We had the good fortune of connecting with Kiamani Robey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kiamani, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
As a parent, I’ve had to be very creative. My children are sixteen years apart and while they were born in very different decades, they still require the same love and care. Throughout my adulthood I worked two jobs, whether part time or fulltime and being away from my eldest made it difficult to truly connect. I decided a few years back that I would focus on writing and cooking while fostering a creative medium to working and parenting. This gave way to full time entrepreneurship. I believe the decision to become a full time business owner has helped me connect deeper with my children. The time I have with them to go to parks, to read books, to take them with me on outings and markets, has helped them both bond with me together and individually. This impact will help both of my children strive for whatever passions they love all while knowing they have what it takes to succeed.
What should our readers know about your business?
I’ve always loved cooking and you could always find me making a dish and sharing it with others. I’d find healthy ingredients and create dishes that would spark the desire to eat healthy. I found out I was a type 1 diabetic when I was fifteen. Instead of looking at my disability as a hindrance, I decided to learn about the different foods that could help me feel better. From vegetables to herbs to teas to grains, I read books and studies to help me understand what was happening to my body and tools to be healthier. It took time and a lot of trial and error, but I became more comfortable with the knowledge I learned. My family would partake in these meals daily as well. In 2017, I started making gourmet healthy snacks for co-workers and associates. I expanded to different offices while writing and publishing my first book. I even opened a store selling body butters! This slowly came to a halt, a year later, as Covid plagued the country. My physical shop was closed. My office markets were shut down and I was officially at a stand still. All I could do was hunker down and write more. I self published Seven Steps Toward Healthy Living and Take Me As I Am around this time. I learned so much throughout this time. More about resilience and patience and less about production. Less about competition and more about love and humanity. Seeing the need for healthy food and healthy lifestyles increase, I pivoted and went back to cooking, this time with an increased desire to serve communities in need. I created The Veggie Sunflower for just that. It was an answer to the stresses of struggling communities without healthy food options close by. It was an answer for families that were tired of eating the traditional fast food choices and an answer for people who wanted to eat vegan and vegetarian food, but those options weren’t nearby their houses. At The Veggie Sunflower we create healthy alternatives to everyday foods. Our Signature dish is The Sweet & Spicy Meatless Wings. They are made with a gluten-free batter that is dairy-free, soy-free, yeast free and delicious! Our Sweet & Spicy sauce is handmade with herbs and spices and vegan as well.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Because the holiday season is upon us, the city of Atlanta is bustling with many activities. I’d invite a friend to Atlantic Station to see a movie and spend the day taking pictures around the large lit tree and walk around the holiday lights exhibit. I would then take them to Peachtree Street where MODA is located and visit the art museum and all of its glory. I would invite them to the Botanical Gardens where the lights are amazing and bright. We would eat Sweet & Spicy Meatless Wings with celery and a bottle of sparkling water at The Veggie Sunflower, at The Pittsburgh Community Market, located at one of Atlanta’s newest attractions, Pittsburgh Yards. We would end our tour by walking the beltline attached to Pittsburgh Yards, drinking coffee, and talking about the good old days.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are quite a few people I thank for helping me to strive and reach for my full potential. My family have been my rock stars, always supporting my journey. My son, Mekhi and my daughter, Jerne’ are my heart. They keep me grounded and always striving for greatness. My nieces and nephews are like my second set of children. They are always showing love and will always be my shooting stars. My past co-workers, supervisors, and managers, have all been very instrumental in helping me spread my wings and fly. You found ways to see my potential and fostered my growth. I thank you all!
Alicia Robey Kiamani Robey