Fearless Friday: Elaina Vazquez
Elaina is a petite but mighty boss babe. I met her several years ago at local events and then I really got to know her at a special dinner hosted by a friend. She is lovely. Always a smile on her face but what's really fascinating is to watch her in action. She glides through her events with an infallible grace. I've never seen her break a sweat or furrow a brow. (two things I do on the regular)
She's built this catering/event mecca in such a short amount of time but it wasn't without good ol' fashioned elbow grease. Rarely taking a day off, Elaina is hands on when it comes to business and I admire her tenacity. She turned catering on its head by creating a truly, unique concept. Gourmet, fine dining in the form of miniature bites. It's brilliant, it's tasty and it's novel. Meet this beauty of a #girlboss - Elaina!
Tell us a little about Boutique Bites and the mission of your brand. How did you come up with the idea and how hard was it to get started?
Boutique Bites is a creative and custom catering & events company specializing in the mix of stylish food and exceptional presentation. I came up with the idea in 2008 while working at Joel Robuchon restaurant in Las Vegas. I wanted to bring the fine dining concept to catered parties. And that’s really how the company started. It was definitely difficult in the beginning, as I was the only employee for about 2 years. But once I built my first professional kitchen, we started to grow pretty quickly.
1. What was the moment you knew you wanted to be an entrepreneur(s) let alone in the event industry?
I ALWAYS knew that I would own a business. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and it was just a logical step for me. Plus I’m not adverse to risk or change. After working in restaurant kitchens for about 5 years, I knew I was ready to take on a different challenge within the same industry. Up until that point, I had only worked in fine dining restaurants, so starting Boutique Bites was a natural progression.
2. What one Boutique Bites moment are you the most proud of and why?
Building my venue BRIQUE. It was truly a labor of love and I’m so happy and proud every day when I walk in the front door. I absolutely love the space and I feel so fortunate that the design and aesthetic has resonated with so many people. We are booking the space constantly and I couldn’t be happier.
3. How would you describe a typical day? What's your morning to evening routine?
My day starts out the same every morning – lots of snuggling with my pup Charlie. I adopted him about 12 weeks ago and he is just the sweetest. I typically get in a yoga sculpt class at Core Power Yoga, followed by getting ready and heading to work. I live about 2 minutes from my office, so I walk most days, which is pretty great. Once I’m at work, my schedule really varies based on what types of events we have booked that day. I spend a lot of time at my desk either responding to client emails, working on proposals, researching, processing payroll, etc. I am still highly involved in the day-to-day operations of Boutique Bites, so I am at my office pretty consistently. Lunch is a big deal because I’m always hungry but constantly forgetting to eat when we’re busy, so when 11:30am rolls around, I start asking about food. In the evenings I’m usually at one of our events making sure that everything is running smoothly. Once I get home, I feed and walk Charlie, watch real housewives, read a good book, and drink a glass of red wine.
4. How do you describe your personal aesthetic?
Napa meets Nantucket Chic – clean, white, wood, texture, welcoming.
5. What individuals, tastemakers, celebrities, entrepreneurs, public figures inspire you?
Locally, I am inspired by Dana Gordon of Dana Rebecca Designs and Jocelyn Delk Adams of Grandbaby Cakes – man those girls know how to run a business. Celebrity wise, I love Lauren Conrad and Giuliana Rancic for their style/aesthetic.
6. If you weren't in the event industry...and could be anything else...what would it be?
An author. After owning a company that requires so much staff for the past 8+ years, I would love to do something that requires just me and maybe an assistant. Plus I love to read. Books are one of my favorite things on earth – I actually become happier when I’m in a bookstore. Every year I ask for the same thing for Christmas from my brother – a Barnes & Noble gift card.
7. It's creative time...what's on your Spotify? What inspires you?
Motown! I always say that I was born in the wrong era. I also love The Beatles and Billy Joel.
8. Favorite restaurant on a Friday night + why?
I normally don’t get to go out for fun on Friday nights since I work weekends. But hypothetically, I would say Bavettes. Whenever I have the chance to go I always love the food and the vibe. And their Champagne Smash cocktail is really delicious.
9. Wine or classic cocktail?
Cocktail! A classic Paloma. I love good tequila.
10. Favorite weekend getaway destination?
I wish I had one! I basically never get away. That should be my 2017 resolution – finding a favorite weekend getaway. Thank you!
11. 5 must-have apps that you need in your life to function?
Uber, grubhub, waze, instagram, venmo
12. Bonus question - What's next for Boutique Bites?
Status quo! We have had so many changes over the last 2 years – building the venue plus our new 4,000 square foot kitchen, moving the business, reorganizing the operation, and settling into being a much larger company. I finally feel like I have it under control, and it feels good. I just want more of the same for a while!
Photography by Kina Wicks Photography
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