Make no mistake; you know you are talking about someone – and some thing – special when you hear of a book that managed to outsell J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.
It could only have been one candidate capable of achieving such an unfathomable feat: the fabulous 4 Ingredients franchise.
I had the pleasure of meeting effervescent co-founder Kim McCosker earlier this year at the launch of the Woolworths Baby & Toddler Club (Kim is a regular contributor to this site) and was enamoured not only by her, but her rise to such meteoric triumph. And while we talked recently about her fantastic food solutions for fussy eaters, what I also became completely fascinated with was her personal story of success.
Long before Kim was the breath of fresh air that whooshed into the world of cookbooks with her then business partner and friend Rachel Bermingham, she was on the corporate treadmill, juggling the demands of parenthood and a finance career with NAB.
Fastforward to 2012 and she is now the solo face of her super successful cooking franchise that lends its names not only to cookbooks, but has filmed 2 TV series for the Lifestyle channel, created a cookware range and even developed a popular iPhone app.
And all because she had a desire and a culinary dream which would one day lead to a self made empire. She explains, “What I wanted to do is learn how to do it [cook] nutritiously and deliciously yet very very easily and economically.”
What gave this wish an extra lashing of zest was the combination of her finance degree with her cooking aspirations. She knew well that the two major expenses that most average households incur are related to your mortgage and grocery bill, so she set about finding a way to overcome this common family funding difficulty. And hence the series all know and love as the 4 Ingredients franchise was born!
“If I can help you save a dollar or 2 in your food bill with my style of planning first and cooking then that’s a dollar or 2 you can plough into your mortgage.”
Of course, many may be aware there has been a big change since the 2007 launch of 4 Ingredients namely the departure of the original co-founder, Rachel Bermingham. But as Kim explains, it was a natural order of progression.
“Everything is a discovery for me where as Rach wasn’t as into the food as much. Its like anything, you get to a point where you think ‘You know what I’ve done what I’ve done with this but I want to go do something else’” she tells me.
Her biggest challenge during this time of change was making sure the market place, and her fans, were not misconstrued as to the truth of the matter.
“I just didn’t want the market to perceive it as negative. I knew I could take the brand and make it bigger and better than it had ever been before,” she enthused – and right she was! But how did Kim do that?
Backed by her tight knit team, Kim juggles a fast paced life that sees her manage her hectic business commitments (which take her all over the globe) in conjunction with her family life. But as she points out, for both her and her team, it’s the title of Mother that matters most.
“First and foremost we are mums,” she emphasises, detailing the flexibility that encapsulates this important business mantra. And there is also the not so small matter that this is a woman who simply ADORES what she does!
“I’m lucky I do something I love, with people I love. I think it allows you to work a lot more because you enjoy it.We foster a really fun environment. Even though I’m working, I’m having a good time”
So as to that all elusive notion of balance, that working mothers the world over are trying to achieve – does Kim have the secret recipe for that?
“From an outsider looking in, there is no balance,” she laughs before a serious note creeps into her voice. “I think it’s different when you have built something from nothing, when you have built something from your own blood, sweat and tears and you’ve mortgaged your house.”
“Such is my belief in the business, such is my involvement, my enjoyment in the business,” she explains, of her determination, as well as paying tribute to those who’ve stood along side her on this journey. “I’m very blessed to have just such a tiny team but gee it’s a goody.”
“I’m buying funeral plots next to each other,” she jokes, clearly keen to ensure that her fabulous fellow 4 Ingredients colleagues can be found cooking and creating together forever more!
And considering they have just signed a further 4-book deal, which will see them continue to dominate the kitchens of both the Southern and Northern Hemisphere, we are sure this team will be delivering fine and affordable food fare for many years to come.
Denwise aka Denyse Whelan says
Donna, such a great story…and wonderful encapsulation of the changes Kim has made in her journey as a writer, and a mum! Your writing is excellent. Denyse
Thanks for sharing Donna.
Kim has some great ideas for quick tasty meals to make mums’ lives easier.
My MIL swears by her books and I’ve been meaning to buy them for awhile. What an amazing transition she’s made. Goes to show what can happen when you stick to doing what you love and what you’re passionate about. Thanks for sharing Kim’s story, Donna!
Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky says
I am a bit of a 4 ingredients fan – how could you not be?!
Caz (The Truth About Mummy) says
I have 2 of the books and often delve in when I need a quick new recipe. Got a few great ones for the girls out of the kids one.
Beautifully written article Don.