Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Talia Kalender, owner of All The Graze, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
All The Graze is a Toronto-based grazing company. We offer creative catering solutions for events, both in-person & virtual. What started off as just a grazing table business pre-pandemic we are now a grazing table, platter & box business, offering a wide variety of options for our clients depending on their needs. We believe all the senses must enjoy any food experience. We strive to make that a priority with every All The Graze offering. Our diverse client base has really pushed the boundaries of our company to what it is today. Whether it be a wedding, a virtual corporate event, or a date night in, we can do it all.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Talia, owner & founder of All The Graze. We established this business in the summer of 2019. I had shared with a friend the idea of starting something like this, and she graciously offered me my "big break." Her sister's engagement party was coming up in a few weeks, and she pitched the idea of me setting up a grazing table. The table was a hit, and three weeks later, I quit my full-time job (which I loved), knowing I wanted to build something for myself instead of working for someone else. In 2020 my sister jumped in with me, and we haven't looked back ever since. Almost three years later, we have pivoted the business to reflect the needs of our clients over and over again and have so much fun doing it.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Pivoting our business from grazing tables to grazing boxes & platters in such a short time was a huge accomplishment. We essentially had to build another business with a new business model. We built a new menu, began offering delivery, and discovered new vendors & suppliers, all within six weeks of March 2020. Once we got into the new groove of things, we built a great client base that continues to support us almost two years later. We are so grateful for all of our clients who have trusted us and who keep doing so. We would be nothing without them!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a business owner, you are the boss. If you aren't a business owner, that sounds great, but as a business owner, you really know what that role entails. For your business to succeed, it is very important to keep yourself accountable. This is something I am constantly working on. With no one to answer to (except for your clients), it is very easy to lack accountability and either prolong tasks or change your mind often. As someone who works well with accountability, I have had to discover tools that work well for me to not only stay on track but also push myself forward. Also, the grazing industry is still very new, especially when we started. Support & mentors, in the beginning, were few and hard to come by. Having to pave the way ourselves, we learned a lot, made lots of mistakes, but are more resilient now because of it. I'm a true believer in everything happening for a reason, and you just have to believe that your hardships are worth it if they get you closer to your goals.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Before I started All The Graze, I was under the notion that I had to be "ready" and needed to have all the elements of this business figured out before I started. However, after spending an afternoon with a family friend, she said to me, "Talia - don't wait. You don't need to have it all figured out right now. You have your idea and share that with the world; the rest will come." Best piece of advice I have received, and it is one I share with anyone who asks. The second would be to trust yourself. Deep down, you know what you want your business to be like and what you want to achieve. Once you have that, everything else will fall into place with hard work & consistency. Lastly, being aware of your limitations is important because limitations are simply a problem that hasn't been resolved yet. With enough effort and tenacity, any problem can be solved. We find ourselves saying "this too shall pass" -- a lot.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
All in all, as hard as the last three years have been, I wouldn't regret any of it. All The Graze has brought so much joy to so many people that it makes all the early mornings, long days & late nights worth it. Sharing our love of food with so many communities in our city is defiantly such a rewarding feeling.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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