Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nicole Vanderburg, founder of Beyond Gouda, located in Denver, CO, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Beyond Gouda is a charcuterie catering company based out of Denver, Colorado. We specialize in charcuterie gift boxes, grazing tables, and charcuterie workshops. We cater to all types of parties: holiday parties, bachelorette parties, birthday parties, and even office events. Our public, ticket-only workshops take place in pop-up locations around Denver and feature different local beverages. We even sell individual “Ski-cuterie” for the slope-goers and après lovers - something we’re about to make year-round.. (shh!)
Tell us about yourself
I have always loved hosting dinner parties and providing extravagant displays of food. I admire when a food array is aesthetically pleasing, and that is exactly what charcuterie boards are about. Each board is a blank slate with free reign to gather ingredients and design them to taste good together. I get to work with my clients to build their dream board, whether it includes favorite ingredients, dietary restrictions, or themes for the occasion. And then I get to share my skills and knowledge at our workshops to teach them how to do it themselves! Accommodating my clients and building relationships with them to ensure they can rely on Beyond Gouda is what motivates me every day.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
For now (because the best is always yet to come!), I’d say my biggest accomplishment was being able to work around the pandemic. Right off the bat, I had to begin and grow my business on contactless delivery and not offer grazing tables or large catering options. While a lot of restaurants were immediately shut down and converted to take-out options, I had to market myself as an easily accessible and safe choice. Surprisingly enough, it worked out extremely well! I grew most of my client base during the pandemic. I advertised my safety and health precautions and zero-contact delivery. I could not be more grateful for my customers during this time.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The competition and the work! Especially considering the ever-rising percentage of small businesses, it’s hard not to compare yourself to those that are conducting the same line of work. Of course, it also helps to see how you can differentiate from everyone, but you must be quick to take that action. You must have the mindset, tools, and financials to build your brand in the competing market as a trailblazer. However, I will say that many other small businesses are very supportive in terms of providing advice, sharing resources, or partnering in some way. And, of course, the workload as a solopreneur can be overwhelming during the beginning stages. Super important to follow my third tip below :)
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Engage and network. If you don’t love it, change it. Maintain a work-life balance. Finding different groups and communities to network in is so important. This provides you a way to expand your clientele, find helpful resources, and potentially grow your business in new ways. I believe in changing your business model if you do not love it. You are already investing so much time and money into your idea, so if you do not love it full-heartedly, consider changing it up a little! Lastly, if you can’t maintain a work-life balance… you will get burnt out, stressed, or eventually overwhelmed. Make time for yourself, your hobbies, health, friends, and family.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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