Small New York business, Perfect Picnic, thriving despite pandemic

  • Wendy Weston is the proprietor of Perfect Picnic, a luxurious picnic firm based mostly in New York City.
  • In order to juggle work and being a single mother, Weston commutes biweekly for 4 hours between Cape Cod and New York City, to spend time together with her daughter and keep working full-time. 
  • Weston dove again into the sector in 2020, organising picnics outside herself, to assist her group and enterprise survive. 
  • She shared with Business Insider each day habits and hacks that hold her firm thriving higher than ever through the pandemic, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for extra tales.

Ever since Wendy Weston launched her luxurious picnic firm, Perfect Picnic, in 2011, she’s had one main objective: “I want to own the picnic as a brand, like Kleenex owns bathroom tissue,” she informed Business Insider. “Nobody owns the picnic.” 

She began Perfect Picnic as an online-only service that took orders for premade baskets, elevated snack meals (like tiny baguette sandwiches she calls “Baguettinis”), catering, and her largest draw of all, her “picnic experiences.” 

The experiences vary in value from $375 for the Gold Picnic — which features a charcuterie board and setup ready at a park in New York City — to $eight,300 for a Hamptons helicopter experience to a picnic on a seaside. She additionally affords extra particularly tailor-made picnics, just like the Brunch Picnic for $385, the Proposal Picnic for $425, and The Citarella Seafood Experience for $725. 

Each “experience” is about up forward of time, full with blankets, parasols, flowers, plates and glassware. 

But what Weston wasn’t anticipating was for her enterprise to not solely survive the pandemic in New York City, however to thrive in it. 

“My gut just kept telling me if we closed, we’re done,” mentioned Weston. So she stored her enterprise up and working. “One of the reasons why I was able to stay open was because of the commitment of my team,” she added. 

While the coronavirus was at it is worst within the metropolis in March, April, and May, Perfect Picnic was in a position to survive as a result of she pivoted her focus to delivering meals to well being care staff and folks in want. 

“We delivered over 11,000 meals,” she mentioned. 

Then the summer time months got here, quarantine restrictions lifted, and she or he noticed a spike in demand for her picnic experiences. The development seemingly picked up steam since specialists agree that consuming outside is without doubt one of the most secure actions to keep away from spreading the virus.

“We were fortunate. We always had a pretty good, strong New York base,” mentioned Weston. “But this season, people are going a little bit higher end because I think people are really looking to do something special.” 

Now, Weston has already exceeded her complete and internet income from the identical year-to-date interval final 12 months, in line with her financials that have been reviewed by Business Insider. And she expects to finish the 12 months at the very least 5% up from 2019. 

“I think in this time, people really, really miss their favorite New York City restaurant and the whole dining experience,” mentioned Weston. “So we are able to elevate that for them and really make it special.” 

As Weston rides out the pandemic, splitting time between her Lower East Side condominium and her cottage home in Cape Cod together with her 12-year-old daughter Ruby, the one mother broke down for Business Insider how she retains her enterprise afloat and doing higher than ever. 

6 a.m. to 7 a.m. 

After sleeping for six hours, Wendy Weston begins her day at 6 a.m. and wakes up her 12-year-old daughter, Ruby, at her cottage home in Cape Cod. The pair prepare for his or her days and eat breakfast. 

Weston likes to maintain her meals routine. “When I find one thing I like to eat, I eat it every day,” she informed Business Insider. Right now her favourite breakfast meal is tomatoes and avocado lower up with a balsamic glaze, salt, and pepper. “There’s really nothing better than a balsamic glaze,” she added. 

7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. 

Weston drops her daughter off at her sister’s home in Cape Cod and says, “Goodbye.” 

Wendy Weston daughter

Wendy Weston (R) together with her daughter, Ruby.

Wendy Weston

When the pandemic began, Weston took her daughter, Ruby, north to get her out of town. Now, she’s enrolled on the Cape Cod Academy and lives with Weston’s sister. Weston visits on the weekends and at the very least as soon as through the week.

“I’m originally from Cape Cod, and we have a little escape shack there,” mentioned Weston. “So on April 6th, I took my daughter to the cape and she’s been there ever since. So I drive back and forth twice a week.” 

7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. 

After dropping her daughter off, Weston hits the street for a four-hour commute to New York City and fields telephone calls with shoppers. 

Wendy Weston driving photo

Wendy Weston

Weston commutes from Cape Cod to her brick-and-mortar storefront on the Upper West Side.

After scarfing down a banana, she begins by solidifying bookings with potential new shoppers round eight a.m.

First up was a 40th party, then a company occasion for a tech firm, after which she clinched the deal on a partnership with an journey firm.

At 10 a.m., she additionally made preparations to arrange reward baskets for an organization sending “thank yous” to workers.

It’s essential for Weston to maintain working all through her commute. “I don’t have a lot of free time,” mentioned Weston. “And since I spend so much time on the highway driving, it’s a quiet time for me to focus.” 

11:30 a.m. to three:30 p.m. 

At 11:30 a.m., Weston lastly arrives at her Perfect Picnic retailer on 405 Central Park West. 

Wendy Weston of Perfect Picnic

Weston promoting meals to a buyer.

Wendy Weston

As quickly as Weston walks via the doorways, she begins promoting her grab-and-go picnic baskets and meals to prospects strolling in. “Baskets are selling like crazy because picnics are a big Instagram thing!” She mentioned.

Then she calls a fast assembly together with her workers of 10 workers to go over the orders for the day. This day, they needed to reschedule a picnic at Central Park on the fly as a result of wet climate. She additionally heads to her workplace for an hour of payroll and submitting orders. 

three:30 p.m. to six p.m. 

In the afternoon, Weston drives to Liberty State Park in New Jersey to arrange a picnic by herself. 

Wendy Weston setting up a picnic

Weston units up a picnic at Liberty State Park.

Wendy Weston

In years previous, Weston did not usually arrange picnics herself, however she determined to get again into it through the pandemic with the intention to lower prices and assist her workers.

“I was back in the field the entire season, which was great,” mentioned Weston.  “One, financially, I’m willing to do anything it takes, I mean, that’s for sure. And I have that little bit of being like an athlete. I’m literally willing to do anything to help.” 

She’s additionally prepared to go that additional mile for a loyal consumer. 

“I actually typically do not go that far away,” she mentioned. “But there is a company that it’s their third year they’ve done an event with us. So when she asked me, I was like, ‘Sure, happy to do it.'” 

Weston forgot her wagon, so she lugged the meals and setup for the American occasions bundle —which incorporates 25 folks — herself. 

6 p.m. to eight p.m. 

Weston spent about an hour breaking down the picnic and cleansing up. 

Wendy Weston picnic

Weston’s picnic at Liberty State Park.

Wendy Weston

Even after an extended day of labor, Weston does not neglect to understand the small issues. On her hour-long drive again house, she spent a second taking in the fantastic thing about her environment and the Statue of Liberty. 

“All of a sudden, I was like driving, and it was like right there. I didn’t know I was that close,” she mentioned. “It was crazy and it just felt like a very New York moment. You have to appreciate that.” 

eight p.m. to 11 p.m. 

Weston lastly will get house to her Lower East Side condominium to unwind and spend some digital video time together with her daughter. 

She begins by FaceTiming together with her daughter to compensate for their days and assist out with homework. 

“She doesn’t always need my help, but sometimes, she just loves to write, so she’ll just want me to hear what she wrote,” mentioned Weston. 

After by accident skipping lunch, Weston additionally orders some sushi for dinner and works on her picnic schedule for the weekend.

11 p.m. to midnight

She finishes off her night with some TV. 

“I watched an episode of The Voice and rewatched Justin Bieber on Saturday Night Live … so good!” She mentioned. 

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