We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenna Reeve and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenna, how do you think about risk?
I love this question about taking a risk because to grow and have a major success you must take a risk. Without taking risks, I would have never started up my small charcuterie business, Graze with Jenna which has changed my life in a positive way. I will admit, I have always been the type to remain in a comfortable situation opposed to taking risks in fear of the “what ifs”, like failure. Like a lot of people in 2020, I was put in a situation of unexpected change which allowed me the time to reassess my future and what I genuinely want. I have always gotten the most pleasure out of interaction with people and making them happy. I am an extremely thoughtful person who thinks about the little things to make someone smile. I have been considered the go-to person when it comes to planning special events or travel arrangements because I always go above and beyond with the details. With the social distancing change in 2020, I had to think hard about how I could continue to keep smiles on people’s faces without the usual interaction in a celebratory gathering. One thing I have always been good at is hosting parties and providing an eye appealing spread, so charcuterie was one of the things that came to mind right away. It is trending right now, and I know everyone loves food, especially if it is picture worthy! When I officially made the decision, I wanted to start a charcuterie business, I knew it was something I would need to do quickly before I changed my mind and let the negative aspects of risk weigh on me. I spent days researching exactly what I needed to do to start my own business. I quickly thought of a name, designed a logo, made a website, business cards and social media pages and started buying all the supplies I knew I would need. I launched Graze with Jenna on October 27, 2020 and have been growing at a decent pace and could not be happier that I made the risk to move forward with opening my own business. As we know life can be short and unpredictable and if we do not take risks, we can not become the best versions of ourselves.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Graze with Jenna is a small business including charcuterie grazing boxes personally delivered by me to someone’s home or special event in the Dallas area. Every box is different, and I personally tailor each box to the occasion by adding little touches. For example, using cheese letters reading Happy Birthday or cutting the meat and cheese into fun shapes that represent something about the event or the person. I knew when I started this charcuterie business, I would need to do something different to make my boxes stand out. I decided my niche would be my homemade pasta salad. For many years, my pasta salad has been a huge hit at parties so I knew it would be perfect to add to my boxes, therefor every box that goes out has my homemade pasta salad and there is an option to add a mason jar of it. Customers who have tried the pasta salad in a box and reordered typically order the mason jar the next time because it is that good! The other thing that sets me apart is no matter what size box someone orders the crackers and honey go into a separate box to allow for more of the good stuff in the main box. This also ensures the crackers will not get soggy or stale being in the main box. Customers always appreciate this and with that being said, I absolutely love hearing from my customers after an order. The reactions of people enjoying the grazing boxes are my favorite part about this business. When I hear how much the grazing box was enjoyed and it thoroughly made someone’s day it solidifies exactly why I started this business and adds to my joy of making the charcuterie boxes! The biggest lesson I have learned with this business is time management. Which is funny for me to say because I am a very punctual person and have always been exceptionally good at time management. However, business taking off at a rapid speed when this is something, I have never done in mass production has been a daily lesson learned of timing! When I am running late it seriously stresses me out! I want this business to remain fun and not stress over time so I have had to learn new ways to pre-plan and make sure I know exactly how much I can fit into one day. There is not a lot of prep you can do when it comes to charcuterie, each box needs to be fresh and made the day of the order. However, if I know I have a busy day coming up with 10 orders, I make sure every box is put together the day before (without the food) and all the supplies I will need are readily available on my workstation. I also pre-plan my map of deliveries making sure I am not doing a lot of driving back and forth and geographically making deliveries wisely. I have also learned to set delivery time windows in 3-hour increments opposed to a 1-hour time slots, since many things can come into play causing me to not make it within that hour I designated for delivery. One of the things I am most proud of are my marketing skills. I have gained 1,800 followers on Instagram in less than 3 months and it is flattering to know that many people want to follow along with me on this journey. Social media is crucial to every business’s success and I am glad I have always excelled in this area. I love interacting with people on social media and seeing how excited people get when I make a new post showcasing a new box. Overall, spreading joy and smiles is all I want to do, and this charcuterie business has allowed me to do exactly that. Almost every customer texts me after the fact about how much they loved their box and cannot wait to order again. That is exactly when I know my job is done!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There is no doubt about it that I love Dallas and all it has to offer. Our city has so much opportunity and unbelievable number of things to do. Pre-covid there is no doubt I would recommend visiting at least one of the stadiums to attend a game, like the American Airlines center for the Mavs or Stars games, or the Texas Rangers Stadium or the AT&T stadium for a Cowboys Game. However, if my best friend were coming in town for the weekend my itinerary would include brunch at Gloria’s, Oddfellows or 303 Bar & Grille. Walking around Bishop arts to shop and listen to live music is a must. Especially, Revelers Hall for the Jazz music on the weekends which makes you feel like you have been transported to New Orleans. Other things on the agenda would include, The Rustic in uptown, for its Texas back-yard atmosphere, amazing food, and live music. The Dallas Aquarium is a spot I always recommend to out of towners who have never been. Tipsy Alchemist is the perfect evening spot to enjoy the best craft cocktails in Dallas. A must mention new area on my list of recommended spots is, The Grandscape in the Colony! There are so many fun things to do here and it’s like its own little city including a number of restaurants, a music venue, ice cream shops, boutique shops, coffee shops, a winery, a huge sporting store and Andretti’s including indoor karting and games. You can spend the day at Grandscape having a blast but one hidden gem that is not in Grandscape but very close by is El Patio. This is a must visit restaurant that is family owned and has the best of Texas and Mexico in one. They have the best carne asada fajitas in the area! Lastly, the Star in Frisco is another recommended area as there is so much to see and do here. I highly recommend The Common Table for brunch and then checking out everything else the Star has to offer. I could go on but I’ll end this here as my most recent favorite things to do in the Dallas area.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to dedicate my shout out to two people who helped me gain exposure by being kind enough to put together vendor markets including small business owners in the DFW area. The first person is Taylor Rodrigues, the owner of Happily Ever Crafty. Taylor nominated me for this shout out and I could not be more flattered that she wanted to recognize my new small business. In this cutthroat world you come across a lot of people who do not want to showcase other people’s success and Taylor is the opposite of that. She loves to see people succeed and will assist in making sure you do so. The next person is Tina Ames the owner of Sweet Home Bath & Body in Plano. She is genuinely so kind and wants to see other small business owners succeed. I was lucky enough to be a part of a small vendor market she put together including 10 women owned businesses. Tina put a lot of time and effort into this event to make it a successful one which gained a lot of repeat customers for me. It’s women like these that show love & encouragement to everyone make this world a more positive place.
Brianne Reeve, Breezyrphotography