Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Piette, Founder of Narrative Food, located in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
An award-winning Certified B Corp and member of 1% for the Planet. Narrative Food was founded in 2010. Always on the lookout for mindfully crafted small batch foods, we curate them into beautiful gift boxes. Narrative Food's mission is to support small-scale makers and increase our impact by giving back to nonprofits working to change the world. With a focus on creating custom gifts for discerning clients, we have a track record of creating gifts that wow both individuals and stakeholders at every level of a corporate or nonprofit organization.
From Boards of Directors of national Fortune 500 companies to high net worth donors from some of our favorite nonprofits to staff gifts, virtual event gifts, and more. Everyone loves beautiful small-batch foods.
Tell us about yourself
In 2010 I founded Narrative Food as a farm-to-table home delivery service, creating weekly boxes that included foods from all the food groups. The purpose was to give our customers a way to opt out of Big Food and support local, small-scale makers and growers from our community.
In February 2022, we pivoted the business to shelf stable gifts with a give-back model, shipping nationally. All of our gift boxes and individual pantry items give back to nonprofits, as well as share the stories of the makers and growers behind the foods we curate. With our new give-back model, we hope to support a wide range of nonprofits and makers whose products are in the boxes. This is a new impact model for us, and we are excited to share these boxes with a broader audience.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
During the pandemic, when we were still a farm-to-table home delivery business, we played an essential role in our community. We were able to support growers and makers whose other sources of income had to shut down (restaurants and farmers' markets), as well as distribute these boxes to about four times the amount of households as usual -- all the while navigating unprecedented supply chain disruptions, and keeping our team safe. I am very proud of the role we were able to play in our community during a terrifying time. Food is comfort, and many customers cooked their way through the pandemic!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
As a business owner, one of the hardest things is having to wear many hats and take responsibility for all your stakeholders. During the pandemic, I packed boxes with my team, scaling our activities in a concise time frame, paying the bills, keeping people safe, juggling orders, overseeing costs, taking risks, hiring employees, and fire-fighting the inevitable problems. It was a 24/7 job, and in a time of emergency, there's no way to find a good work/life balance. We were front-line workers during an international crisis. Any semblance of life/work balance goes out the window. You must ensure you eat, sleep, and keep going, every day...
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find a partner who complements your strengths so that you can share the responsibilities.
- Remember, there will always be problems that come up, but the magic is finding the solutions, figuring it out...
- Check and double-check everything.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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