I have enjoyed knowing and working with Christine for several years. Before COVID, she worked as the Director of Catering at the Straz Center of Performing Arts. During that time, I enjoyed working closely with her on an annual event, The Sustainable Buzz, that benefits the Sustany Foundation. This outdoor celebration featured local food, beer, and wine vendors lined up along the Riverwalk. With over 700+ attendees, this event was quite the production, so Christine and I stayed in constant communication throughout the event. Without her attention to detail and professionalism, the event wouldn’t have run so smoothly.
As people were making their way back to work post-COVID, Christine decided to make a career shift. It was also during this time she decided to start her own business, Charcuterie Oui!
Christine has an extensive background in hospitality and is a culinary school graduate. Her expertise with planning large events and her knowledge of food make her the perfect person to help with your next celebration or gathering!
Another aspect that I love about Christine is that she is a single mom to a beautiful daughter. As you all know, I have a HUGE soft spot and a special place in my heart for working mamas and especially those who own their own businesses! The hustle is real. Juggling so many things is tough, and I’m always in awe of these extraordinary ladies.
Scroll down for my interview with Christine…
Christine, tell me a bit about yourself and your family.
I am a Tampa native-born and raised. A fun fact I’ve never seen snow! I’m the doting mom to a wonderful 12-year-old daughter named Ella. When we are not working or at school, we can be found at the softball fields or the Stables where she rides horses. Outside of that, one of my favorite things to do is craft. I’m particularly fond of epoxy; I use this to create custom tumblers and Charcuterie Boards.
Your business is still in the beginning/growing phase and that’s such an exciting time! What exactly is your business and what products do you offer?
Yes, it absolutely is an exciting time! I recently launched Charcuterie Oui, servicing all your Charcuterie needs. For example, Classic Charcuterie Displays, Bougie Boxes, Custom Charcuterie Boards, and Lavish Grazing Tables.
When did you start your company and who are your clients?
I launched in February of 2021. My clients range from couples wanting something extra special for their cocktail hour before their wedding reception to party hosts wanting to feature something “instagramable” at their event.
Where can we find samples of your services/work?
What is your background, and what was your career/job before this?
I am a culinary school graduate. Immediately after graduating, I went to work on a cruise ship. From there, I had the good fortune to continue to advance in my career. For the last five years, I was the Director of Catering for an extensive Performing Arts Center in Central Florida. During my time at the center, I had the honor of hosting some of the most significant corporate and social gatherings in this region. It was truly a remarkable experience.
What made you want to change careers/direction and start your own company?
Well, to be honest, this business may have never come to fruition if COVID hadn’t turn my professional life upside down. COVID put an end to my job, and after that happened, I decided to take matters into my own hands. It was time to work for myself. So, I asked myself, what would I do for fun but could also get paid to do? That was a no brainer, CHARCUTERIE!
I know being a working mom has its challenges, while juggling work and home/family life. What challenges do you face? Any advice or secrets you can share?
Like many of us have experienced lately, when you work from home, you work longer hours than you ever did at the office. So, I make a schedule and stick to it. I have to be sure to maintain a stable work-life balance.
What is your favorite part about owning your own business?
The freedom! Everything from creative direction to deciding my own schedule. It is so liberating.
What advice do you have for anyone who is thinking of starting their own business/branching out on their own?
Do it! Do it, but put a solid plan in place. This plan should include a timeline; this will help keep you accountable. This timeline should also be realistic. If it is too accelerated, you may miss achievement goals and become discouraged. Plan, execute, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
I remember working full time while growing my business. I know working late nights and, on the weekends can be difficult while working a 40+ hour job as well, but it’s worth it! What are your thoughts on this?
It’s absolutely worth it! I love a challenge, and this adventure has certainly been challenging but equally, if not more rewarding!
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned so far, working for yourself?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned, my daughter is watching me every step of the way! She is so proud of me. From logo design, web development, creating price points in excel and determining my target food cost percentage. That is all the motivation I need to make sure this business is a success!
Questions, comments or feedback on this article? Comment below or contact us! We would love to hear from you. Curious why we love our local revivalists and support small businesses so much? Read 6 Reasons We Love Supporting Small Business.