Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Le Blanc and Andrew Kupke.
Lauren and Andrew, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Andrew: I moved to Providence from Central Florida to attend Johnson and Wales and ended up staying up here. After working in a variety of different food jobs at different levels I had gotten to the point where I really wanted to do something on my own. I’ve always liked dabbling with simple items made from scratch and we figured why don’t we try and recreate all these snack type foods that people use to fill their basic holiday cheese board.
Lauren: Growing up by the beach and having a father that is a maker and designer, the idea of doing things local and immersing myself in some form of art was always present. I would spend countless hours at my dad’s architecture office playing with all types of fabric and material samples. Texture and color has always worked its way into my life and work. I pursued art by attending University of the Arts in Philadelphia for Jewelry & Metasmithing, and after owning a gallery/artist studio shop of my own, made my way to Providence and made Jewelry my career.
Experimenting with cooking quickly became my creative outlet and was no sooner doing a variety of parties for friends and families for fun. Through mutual friends and lots of summer backyard meetings, we decided to make it a real deal. I think the fact we found our love of food and presentation from different directions helps keep us focused on building an alternative catering company. The opening of Pilotworks in Providence really helped to seal the deal. We immediately felt at home in this community of like-minded creative people. We both still have full time jobs in our respected fields, but recipe testing, bouncing around to events and “prop” shopping consume most of our free time.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Andrew: Honestly, it has been a pretty smooth road in my opinion. Since this is my first endeavor at owning a small business there was quite a bit that I needed to familiarize myself with, mainly on the financial side, but I think we both found that researching and doing it ourselves really helped us to understand what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go with what we are building.
Lauren: Everyday we’re learning new facets of what it is to run a small business. Because we come from two very different backgrounds we make it a point bounce idea both creative and business of each other. The same method is used with each client to ensure the truest result. There’s always second guessing, confusing business words and frustrating situations, but working towards making this passion project a real future is very rewarding.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Andrew: We specialize in curated, hand-made tablescapes featuring local products and goods as much as possible. From the crackers to the dips, spreads, and sweets we make as much as we can in house and the rest, cured meats for example, we try and source as locally as possible. We then use our inventory of dishes and serving vessels to individualize your event, making sure that it will not only taste delicious, but look stunning as well. As a company we are really proud that we make as much as we can ourselves. Testing different items, like crackers, can be time consuming, but the shock on someone’s face when they eat it and ask where we got it is worth it! The idea of a traditional catering company was never on our minds and we wanted to present food in a different way. We understand that there is more involved with an event than just delivering and setting up food and that each client has a different aesthetic, which we try and match as much as possible.
Lauren: We strive to use quality food items, and enjoy the process of making the basics like a good cracker or pickle and controlling something like the shape or color that it can be. We plan our menus together and start having conversations about what the spread is going to look like and what seasonal items we are most excited about. We want to create fluid and unique food options for our clients by making sure everything like bowls and boards used to serve the food are cohesive with the type of event and if that bowl or board is made by a local artist even better.
What were you like growing up?
Andrew: I was very independent and had a vivid imagination. As a child I always wanted to do everything by myself and was always off in my own head somewhere, which luckily I grew out of. I also loved to watch my mother cook, always helping when I could. I think that really laid a foundation that I think all young people should have. I definitely did not see myself owning a food-related business though and quite a few twists of fate brought me to where I am today.
Lauren: My parents always gave me the freedom to pursue any kind of art or creative outlet I was interested in, even if it was fleeting. After moving schools at the awkward high-school age, I quickly fell into the art program in my school. I knew instantly I would follow this through high school. Working in retail (specifically jewelry) helped focus my love of display and design. The visual merchandising part of the job was always so fun to me. I was always pretty quiet and still love filling my free time learning new skills or techniques. If it sounds interesting, I like to try my hand at it first before saying I can’t do it. When starting this business, I took that approach; prior to this I was wanting to learn more graphic and web design.
- Website: www.brownpaperbounty.com
- Email: Brownpaperbounty@gmail.com
- Instagram: @brownpaperbounty
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Brownpaperbounty/
John Hesselbarth of Apparition