We head over to New England this week for our Women Warriors Wednesday feature. Emily Love is the owner of Make Food Lovely, based out of Hartford, Connecticut.
Make Food Lovely specializes in creating custom charcuterie as well as how to build your own charcuterie board workshops and parties. The mission? Take the stress out of hosting by creating truly lovely food to wow your guests!
Where it all began…
A child audiologist by day, Emily was furloughed for three months during the pandemic. During that time, Emily attended a very social distanced going away gathering for her co-worker. Sitting six feet apart, they all enjoyed small cupcake boxes filled with cheese and salami roses prepared by Emily.
Having time to create a business plan, she optioned the idea. Beginning with boards and boxes, she chose to shift her focus to build-a-board workshops. “I had paid for my food and wine budget while I was in school for my doctorate as a bar trivia host, so I was hopeful the skills I learned there would let me stand in front of a room of people.”
Fast forward to now, this boy mom and career woman has a thriving small business!
There have been a number of times that Emily has dedicated donating a portion of her proceeds from workshops to different charities. “I am so grateful for the people who come to my classes and book private parties, because we have been able to make significant donations to organizations like Planned Parenthood, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), and currently, World Central Kitchen.”
Who inspires you?
“Kelsey at The Board Loon is a big one. She is open, communicative, and so kind.” Kelsey’s support and encouragement gave Emily the motivation to really pursue the classes and workshops and she hasn’t looked back!
“Aesthetically, I think Crumb & Cow is unmatched in the way she creates a board. Her boards are so beautiful, but also a very detailed love letter to her home city of Philadelphia. You can feel the pride she has for her city, and it is almost as if she represents them through her food which, makes her vision so powerful.”
“Personally, my mom. I am not exaggerating that I think she has made a meal or dropped off a gift basket for every person in my town. She exudes warmth, love, compassion, and community. I have never seen her compete with another woman, but rather always finds the perfect people to tackle any project alongside her. The notion of a candle loses nothing by lighting another flame is how my mom lives her life; and I’m so lucky to have grown up with that example.”
What advice would you give to your younger self?
“Realize how incredible all of the women in your life are. I know younger me definitely said “I just get along better with guys”. Nope, no you do not, you are just boy crazy. The women you are surrounded by: family, friends, team mates, teachers, coaches…are absolute dynamos, and you can never take a moment surrounded by them for granted. Women drive the culture, they create the community, and the are responsible for so much change taking place that makes the world so beautiful and special.”
How do you push through challenges you face?
“I cannot be good at everything all at once. Managing motherhood, a full time career in healthcare during a global pandemic, and being a good wife, sister, daughter, and friend can hit a head. Periods of success in one area are going to be directly in line with failures in another. There may be things going on with my boys that pull my focus away from Make Food Lovely for weeks at a time. But, there may also be successes happening with my business that distract me from my relationship with my husband and family. Trying to find balance amidst the chaos has been a process, and one I am still working on.”
Looking into the future…
“I hope for my continued love of this work. I am priviledged in that it is not my sole source of income, so I can say yes and no when I want. This has allowed me to continue to LOVE this business as if it is my own form of self care. I do not want to lose that, but I also want to continue to grow and evolve my brand. I have some fun ideas that I have been bouncing around amongst friends and business partners, and I am finally pulling the trigger on one of them! So once I get it all locked down with my patent attorney I will let you all know!”
Favorite inspirational quote…
“Fix your wig, find your light. Its not that deep boo.” – Cody Rigsby
“I have found that when working to restructure or brainstorm parts of my business, I always need to step back and TRY (I often times do not do this successfully) to gain perspective. And a lot of the time, the thing I am viewing with a negative lense and a lot of anxiety, is not that deep. When making decisions for yourself and your business, you are the one driving. There are going to be people you seek counsel from and brainstorm with, but in the end you are the decision maker. The success of your business is one to be proud of. I am still learning how to wear the confidence from my successes, but quotes like this from Cody give me a little extra pep in my step.”
Lasting advice for other women…
“Lead with kindness. Your customers and colleagues will be able to see your intentions, and encourage you because of it. There is a seat for every one of us at the table, so move your chair over and say “come sit by me! or on my lap! not in a creepy way, but you can if you want to!”.”