What does it take to start your own catering business? Just doing it, apparently. Monique Brownson is an entrepreneur with big plans for her Baltimore-based catering business, Destined Image. Although, she is still in the midst of her humble beginnings, Brownson takes a positive attitude, even when met with the challenges of being short-staffed, short on cash, working as her own marketing consultant, and planning events dependent on “word of mouth” support. By and by, the young entrepreneur is increasing her contacts and getting her name out, which is one of her biggest goals for her company.
Brownson realized her love for cooking at the age of ten, under the watchful eyes of her grandmother. She credits her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother for her love of cooking, but according to Brownson her grandmother was the first one to light the flame of this passion. “She started me out on frying chicken wings.” One might wonder where you go from there, but Brownson quickly answers, “…then it moved on to biscuits and baking cakes…” and as any child would acknowledge, her favorite part was licking the bowl. In 2006, after a brief stint of unemployment, Brownson put her cooking to the test by having bake-sales. She now coooks dinners, caters church affairs, and plans events. One of the annual events for Destined Image is “Jazz Poetic Love Notes,” a Valentine’s Day banquet, where Brownson’s culinary skills are front and center in an elegant display.
The signature food for Destined Images is chocolate, which speaks to the owners self admitted status as a “Chocolate-aholic.” However, this is not the only reason chocolate is the signature food. At first, her focus was on arts and crafts, center pieces and gift baskets, and although she still provides those services, she changed her focus after conducting a little independent research. Brownson recalls looking on the internet and seeing how much companies charged for chocolate-covered strawberries. It was an eye-opening experience for the young entrepreneur. Now Destined Image gives their chocolate-covered confections top-billing. “I’m gearing more to chocolate-covered lollipops and strawberries,” Brownson says. However, she admits she will pretty much dip anything her customers ask her to dip.
It’s that kind of desire to please her customers that leads her to excel. Brownson acknowledges her baby daughter as her inspiration to branch out, and she attributes the key factor to her success to her will to keep trying. “Keep trying. Keep going!” Brownson urges, “When it doesn’t work the first time…try it again the next year. Make changes….do your best and put everything out there.” She advises, “Find out the shakes and the quakes and correct them for the next time and keep going.” She will take her own advice as Destined Image takes on some new events next year — a Mother’s Day brunch and Christmas party are in the works. She is also equipping herself with additional training so she can begin to include wedding cakes in her list of services. Moreover, Brownson is now making strides to cater for groups of 500 and over.
In the meantime, Brownson will keep on doing what she’s doing — providing delicious quality food and moving Destined Image towards the destiny she sees just over the horizon.
To contact Destined Image for your catering needs, email Monique Brownson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by Monica Johnson