2. When we look at your body of work, the first thing that comes to mind is you are such a go-getter and have so much drive. Where do you think your ambition comes from? And were you always this way?
My ambition comes from my family. My parents were both immigrants and left the Soviet Union. They came to the US with nothing. I remember hearing stories of my dad staying on the floor of someone’s kitchen. But later, he built his empire off food trucks. I learned from him to never take no for an answer and keep pushing the boundaries. He said to find a way to make money off anything you like. If your passion is making napkins, in this country there are so many opportunities, you can become another Kleenex; you can make a fortune off napkins!
Find your passion and figure out a way to make money of it. My mom wasn’t able to pursue her dreams because she got married and had kids, but she always pushed me to pursue my dreams. She was instrumental in my life because of this. My dad taught me to be business savvy. On summer vacations, I worked on the food trucks. They instilled in me a strong work ethic. When I turned 16, they told me to go get a job to learn the value of money.