When it came to following her father's dream of opening a family business, Jen Prado was willing to risk it all. Quitting her high-powered job as a Wall Street executive, she and husband Jesse Klee set out on the adventure of a lifetime as they bet on themselves to open their very own brigadeiros business Klado, bringing the Brazilian treats from Prado's childhood to the streets of New Jersey and beyond.
Their journey, plus that of five other business owners who gave up their 9-to-5 jobs to follow their passions, will be chronicled on Discovery's new show, I Quit, premiering Tuesday, Aug. 18. Ahead of the premiere, Prado and Klee sat down for an interview on PopCulture @ Home, revealing just how much work went into taking this leap together.
"It was something that every day I'd wake up like, 'You know, there has to be more.' I want to just do something different," Prado told PopCulture. "And unfortunately, my dad ended up getting very sick [with two kinds of cancer]. So with that, it was kind of like the catalyst for me to say ... I'm going to eventually leave." Putting together a business plan with her husband, the two saved their pennies until the day came where Prado could say those two words to her boss — "I quit."
Klee admits the proposal to completely change their lives together needed "a little bit of convincing," but after seeing the "toll" his wife's career was taking on her health, both mental and physical, he was all in. "You can't get that kind of sickness from work, and we realized this isn't sustainable," he explains. "I love this person. ... And so then I didn't need that much convincing after that. It was just a matter of planning, doing a little financial shifting around and thinking about what the end result would want to ultimately be."
The two settled on making brigadeiros, a Brazilian truffle Prado had made Klee when they first started dating. "It was one of those things that I'm sharing a piece of my childhood, and I ignorantly just thought everyone knows what brigadeiros is!" Prado explains. Tying the focus of her new business to her family was another way to pay tribute to Prado's father, whom she describes as a "dreamer" who was always pursuing a new endeavor. "I just thought my dad is eccentric, and little did I know, I had so much of my father's entrepreneurship spirit that suddenly woke up," she continues.
In the days surrounding her major declaration, Prado recalls she had nightmares that she had made the wrong choice. "Oh no, I'm leaving a very steady job, it pays well and to go pursue something that may or may not work out, the risks are enormous" she remembers worrying. "But at the same time, I was so excited. For the first time I felt free. That I'm happy and healthy. It's been probably the best decision I've ever made."
Today, with Klado continuing to expand its operations in the tri-state area, Prado has only one regret. "I wish I would have left five years ago," she tells PopCulture. "I wish I wouldn't have waited so long." She added to people who are thinking about making a similar leap in their life to "absolutely" go for it, even if it takes a while to set up financially or to make full-time.
"I think it's also important to know it's that you don't have to just jump without a plan, make a plan!" Klee adds. "And it doesn't mean you have to do it tomorrow, even better, plan a little bit and then take that leap, because it's not like you just jump into the deep end. You plan, you dip your toe in the water, you go a little bit more. And I think it's just a process there. So I hope that's inspiring to people."
Don't miss the rest of Klado's journey on I Quit, premiering Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery. In subsequent weeks, the show will air at the 9 p.m. ET time slot. For more about your favorite Discovery shows from PopCulture, click here.