Fine Art by Michelle Micalizzi
(All Rights Reserved)
My muses this week are brothers Jayson and Jaymes Khademi. Jayson and Jaymes own Saffron Jak, a stone bread pizza food truck and catering company.
WHY JAYSON & JAYMES KHADEMI QUALIFY TO BE ONE OF THE 2016 FEARLESS THIRTEEN.
I met the Khademi brothers at a Walter Productions event and Walter Gallery opening. I am not a carb eater anymore but that night – I just had to try their flat bread pizza. WOW…bar none the best flat bread pizza I have ever eaten. I am not just saying that either! Every bite full was worth it! Then when I introduced myself to the owner Jaymes and he shared his passion for his business, I had to know more. Jaymes was so excited to tell me that he and his brother, in partnership with a silent investor, are in the process of opening their first restaurant. I am so excited for them and the community. I know that this is going to be a destination restaurant where tables will be in high demand and reservations a must.. It isn’t just because the food is exceptional; it is also the loving energy of the Khademi brothers that draws you in. After interviewing the brothers, I know it is because their love for one another and their Dad is infused into the pizza. Like every incredibly unstoppable family business, the Khademi brothers are on a mission to prosper and ensure the success of one another. They are each other’s biggest fan. The ease they have with one another coupled with their sense of humor and wonder is not only endearing, it is mesmerizing. I also would like to note that like all smart business owners, the Khademi brothers give back by growing their own vegetables and feeding the homeless through donations to St. Vincent De Paul.
The three biggest things that impress me the most about Jayson & Jaymes are:
- Their enthusiasm about one another, their business and food in general
- Their sense of indomitable humor
- Their initiative and drive
In a nutshell….
The Khademi brothers are the kind of guys that from the first moment you meet them you want them to win. I feel so blessed to have met them and I of course asked them to bring pizza samples to the opening on May 14th so you can taste what I am so excited about.
Jayson & Jaymes took a few minutes out to answer the five Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Questions.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM JAYSON AND JAYMES ABOUT BEING FEARLESS?
1. WASTE NOT! WANT NOT!
I just love these two brothers whose innate caring and advocacy for each other generates a force of positivity that is effusive and engaging. Both of them recognized the same thing about one another, that they were wasting their talent building other people’s businesses. They both felt trapped in dead end scenarios and neither of them could tolerate the other being hidden behind the curtain of mediocrity.
2. BE PREPARED
When dealing with the “I have never…” list, you have to do your homework. As the master of your own destiny, you need to become a Jack-of-All-Trades. There can be no task or idea above you or beneath you. You have to create your business plan and work out the details – end of story. When you are the keeper of your own reality, you have to manage the minutiae. Neither Khademi brother is afraid of the digging into every aspect of their business; in fact, they embrace it and find it fascinating!
3. MAINTAIN A SENSE OF HUMOR AND WONDER
When I was reminding the brothers what the questions were for the interview and I asked the “bump in the road” question – they laughed. Because their first big bump in the road was literally a bump in the road. When a low hanging inspection bar damaged their truck, they were left with seven dollars in the bank after repairs. I love how they chuckle now and say the first big fear in their first week was, “Are we going to be able to do this next week?” And then they chuckle again. Yes, they made it through the first big bump and are now on the verge of opening their first restaurant. What a great story to tell!
4. KEEP IT FRESH
There is a pattern I have noticed across the fearless interviews. When I ask an entrepreneur the question about what their current fear is, they cannot say the word “fear” anymore. They say words like “we prefer to call it a challenge not fear” or make statements like “I/We really do not have any fears.” Fearless business owners have had enough things go wrong by this point in their livelihood to realize that there is nothing to be afraid of anymore. Whatever challenges they face, they know they will get through it and recognize that even the nightmares become useful in the end. I smiled to myself when I saw this pattern confirmed again during this Khademi brother’s interview.
For Jaymes and Jayson, in the beginning when a food truck location was drying up, it seemed devastating. Over time they realized that diminishing locations was just part of the game. Yes, keep the food fresh but also keep the location fresh. The challenge now is finding the right locations to move their truck to as well identifying the best location for their end game – the new restaurant. They recognize how factors like social media; neighborhood, time and place impact their business. All factors are managed loosely and dealt with as they are. The upswing is appreciated and the slowdown is expected.
5. TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE
Entrepreneurs are a special breed and we all know it. We not only take on risk but regard risk as a game. The Khademi brothers are no different. They play the game all self-made people play, the game called “How much can I take?” How accountable can I be? Where is my limit? They find their limit regularly and know when to take breaks and vent. They realize that working for yourself is not a 9:00-5:00 proposition. The buck stops with you when you are the boss! Jayson and Jaymes say – GAME ON every day!
Thank you so much Jayson and Jaymes for taking the time out to be one of the Fearless 13! I look forward to seeing you again at the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business Art Opening on May 14th at the Walter Gallery from 7-10PM.
Note from the Artist
KHADEMI BROTHER’S ILLUSTRATION STORY:
My favorite part of painting the Fearless 13 panels is the moment when I realize what the story will be for the painting. Ironically, the tag line for Jayson & Jaymes Khademi, owners of Saffron Jak, is “Pizza is our canvas, let us paint you a meal.”
I started to play a bit and think and doodle. My strongest first take away after speaking with them was, “Waste Not, Want Not,” which is a play on the adage of don’t waste food and you will always have enough. For me this cliché more accurately references the view to not waste your talent and your time working for someone who does not let you shine, which is what both brothers felt about one another’s jobs and why they opened their own business. The Khademi brothers were driven to create a place where both of their talents were cultivated rather than being wasted. The idea of a clock as a representation of time came to me, and the parallel between clocks and pizza both typically being round seemed like a good fit. Well not in this case. Saffron Jak’s pizza is rectangular because it is made with the Persian sourdough flatbread called Sangak. I started to doodle rectangles imagining clocks while looking at images of their pizza. Then I thought boring, boring, boring and remembered one of my artistic inspirations, Mark Rothko, to help me move forward.
In the 1940s, modern artists Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb believed that art should be an adventure of exploring an unknown and mysterious world. Similarly, entrepreneurs believe that business is an adventure of exploring an unknown and mysterious world. The two artists favored a simplified and direct expression of an intricate thought. Rothko and Gottlieb, along with Jackson Pollock, Hans Hofmann, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Robert Motherwell, Ad Reinhardt and Arshile Gorky (in his last works) were among the prominent abstract expressionists considered Color Field painters in the 1950s and 1960s. These artists’ use of color had a strong influence on me when I was studying art at The University of New York at Albany. Ironically, I discovered something I had not previously about Color Field Painting when I reviewed the technique for this panel. Color Field came to be at exactly the same time that acrylic paint, and the use of new plastic pain, came into being. I use acrylic in all my paintings as a base for some of the same reasons why the Color Field painters utilized it. It is fast drying, you can make a hard edge with it and it is perfect for multi-media techniques because it can be built upon with other mediums. As a side note, Rothko’s untitled work (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange) sold in November of 2014 for $36.5 million.
Given all this inspirational and technical influence, how would I approach the question of: What if Rothko and Gottlieb, who usually eliminated overt recognizable imagery in favor of abstraction, got together and painted a pizza. Both men were MASTER colorists and painters. I am only a visual journalist humbly channeling them for the purpose of telling a story.
I have used one of the Khademi brother images from their website – a pizza with oversized pepperoni shapes that playfully channel the spirit of Rothko and Gottlieb and the Saffron Jak pizza tag line. Rothko always used 2 or 3 rectangles in all his works. 2 pizzas = 2 brothers. Gottlieb often used the shape of a red circle in his paintings. I opted to forgo the representation of a clock and time once I got into the painting. To add further meaning to the shapes would have been an insult to the Color Field painters who avoided assigning specific meaning in their paintings. Gottlieb, Rothko and the Khademis are real life artists whose pursuit of their passion continues to yield acclaim and success.
SAVE THE DATES:
The Art of Fearlessly Doing Business!
Press Viewing (by invitation only): Friday, May 13 6-8PM
Opening: Saturday, May 14th 7-10PM
Conversation with the Artist: Saturday, May 21 7-9PM
Closing Reception: Saturday, June 9th 6-9PM
Walter Art Gallery
6425 East Thomas Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85257