Growing up in Las Vegas, I was surrounded by the hospitality industry. I moved out to California for college, got a job doing marketing for an HR outsourcing company, and dabbled in event planning, social media, and general marketing tasks. Then at 23, I was diagnosed with a health condition that forced me to slow down and step back. During the healing process, I came up with the concept for The Picnic Collective because I was looking for more of a creative outlet.
We were really lucky to launch just ahead of the pandemic in 2019, so we already had some infrastructure set up with an office space and employees. When COVID hit, our business actually blew up in popularity. Upon starting this business I felt totally out of my element, but I was able to use my marketing skills to get the business off the ground. It’s been crazy ever since it quickly took off.
The business originally started with just me — I was a one-woman operation for several months.
My husband was able to quit his full-time job soon after to come alongside me and help grow the business.
Now, we have about 30 employees, so it’s growing very quickly. It’s exciting because we’re franchising and expanding to new territories across the country. We’re hoping to expand into Texas and New York this year. So far, we’ve organized over 3,000 picnics. I would say on average in any given week we host anywhere from 30 to 50 picnics and events.
At the very beginning of lockdown, we had to stop offering events completely. We shifted to offering home delivery picnic baskets that month until the beaches reopened and we could safely go back to offering our picnic experiences outdoors.
One of the most fun parts of my job is having the opportunity to be creative with everything we do. It’s almost like designing an event space, but you get to do it on such a small scale, and customize it, over and over again for different clients. We also do a lot of celebrity events, which are exciting.
The most lavish "picnics" aren’t always a picnic.
From picnic-proposals on the edge of an awe-inspiring ocean view cliff to grand influencer soirees, we’ve been lucky enough to create magical lifetime memories for our clients.
We’ve set up a picnic with thousands of rose petals scattered along the perimeter of the picnic, picnics with alpacas, and large scale floral backdrop installations. We’ve organized grand holiday picnics for companies on the beach, where we’ve provided several live Christmas trees. We planned a gorgeous Disney frozen-inspired eighth birthday with custom florals, balloons, and grazing boards — an Elsa character even came to bring out the birthday cake.
Our picnic packages range in price depending on the size of the group. We have a two-person "Bliss Date Night" that starts at $399, and a "Simple Pleasures" package for $499 for up to six people and $1,199 for up to 18 people. We also offer a la carte add-ons, such as premium dessert and drink stations and customized tent and teepee decor.
I’d say the most expensive picnic we’ve planned was definitely upwards into the $10,000 dollar range. It was a very extravagant picnic experience. The client wanted to have a romantic picnic for him and his girlfriend. The sky was the limit, and he had no real budget. He just wanted to go wild with the event and make it everything (as impressive as) it could be.
That picnic’s decor was amazing — we had something like 10 dozen roses coming up out of the sand on a pathway leading up to the picnic. It was a totally customized event for them. We created a bunch of beautiful signage, and all of their desserts were romantic, stunningly presented, and completely customized. We provided a private chef to cater for the two of them who made signature, made-to-order sushi rolls for them right on the beach. It was an extremely extravagant two-person event.
Each of our events can be completely customized to the client’s preferences.
To book one of our experiences, clients go on our website, submit an inquiry, and are connected with one of our coordinators. They’d book the package they’re most interested in, choose "add-ons," (like the sushi chef) and then someone on our team would send a final proposal to lock everything in.
Then, they’d choose the specifications on what kind of style decor they’d like, what kind of food they’d like — everything down to those little details. Our staff would show up on the day of to set up and organize, and all they have to do is show up, and enjoy the experience.
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to throwing luxury picnics.
This includes carrying the equipment to the location, bringing the heavy umbrella stands, and generally figuring out what works and what doesn’t. We’ve evolved over time and have had a huge learning curve. From hiring employees to growing a business, it’s definitely been a lot of learning in a short amount of time.
As the owner of a rapidly growing business, I get to wear a lot of hats which can be both fun and challenging. Everyone on the team is learning how to work together just as we’re working with clients for the first time. From creating new concepts and products for the company to building our team, every day is an adventure.
Molly O’Brien June 9, 2021 at 10:48PM