We had the good fortune of connecting with Valerie Bailey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Valerie, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Starting this business was my way of preparing for my second act.
As I inch closer to the end of a long successful career in education, I have paused many times to ask myself, “what’s next?” While some see retirement as a finish line, I have always known that it would simply be another milestone I pass on the way to my next big adventure. I’ll admit, until recently, I was never really sure what that next adventure would be. I only hoped that it would be something to give me purpose and bring joy.
My husband deserves all the credit for inspiring me to become an entrepreneur. He encouraged me to find a way to combine my passions, interests, and gifts to create a business, opposed to just considering a new retirement hobby. For a while, I was at a loss and completely overwhelmed by the thought of starting a business. What would I do? What could I do? It was truly a mystery to me and honestly a bit scary. But, in 2019, I came across something called luxury pop-up picnics while planning a fun tailgating picnic date for me and my husband and I became completely obsessed. Before I even understood what was happening, I had invested hours looking at pictures and studying the business side of things. With my long-time love for picnics, a background in planning small family events, and my desire to serve others, it could not have been more obvious that this was it. I had just stumbled into my second act. I found it, or maybe it found me. In either case, I couldn’t be more excited. I am building a future that gives me an opportunity to be creative and use my gifts to bring joy to others.
Like most new entrepreneurs, I’ve experienced the nerves, fear and doubt that often creep up when we step outside of our comfort zone to do a new thing. I’m choosing, however, to be vulnerable and to push myself to do hard and rewarding things. I figure the worst thing that can happen is, I learn and grow from the experience. The best thing that can happen is my business blossoms and succeeds in helping people cultivate an appetite for one of life’s simplest and most underrated pleasures, the picnic.
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?
Picnik Society is one of DFW’s newest luxury pop-up picnic companies. We are on a mission to create picnic experiences that pamper you and invite you to connect with your favorite people in a unique and meaningful way. When you book for a holiday, birthday, anniversary or just because, we’ll work hard to make sure your picnic is memorable and something you’ll want to do often. We deliver, set up and clean up so that you can relax, unwind and enjoy.
One thing that sets us apart from other pop-up picnic services is our unique design aesthetic. Our vibe boasts a sophisticated edit (or less dense styling) that honors the primary function of an old pastime and leaves room for what’s most important, you! Our neutral color palette also sets us apart. One of our color options has a slightly rebellious point of view – for when you want to make a bold statement. The other is more subdued, perfect for when you need to quiet your thoughts, sink deep in the moment and just be present. No matter what you’re in the mood for, we’ll strive to make you feel welcome and a sense of belonging.
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.
For a fun week with friends in DFW, I’d definitely jam-pack our itinerary with some hang time in a few of my favorite locales for exploring, dining, shopping and people watching. For an eclectic and artsy vibe, we’d venture to Bishop Arts District, Trinity Groves, and Deep Ellum. These neighborhoods never disappoint when you need to get out and discover something new. We’d be sure to include a brief pause at Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum because BBQ is always appropriate when visiting Dallas and Pecan Lodge is one of the best in the city. Legacy West in Plano is also on the itinerary. With some of the best patio seating, this hot spot is perfect for shopping and people watching. True Food Kitchen would be my patio of choice for lunch because their herb hummus and chopped salad have never let me down. At some point, we’d also make our way to The Colony’s Grandscape. In warm weather, the Grandscape outdoor stage features great musical entertainment. Then, there’s the new 180 ft Grandscape Wheel, which I’ve read rivals the Texas Star at Fair Park. It’s a must-do since I’ve yet to experience it. We’d also squeeze in a trip to The Star District in Frisco to catch a tour, explore the Ford Center, and hit up Cane Rosso for pizza and cocktails. Lastly, we’d wrap things up with a relaxing picnic at Klyde Warren Park to reflect on our busy and fun-filled week. After all, a picnic with the Dallas skyline as a backdrop is life, and that’s just how I roll.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I absolutely would not be the person I am today without the love, support, and guidance I’ve received from my family over the years. The truths my parents taught me about faith, good character, discipline, and gratitude are valuable principles that continue to guide me every day. They raised me to be a doer and to give my best in everything. So, without a doubt, this shoutout is dedicated to them. I also want to reiterate just how important my husband Ralph has been in my journey. He is what I like to call my Day One supporter, the one who has been by my side from the very beginning cheering me on, encouraging me to dream, and helping me turn my idea into a reality. I could not ask for a better partner or stronger support system.