We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexandria Hollowell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexandria, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started my business by defying all odds set against me. I bent every rule put in front of me and molded a new set of rules that complied with my end goal in life. Once these rules were in place, I never wavered for anyone, family, friend, ex, nor colleague. I believed in me, even when no one else did. It’s also easy for me to recognize a dead end quickly and immediately re-route. I’m still in the process of overcoming life challenges. I would say “overcame” when I actually reach the pinnacle of my success. To the outside eye, some would say ‘I’ve made it already’ but the universe and ‘most high know’, that this is only the beginning. The lessons I’ve learned along the way have been, don’t just jump at the first opportunity. I’ve been booked for things, driven out from Austin and stood up in Houston, specifically, on a few occasions. The very last time this happened I just realized that where you’re from is not where you’ll make it, unfortunately. People don’t seem to respect your business when they’ve watched you grow up. I’ve also learned that as an attractive woman in Houston, leading with my business hat is ALWAYS the best approach. It’s easy to be taken for granted when you don’t. I’ve found it a lot easier to conduct business in Austin, TX regardless of vanity. I’ve also learned that time waits for no entrepreneur, it’s today or never. Even if that means you fight the fight alone. Lastly, I’ve recently added this quote to my quote bank and that is “watch the overlooked, get overbooked” – Sukihana The Goat.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
LE Meals is “a Gullah-Geechee scratch kitchen with a whole lot of NOLA” inspired by the rich cultural heritage of my family. I decided to take an entrepreneurial leap of faith after being laid off during the peak of my career, as a direct result of Covid19. My intent with LE Meals was to have something fun to do on the side. Ironically, the day I was laid off, all of my supplies arrived on my doorstep. Without looking back, that same day, I set up a table curbside of my home selling LE Meals™ desserts. Within the first hour, I completely SOLD OUT. Every day that followed, I was committed to selling outside in the rain, heat or cold, endlessly, 7 days a week. I created a local name for myself in Austin, TX and I’m now known as “LE Meals™ – The Red River st food gem.”
I continue to sell out at least two to three times a week. I’ve realized I have a golden product and so I went into business full-time for myself. I have been cooking my family’s authentic dishes since childhood, for siblings and loved ones. Throughout the years I’ve fine-tuned and sharpened my skills to create the now, local phenom, LE Meals™. My company is a beautiful blend of my rich and distinct cultural background. My mother was born into the rich and vibrant Gullah Geechee culture in Charleston, South Carolina. My father was born and raised in the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana with an emulsified Creole background. Both of these cultures are unique and distinct in their own ways, but what ties them together is their creole base.
I enjoy creating my parents delectable recipes and with LE Meals™ I provide a unique and mouth watering fusion of both. LE Meals™ is absolutely an experience of its own! I introduced a whole new flavor to the world, and it starts right here in Austin, TX with LE Meals™.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If we were in Houston, my best friend and I would definitely hit the after hour spots, a few hookah spots on Richmond ave and Fountain View. Absolutely Onyx for the wings, and a brunch spot on Saturday or Sunday. I’m all about giving back as well, so, we would pick a week day to help out at the Beacon Homeless Shelter alongside Ronald Marshall. If we were in Austin, we’re absolutely grabbing a bite from my takeout/ delivery spot, LE Meals™ for the Gullah Geechee and NOLA fused cuisine (notable for my jared desserts), JewBoy for the authentic and freshly made unique burgers and burritos. Tyson tacos for food after 2AM and Sahara Lounge, 6th street, Lodge, Toulouse, or Rainey Street for the turnup any given day of the week. LE Nights™ is the newest and most elite speakeasy in Austin (LE Meals™ affiliate after hour spot – invite only) so we would definitely vibe here or any other Speakeasy for the high-profile vibes. Lastly, before she left, we’d absolutely go kayaking on Lady Bird Lake in the middle of downtown ATX.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to shout out the following people: My mother (Angie Williams), My customer & very 1st LE Meals™ advocate (Jamie Lay), The Eater (Writers Nadia Chaudhury & Sarah Engstrand), Very Close Friend (Mario Naverrete), God-Mother (Celia Childs) and brother (Brandon Patterson “Nikki”) – deceased as of 07/01/2020
Other: LE Meals™ Prep: https://www.lemealsprep.com/ LE Meals™ Nationwide Shipping: https://lemeals.wixsite.com/lemealsdelivery Coming Soon (LE Nights™) : https://www.lenights.com/
Image Credits w/ Owner in red shirt: Stephen Jones @Circle6Photography Food Image Credits: LE Meals™