How an Ueber-Brand responds in times of crisis – Alison Cayne, Haven’s Kitchen

Alison Cayne, is the founder of Haven’s Kitchen, a brand that helps the urban hustler whip-up delicious meals while being that ideal colleague, partner, parent, balanced self and host. The business includes a cooking school, an experiential event space, a cafe, a book and podcast as well as a line of of ready-made sauces sold at grocery stores.

‘A precarious start-up conglomerate that gets hit hard in this time of crisis,’ one might think.  But Haven’s Kitchen is doing better than most – and some of it is thanks to Alison being a natural Ueber-Brand-Builder, we think.

Take a listen as she shares how she navigates through this crisis, setting her organization, business and brand up to not only survive but thrive, where possible. And she does so in her own humble, ethical but efficient and entrepreneurial way. – What an inspiration!

Note: JP produced this podcast for a ‘Business in Times of COVID-19’ series by The Conference Board. And for an interview with Alison focusing on Haven’s Kitchen Ueber-Branding strategy, scroll down further.


Below is our interview with Alison from times pre-COVID times – which means a few, short four months earlier.

In it, you can hear her talk about the strong foundations when it comes to brand mission, culture and business strategies that enable Haven’s Kitchen to do well while navigating the crisis at hand.  — We think.

Haven’s Kitchen: About Sharing Life Skills and Sauces – Alison Cayne, Founder

Alison Cayne, Founder

Haven’s Kitchen is a Cooking School, Café, Shop, Event Space… and Headquarters to a budding packaged foods label in Chelsea, NYC.

But founder Alison Cayne says it is really about being a place for gathering and gaining confidence by learning how to cook good food, simply – A life skill that has come in handy to the mother of five.

You are forgiven to think “another one of those ‘wholesome food’ start-ups.” But this venture was started in 2011 when the average urbanite was just warming up to the idea that cooking from scratch using local ingredients was a good thing for the body, soul and environment… if only they knew how to do it.

And what about those prepared sauces Haven’s Kitchen is bringing to a ‘supermarket near you’?  They are a product of deeply understanding your target audience.  In fact, of living the life of your ‘Ueber-Target‘* and working with them every day.  They are little magic potions that can the edge of the constant hustle to life a successful, balanced, beautiful, healthy life – at least for the time of a good meal. And they show Alison does not believe that direct delivery is here to replace the grocery store anytime soon, when it comes to fresh foods.

As you will hear, this is not one of those ‘rags to unicorn’ stories.  This business actually started to make money from year two.  Rather, it is a story of a woman with insight, a clear vision, the discipline to follow-through on a strategy and … who masters ‘the hustle’.


Click below to listen to the interview: 

Haven’s Kitchen in NYC, Inside and Out


For more insights into what drives the success of purpose-driven brands read our book “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueberbrands,” and other posts on this blog-cast.

* Here are questions brands can ask to recognize and leverage their design target – or ‘Ueber-Target’ as we call the best of them.

Here are links to the Haven’s Kitchen website and Alison’s popular podcast Radio Show and Podcast ‘In The Sauce’.  And, here an article that describes Alison… living her Ueber-Target life … Well, the article more humbly talks about her as ‘superwoman’ ;-).

And finally a link to Alison Cayne’s Cookbook, which is a bit different – and not only because the authors states that she doesn’t like to follow recipes.  Note that the photos for the book were taken at Alison’s home.  And note some of the reactions of her fan-readers on Amazon.  That’s what it sounds like when you inspire your target audience – beyond the meal.

About JP Kuehlwein

JP Kuehlwein is a global business leader and brand builder with a 25+ year track record of translating consumer and brand insights into transformational propositions that win in market. Principal at ‘Ueber-Brands’ a New York consulting firm, he now helps others to elevate brands and make them peerless and priceless. JP also teaches brand strategy at NYU Stern and Columbia Business School and leads the Marketing Institute at The Conference Board, all in New York. Jp previously was Executive Vice President at Frédéric Fekkai & Co, a prestige salon operator and hair care brand and lead brand- and corporate strategy development and execution at multinational Procter & Gamble as Brand Director and Director of Strategy. JP and Wolf Schaefer have co-authored the best-selling books “Rethinking Prestige Branding – Secrets of the Ueber-Brands” which lays out what drives the success of modern premium brands and "Brand Elevation - Lessons in Ueber-Branding" a guide to developing and executing a brand elevation strategy. Find the books here:
This entry was posted in 1 - Mission Incomparable - The first rule is to make your own, 2 - Longing vs Belonging - The challenge is both, 4 - Behold! - The product as manifestation, 5 - Living the Dream - The bubble shall never burst, 7 - Moving with Gravitas - The king never hurries, PODCAST and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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