For her in-laws, it was an offer they couldn’t refuse: Son asks dream girl for a happily ever after; dream girl says, “Of course;” and bride-to-be counters with a new business venture. Or something like that.
interview JULIE JOHNSON
“I don’t think my in-laws ever dreamed of having a small, family-owned business. I know I never had until the chance was at the door,” says Kendra (McCleary) Hinkle. “But I’m loving every second of it.”
While planning her wedding to a local first responder, Kendra, along with her aunt and now-mother-in-law, were introduced to Lavish Grazing at a wedding show. They met the owners, and Kendra immediately began following the business on Instagram.
“We were blown away,” Kendra says. “They had an incredible table spread and the original owners, Mollie and Elizabeth, were the nicest people at the show.”
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Lavish Grazing was a dream-turned-reality for the best friends in November 2019. Due to life circumstances, they chose to step away and placed the business up for sale. In the meantime, Kendra had jumped at the opportunity to become one of three interns hired not long after the wedding show.
“I had the most wonderful time learning from Mollie and Elizabeth,” she says. “So when the opportunity to purchase Lavish Grazing came up, my in-laws and I knew we needed to act quickly.”
Since October 2020, Kendra has been creating beautiful grazing boxes, boards and tables. Seasonal touches, such as Father’s Day boxes, are also available, along with birthday and wedding spreads.
Julie: Your boards could be considered art. How did details become so important to you? How much fun do you have at work? Are your boards set by your imagination?
Kendra: I had been working in a floral shop for a few years and fallen in love with design, making arrangements, and setting up displays.
I feel like I’ve always had an artistic side. From coloring as a little girl, to painting classes in high school, to working in floral design. I’ve always felt in my element when it came to the arts.
Every board I make is one of a kind. The board designs come straight from my imagination. As the board comes together, it takes on a life of its own in my mind. Ingredients just seem to find their place, and it makes sense in a very visually pleasing way. I truly love having a job that lets me be so creative.
Julie: What does an ideal customer experience look like?
Kendra: I love the website, but I just as well enjoy orders placed through Lavish’s socials or even through email a little more. I feel like I have a better understanding of what the customer is looking for, and I have a chance to speak with the person I’m creating for.
I also really love seeing customers post on socials, enjoying the goodies on the board or even raving about their favorite item or a pairing they tasted.
So all in all, they order through the socials, and we narrow down the perfect option for them. I get into the kitchen and get creative, and then they get to open a creation they’re bound to ooohh and aww at as they taste their way through it all.
Every board I make is one of a kind. … I truly love having a job that lets me be so creative.
Julie: What items would be included on your perfect charcuterie board?
Kendra: That’s a tough one, but my ideal board would have tons of strawberries, apple slices, dried fruit, Cranberry Goat Cheese and peppered salami. The trouble is getting to enjoy every part before you get too full.
Julie: Please tell me more about the classes you offer.
Kendra: Besides boards, boxes, cups and cones, we also offer public and private classes. Public classes are throughout the 417-area and private classes are in homes with you, your friends and family. For both classes, we bring all the necessary board-building ingredients and teach you all the tips and tricks for building an insta-worthy, delicious board.