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Cherry Bombe Celebrates Women in Food

How Kerry Diamond grew a community, a media company, and a stronger connection to her mission.

Kerry Diamond founded indie media company Cherry Bombe in 2013 as a passion project while juggling her roles as VP of Public Relations and Communications for Coach North America and restaurateur. With a background in fashion and beauty, her entry into the food industry opened her eyes to a need for celebrating women who stood out in this male-dominated space.

“I had come from this place where all my bosses were women, our customers were women, our readers were women, and I was like, ‘Women occupy an interesting role in the food world,’” she said. “I just knew that there were all these women whose stories weren't being told, and I wanted to change that.”

Here, we caught up with Kerry about building community, making a big impact with a small team, and the ethos she carried with her along the way. Here’s what we learned.

Involve your community

Cherry Bombe was grounded in community from the very beginning. A Kickstarter campaign helped fund the inaugural print issue. And as it evolved, they continued to rally collaboration among its band of followers. Readers can become card-carrying members of the “Bombesquad,” with access to exclusive perks like monthly members-only events, partner discounts, and spotlight opportunities to boot.

After reading in a 2013 Eater article that women were being left out of food conferences around the world, Kerry launched Cherry Bombe’s annual conference, Jubilee, in 2014 to give women an opportunity to network with people across the industry, hear from acclaimed speakers, and eat and imbibe great food and drink. What started as a small gathering of about 200 people grew to one of the largest gatherings in the US for women in the food space. In 2022, they hosted 750 attendees in New York City for their 9th in-person Jubilee.

With the launch of their podcast, Radio Cherry Bombe, the media company expanded their content offerings beyond just print to give more of a voice to “the most interesting people in the world of food.” When someone pitched the idea to start a podcast to Kerry, she didn’t even know what that was. Now, more than 400 episodes later, Radio Cherry Bombe has built a name for its thoughtful, approachable interviews with some of the biggest names in food.

Cherry Bombe has also involved readers in creating content, and the response has been tremendous: Kerry says the number of submissions has increased around 2-fold each time they’ve made open calls. Noting the hunger for women to have a voice in this industry, Kerry asked, “How do we facilitate that many people wanting to tell their stories?”

Communicate with intention

After Cherry Bombe’s launch, it gradually became clear to Kerry that even simple, straightforward marketing efforts could take the business a long way. For instance, more frequent website content could engage their audience in between releases. A smaller reliance on Instagram could offer a more secure and reliable line of communication with their audience. And then there’s Mailchimp.

Kerry has stuck with Mailchimp’s platform since 2014 for the ease-of-use, template options, and the ability to easily market products and track revenue through campaigns. But the secret sauce to their highly engaged email list lies in Cherry Bombe’s compelling, consistent content—stuff that readers are eager to receive in their inboxes.

“I know there's a lot more to it than just creating an email and sending it out into the world,” she said. “Everyone's so saturated with email right now, so we really do try to make everything we do super intentional. How do you have an email that’s so killer every week that everybody has to open it—that doesn’t feel like it’s another email I’m just going to delete?”

Everyone's so saturated with email right now, so we really do try to make everything we do super intentional. How do you have an email that’s so killer every week that everybody has to open it?

Kerry Diamond, founder of Cherry Bombe

Stay true to your North Star

At its core, the Bombesquad is a community of women who care about food—where it comes from, who grows it, and who's serving it. When Cherry Bombe launched almost a decade ago, they were part of a new wave of feminism breaking forth in the industry. Now, as the pandemic is introducing another disruptive moment in food, Cherry Bombe stays true to their original mission even as their impact continues to grow.

“I'm very happy for us to be this niche food events and media vehicle that stays true to its mission,” Kerry said. “We've had the same mission from day 1, and that's to celebrate women in and around the food space. It's been nice, through all the turmoil of the past few years, to have a mission because it really serves as our North Star. When we're not sure what to do, or how to respond to something, you know you can go back to the mission.”

Published: June 23, 2022

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