We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathan Batiste and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jonathan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
During my career path, I’ve always seen and vision myself managing my own business. To do that, I had to take paths to develop my skills and experience. With any business, you have to have a plan or structure on how you want to pursue it. I had decided that I wanted to run my own business in 2015. I was already in management now, so I went to pursue my bachelor’s in business management then later completing with my master’s in business administration. This would also help me gain the knowledge I needed to set up a business structure, such as tools I needed to be successful, learn the logistics of it all. next, create a business plan. This helped me form and outline my business. Working in the retail industry has molded me into the leadership roles I needed to take to run my own event corporation. I knew it would be a long journey ahead. I always enjoyed entertaining. Whether it was a family gathering are hanging out with friends, they would say that I was the life of the party. I choose this career path of events and weddings because I have a passion for creating a space for special occasions or catering food filling their stomachs with delicious southern soul food or baking something sweet, giving them those memorable moments of great hospitality. Starting something is always tough. The key is to start somewhere thinking about it or saying it is just not enough. Having people around you that are supportive and encouraging very important. In business, it’s also great to have mentors you can ask questions to; never being afraid to ask a question to help understand ways to accomplish your goals is something I also had to learn. Still to this day, I’m learning, but as an entrepreneur, you are faced with wearing all the hats of the business until it’s time to distribute the duty and responsibilities to someone else. All those tasks and jobs can become challenging, but my main job is always to deliver and give clients and customers great service. Keeping them informed is what they appreciate the most. There are four things you should have in business. These should be familiar pillars, mission, vision, and values. With any business, there are also three things you should consider SPG service, product, giving-back. My main goal is to have a venue to host events, weddings and have a place to give back to our communities, such as food drives, community outreach programs, and other great causes to raise awareness. Forming these ideas and incentives are great ways to building a foundation for your business. I could go on and on, but SWOTT strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat are one more important factor. Knowing this will help build on what the business does well and the areas that can be more effective. There are so many tools and resources that are helpful but also true to yourself and your business.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
J. Batiste Events & Catering provides professional hospitality services to all types of events, special occasions, events, and weddings. This is the top tier of my business, catering to large events mostly. Alongside that, I have Nann’s Sweet Treats providing all your sweet tooth needs, from special occasion treats such as baby showers, bridal, birthdays, and more. I specialize in cakes as well as wedding cakes. I named Nann’s after my grandmother, my mother’s mom Hilda. My grandmother loved to bake. She would always bake these tarts and put a piece of love in every bite. under that. I also have J.Batiste Southern Soul, which was created during the pandemic. This year I’m celebrating one year of service. J. Batiste Southern Soul serves daily plate lunches, specials as well as catering for events and weddings. I will be opening the food truck this upcoming year, serving all your southern Louisiana cuisine; inside this, I have a brand call Talk-Ta-Me BOOGIE’S Backyard BBQ Sauces & Spices. Lastly, J. Batiste Photography capturing memorable moments in time. What sets me apart from other vendors is with my business, you get everything in one package. When you plan an event or wedding, you have to do so much that you have to do and consider. I want to make it as stress-free as possible for clients and brides. I have a passion for what I do, entertaining and showing the elegance of graceful hospitality. The joy and the look on the client’s face that excites me seeing their face of awe let me know that I exceeded their expectations. It hasn’t been easy starting a business. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. For me, it started as a dream of owning my own venue where I would be the executive director and chef, hosting all types of events, parties, weddings for all occasions. Following that path, I went into retail to gain some experience working, climbing my way into management which later finding my way back into college for business management then later in business administration. This would give me the knowledge, skills, and training I would need to run my own business. There were many challenges that I had to face in the retail industry, many of which taught me what type of manager I wanted to be and what type of person I didn’t want to be. Management is not easy by any means. Still, it could be rewarding if you are consistent. Overcoming these challenges was not easy, but having a person of leadership or a friend to mentor you and guide you through your rough moments helped as well as developed me to be a better leader.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many great places to visit here in Dallas. One of my favorites is the state fair. being a cook, I still love to enjoy different food and cultures. If I were taking them out, I would have to say my three spots would be Deep Ellum, Happiest Hour, and Park Ave. It’s so many great places to experience in Dallas. I would say if your coming for a week’s stay is prepared to have a good time. Traveling really depends on what you’re going for or who you are traveling with, that makes the trip.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My career wouldn’t be what it is without the love and support of my family. I dedicate this shoutout to my parents and my brother. I didn’t know where or what I wanted to do many times throughout my life, following the wrong crowds. Being judged and criticized for who I was as an individual. Finding what I wanted to be and do took me a very long time. My brother has been one of the biggest role models in my life. His wise words and efforts had mentored me even when I didn’t want to hear it; he was the one that I looked up to growing up. Next would be my parents without their encouragement, as well as their efforts and sacrifices they both have taken to ensure that I’ve had an education. All the late nights, my mom stayed up with me to make sure I did my academic studies during my young adult life. I’m so grateful for her push I was a student that learned a bit differently than others. She took her time; even though I wasn’t a person who loved school, she would tell me so often that you will not get far without an education. After completing High school, I attended Louisiana Technical College-Lafayette Campus, Graduating with a Culinary-Arts Degree. During this time, I followed in my dad’s footprints. He is a retired chef for over twenty-plus years in the industry, watching him cook many of his favorites. Learning the art of cooking and baking inspired me. So Moving straight into the industry, I later decided that I wanted to do more with my creativity after seven years of being out of school working in the retail and culinary industries. Besides deciding to work for yourself, finishing school was the most important decision I’ve made for myself that contributed to my success. Attending the University of Phoenix in 2015 earning my bachelor’s in business management in 2018, then later finishing with my MBA Master’s Business Administration during the Pandemic of 2020, the most challenging time we all had to face as a country. Some friends have been there during the lowest times in my career. I often wanted to throw in the towel and quit. Their encouragement and support were always a reminder that there will be many roads ahead, some tougher than others, but giving up was not an option. It’s what they would say; that would be just what I needed to hear to continue. My career has taken me in so many directions over the years, but what I can tell you is, hard work, education, persistence, and dedication are what have carried me thus far, not allowing (no or I cannot) to be the reality.
Kevin Magee (Klance Photography) Jonathan Batiste (J. Batiste Photography) Marvin Blue Photography