the most about the Windy City when they moved to Doylestown for Kimber to attend a Philadelphia law school.
After many visits, an off-hand remark to the store’s owner began a conversation about opening up a store of their own. He was familiar with the Philadelphia market and encouraged them to pour their time into this new venture. Kimber was inspired to embark on her entrepreneurial journey after watching and helping a friend start a business.
Nancy and Kimber always had a very close relationship, and their skills complemented each other. At the time, Kimber was a lawyer at a major firm and hungry for change after the arrival of her third child. She said, “Opening my own business was a way to have a little more control over my time, my freedom and my relationship with my kids and family.” Her legal background helped save the company a lot of money in startup legal fees.
What distinguishes A Taste of Olive from other stores, Nancy says, is that customers can sample any of the 80 varieties of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Rows of shiny metallic cylinders called fusti, line the aisles, each with their spouts. "We love the idea that you can taste them,” Nancy says. “There are great olive oil brands in bottles, and they have flavors, but you don’t know unless you try them!”
They opened their first store in West Chester, PA back in 2008 and now have four stores in the Philadelphia area as well as a thriving online business. Outside of their oils, balsamics, and salts, which come from all over the world, they try to focus on carrying local products, including a couple owned by women. Nancy told me, “I knew we could do it, I just didn’t realize how successful it would be. We’ve tried some things I wasn’t sure of, but everything has turned out great!”
I asked if they had any advice for women looking to start a business:
Nancy: “In the beginning, you need to have a solid idea of how to finance it, and you need to be willing to give 150%. That is why it was a benefit having both of us because things can be very demanding in terms of time.”
Kimber: “The best thing to do is to jump in with both feet. It’s kind of like having children, you never know if it’s quite the right time, but once you’re there, you enjoy it. Just try, you’ll usually surprise yourself with what you are capable of achieving.”