By: Milana Alechemist of COSIGN Magazine
Photo by: SayBrea of COSIGN Magazine
One word came to mind as Tremaine, Andrew, Jourdan, and Corey sat down for our interview: family. When the foursome came into the studio, laughing and joking, it was apparent to me this was a tight knit team. Hailing from Cedar Hill, TX, the Skew U guys are a homegrown act in the truest sense of the word. The team came up with the idea for their mobile catering service, Skew U, on a night out at Buffalo Wild Wings.
“My mom and one of my friends were at the table, and my mom–who loves to cook–was just brainstorming and she came up with the idea of skewers. We thought, ‘That’s decent, it doesn’t cost a lot; we might roll with that,’” said Jourdan.
All aged between 24 and 25, the team is young, yet they all possess the kind of focus and intention of longtime business veterans. Their demeanor was confident and pleasant as they were eager to share their story with me. They spoke of their future business plans, but also their efforts to give back to the community they came from. Amongst all the excited chatter I was able to get in some Q&A with the Skew U team.
Your company brand is so unique. How did you come up with the name Skew U?
Jourdan: [My mom] is a little goofy as well, so as she was leaving our house she turned to me and said, ‘Hey, Skew you!’ My friend and I looked at each other and said ‘Skew U. Man, that’s the name. That’s catchy, we can do something with that.’
Tremaine: Jourdan drew our logo. It’s funny because in the beginning there were fruits and vegetables on it and we went back and forth on the colors. Then finally this [logo] collectively came about. Our whole work style is collective. One of us will have an idea, then one of us will say ‘what if we do this’ or ‘let’s add a little bit of this’ and it’s just like 1, 2, 3, BOOM! Like a three headed monster.
Your website says you’re a “Mobile Catering Service.” Can you explain a little bit about your business model?
Andrew: We cater. We come to you, we do drop offs, we do parties, we’ve done all sorts of events. We serve all of our food on skewers- chicken, top sirloin steak, Alaskan salmon and shrimp. We also do seasoned potatoes, fried macaroni and cheese balls. Fresh fruit on skewers and we do dessert skewers as well. We choose organic because people are more concerned than ever about their health. We want to be desired by all, diet or binge eaters. We serve everything on skewers for the convenience of the customer. We initially thought we would get a food truck, but we didn’t want to go the traditional route of getting a bank loan, so we started thinking of other ways to raise the money. Once we started really getting into the business side we realized what we can do is focus on getting the food right and start making money that way. So we built our brand, we built our menu and we built our taste. None of us have chef backgrounds or anything, we just got together and for the love of the business we developed a love of cooking and a love of the food. We do everything ourselves.
So you four do everything?
Tremaine: We skew everything, we cut everything, we season everything, and we cook everything. We do everything. Our first big event was Miss Texas 2013. Since then we’ve catered for clubs, VIP nights, and corporate parties.
That’s huge. When did you officially start the business?
We decided to start the business in March.
March of last year?
Tremaine: Yes ma’am
Oh wow! You guys have done so much in less than a year! When did you get your first event?
Andrew: Our first real event was Miss Texas- June 13th. We did it up for that event.
Tremaine: Well our very-very first event- we called it The Social. We just invited family and friends out to show them what we were working on and tell us what they think. We thought we would have 30 people maybe. Over the course of time probably 75 people showed up, we didn’t know what the hell we were doing. We were sweating; no one was getting food. We were on the grill, just trying.
We have come so far now. Even today Andrew’s mom commented on how far we’ve come since then. That feels good to have people notice your improvement. That’s better than money.
I’ve heard you all talk about your family a lot and your community a lot. Would you say those are two things that really have supported you coming so far in such a short amount of time?
Jourdan: When we were in school the only people that came back to speak to the community were the athletes, we’re trying to show everyone that there’s another way. We’re trying to give back in that way.
Tremaine: It’s kind of like a revolving door thing, like everyone wins. Our generation is defining success in a totally different way.
Jourdan: One of the main reasons I want to see [the business] through is that nowadays, [success] is glamorized. The youth all want to be rappers, because they make it seem cool [and] it’s glorified in the media. The main reason I want to do this is to show [young people] there are options out here. I want to make this like the ‘cool’ thing to do. We’re trying to change the game up a little bit. In reality, it’s the dudes that you don’t see that are really successful.
Andrew: We really wanted to be innovative and show that you can be an entrepreneur and build something from the ground- something we didn’t even envision years ago. We just came together, we thought about something and for the love of the journey and not the love of the money we really built a successful brand. That’s what we want to share with the youth that you can do anything- you can be innovative, creative as long as you put your real time and dedication your heart and your thoughts and your time- once you [focus] all that into one thing- it can be uncontrollable.
Tremaine: Speaking of the youth, we did get a chance to go speak to a class at Cedar Hill High School (the Skew U team’s alma mater). We were so excited about it. We put so much thought and time into it. We played a version of ‘Shark Tank,’ a game where entrepreneurs come in and pitch their idea to people like Mark Cuban and other billionaires to try and get them to invest in their business. We gave the kids prizes. The kids got a lot from that; we got a lot of inspiration from that.
Jourdan: It’s funny because Andrew and I got started by selling candy at school. So when we went back we saw a kid and we asked him ‘Man what you got in that bag?’ He was like, ‘Snacks.’ We were like, man that’s crazy because we were just doing that not too long ago and having evolved from there to where we are now and looking back is crazy.
Absolutely. What kind of advice do you have for any young people that may want to follow your same pursuit, in a similar entrepreneurial path?
Jourdan: Don’t stop regardless of what people around you say.
Corey: Never stop giving it all you have.
Andrew: Don’t be afraid to take a different route in life, be innovative, work hard and believe. Look forward to the journey, not the reward.
As the Skew U team was leaving the interview room, Andrew stopped to ask me if I had been to the COSIGN Magazine Issue X release party and if I tasted the food; when I told him I had, Jourdan exclaimed, “You already been skewed and you didn’t even know it!” I didn’t know it then, but I’m definitely a fan of Skew U for the excellent food and now the story as well. After talking with the team I’m sure that Skew U is only going to keep grinding, giving back and evolving from this point on. Don’t take your eyes off of these ones, 2015 will bring them nothing but success as they “Skew up the world, one skewer at a time.”
Catch up with the Skew U team on all your social media and hit them up the next time you’re having an event or party!