Our Boss Lady Khrissy Visscher is an absolute boss! She started Cnk from the ground up eight years ago, and we decided International Women’s Day is the perfect occasion for telling her story!
What was the path that led you to where you are today?
I grew up in Queensland and got my first job at Sizzler! It was THE restaurant in the 90’s and I got a job in the salad bar. It was where I learnt how to carry three plates at once.
I was studying a bachelor of tourism and after uni, I applied for a job at a fine dining restaurant on Hayman Island. That’s where my passion for food and the hospitality industry really began. I tasted lobster sashimi for the first time. I learnt how to change a tablecloth without exposing any of the table. I learnt how to silver serve Peking duck pancakes. I served celebrities and high profile clientele, the likes of Kevin Costner and Rupert Murdoch. I learnt that service and presentation really are key. This was the job that really helped me get my foot in the door and opened up a lot of opportunities in the industry.
Then I went overseas and worked in London, before getting a job on the QE2. I was like Julie from The Love Boat – the social secretary, who organised all the parties for the adults and the kids.
A stint at a boutique hotel in New York and an event coordinator role at the Opera House in Sydney eventually led me to Melbourne. When I arrived here, it really felt like home and I decided to stay.
How did you start Cnk?
My business partner and I lost our jobs! It was the GFC, no one was hiring, and we decided to give it a go. If it didn’t work, we figured we had nothing to lose. We made the most of the opportunity we were faced with and the risk certainly paid off over time!
What is your greatest achievement?
Having my daughter.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve had to face?
Running the business itself and everything that comes with it has been challenging and a major learning curve, as I didn’t have any business experience before starting Cnk. It taught me to make the most of the opportunities I’m faced with and surround myself with good staff.
What is the best lesson you’ve learnt in running your business?
Failure is often a blessing and mistakes help you improve (as long as you learn from them!). Good things and new opportunities tend to follow – make the most of them.
And sales is queen!
How do you get inspired?
By listening to successful entrepreneurs and their journeys, and how they succeeded through their challenges and became even better. I find it very inspiring, and have learnt that persistence and passion are so important.
Is there a particular woman who you find inspiring?
Janine Allis of Boost Juice. Her path has been inspiring. She has a lot of grit.
What drives you?
Hectic success, robust reds and our dark chocolate fondant!
What advice can you give to women starting out in business?
Try and find a mentor early – listen to their stories. Think about how they can help inspire and innovate you. Take risks, make the most of your opportunities and don’t be afraid to fall down.
Do you think there are challenges that face women in business?
I don’t think that being a woman has stopped me in any way. I’ve never felt discriminated against. But I think that comes from your own confidence, your own self-esteem.
In some ways, I think women can be better leaders, as they’re more empathetic.
You know what bothers me though? If a woman is hard-core, she’s called a b****. When it’s a man however, they’re praised. That’s something that needs to change.
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Categorised in: Occasions
This post was written by the CNK team