Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mary Beth Pinckney, Owner of Twig + Table, located in Lincoln, NE, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Twig + Table is an elevated dinner party experience and handcrafted dinnerware. Serving the fine folks of Eastern Nebraska, I offer a couple of different services: Date Night (for two), Private Group Dinner Parties, and, new in 2023, Ticketed Experiences. Date Nights were my first offering during the pandemic. This allowed folks to get out of the house, enjoy date night again, feel safe, and support local bars and restaurants. It's an outdoor sunset dinner, with your favorite meal, from your favorite local places with your favorite person.
Private Group Dinner Parties are very similar in nature to the Date Night experience but for groups of 8 or more, typically for special occasions, i.e., birthdays, team building, bridal showers, etc.
Ticketed Experiences are new in 2023. These are going to be open to the public, where folks can purchase their seat at the table for a dinner party that is truly one of a kind! Featuring local emerging chefs, beautiful Nebraska scenery, and an experience you can't get anywhere else.
In addition to Dinner Party experiences, I also create pottery - dinnerware, to be more specific. From plates and platters to vases and napkin ring holders, fully outfitting a table from top to bottom. Dinnerware is an extension of Twig + Table that you can use in your own home.
Tell us about yourself
The idea for Twig + Table came during the second lockdown in late 2020. At the time, I was working for a small tech company as a Client Success Manager and doing pottery on the side. Since I would be spending the Thanksgiving holiday alone, I set a charming table for one. The idea itself felt like divine inspiration. Out of nowhere, the entire business concept flashed before my mashed potatoes. Immediately I grabbed my notebook and started to madly-scribe how this would all work.
I should mention, prior to the pandemic, I was known to host a dinner party for my friends whenever the occasion or mood struck. The idea felt so easy to implement - I had plenty of necessary materials already on hand. At the time, I was actively building a pottery business in my small pottery studio in my basement. Creating vases, platters, plates, and napkin ring holders, all things one needs for the table setting. It made sense to combine both creative passions into one brand.
Today, I'm no longer working for the tech company. I have a part-time job bartending. The experiences side for Twig + Table happens more so in the spring, summer, and fall. Leaving winter the perfect season to create pottery and build up an inventory (to sell) and stock (to use) for those dinner party experiences later in the year.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment doesn't sound like or feel like anything huge - it's actually quite small. It's asking for help when I need it, it's staying dedicated when I don't want to be, and working on a project when there is no deadline. It's in those small moments of showing up for myself and my business that matter the most.
Oftentimes, it looks like getting everything unloaded, cleaned, washed, and put away at the end of a very long event day when I'm already exhausted just so that I don't have to do it the next day. Very few folks get to witness this - but it does it for me. And it feels sooo good!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Perfectionism. Self-criticism can, and often does, overshadow moments of celebration. I am learning to be okay with doing my best, but it also fuels me to be better - it's a double edge sword. I'm learning to use it in a healthy/productive way.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make friends with folks who are also in business for themselves. They will have experiences, viewpoints, ideas, and connections you don't have. They will come in handy.
- Plan for and pay your taxes. Hire someone if you need to.
- Finally, remember that anyone can start a business, but it is up to you to make it as successful as you want it to be. You get to decide what level you are most comfortable with, so be sure to plan for it.
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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