Excitement and enthusiasm are the keynotes of Hollie Procter’s thriving catering business for young foodies, The Honest Platter. Hollie established the business on 7 February 2018 and has not paused for breath since then.
Hollie describes herself as “crazy about food, especially cheese.” Creating artisan grazing platters of delicious, fresh food is just something she has always done. Hollie’s genuine talent for creative, visually appealing food and desire to set up her own business came together last year. “One day I had the idea, the next day I was handing in my notice and the next I was taking orders,” laughs Hollie. “I’m known for jumping head first into something.”
Hollie’s target market is predominantly females aged 25-34. Weddings, baby showers engagement parties and shop openings are a big part of the business. “My clients are looking for something that is a bit more affordable than canapes and adds more of a visual and social element to dining,” she says. “They know what they are looking for – something ‘Instagram-worthy’ that will leave their guests talking whilst giving them a delicious food option that will fill them up and have them coming back for more.”
Hollie’s business is tapping into the spirit of the times. “We live in a world where the camera really does eat first,” she says. “We want to share everything on social media, send photos to family and friends overseas ad have something to show for all of our hard work. Beautiful events that exude our personalities are just one way for us to do that.”
The Honest Platter is a big departure from Hollie’s previous experience. “I had worked for luggage.co.nz for three years, starting as their content creator and product photographer and working my way up to marketing manager.” With no prior experience she set out to pay back their trust in her by excelling in the role. “I would research out of hours and give everything 200%. I believe so much of what I learned over those three years is what has really helped propel The Honest Platter forward.”
Tauranga is the perfect location for both Hollie and for the Honest Platter. “I love Tauranga. My family lives here and my partners family lives here so we’re emotionally tied to the area as well as loving everything about it. The region is a wedding dreamland. With so many beautiful venues, amazing photo locations and people travelling all over to get married here the Bay of Plenty is an ideal location for my target audience.”
And the Honest Platter couldn’t make Hollie happier. “I am so proud of this business. I feel like it truly encompasses who I am as a person. I love the people it has brought into my life. I love the struggles, lessons and opportunities it has brought me. Most of all I love the smiles and reactions on people’s faces when they see their grazing tables for the first time.” And to top it off, “I also love the amount of cheese I get to eat….”
Are there frustrations in the job? “I don’t think I ever thought there would be so much administration involved,“ Hollie confesses. I’m a very social person so being at home behind a computer screen for hours on end is tough. I thrive off collaboration so I’m having to learn new ways to work and new ways to get those social interactions that fit around my busy, predominantly weekend schedule.”
A favourite success story? “I literally get excited at every little thing that happens to me. But a big highlight has to be winning the Katikati and Waihi Beach Hospitality Business of the Year Award. With so many amazing cafes and eateries in the area, even being nominated seemed like a dream. So to walk away with that trophy, I still get a little teary thinking about it now!”
The future is just as full of exciting opportunities. “Right my goal is to smash summer,” Hollie says. “Summer is my busy season with weddings and events booking out every weekend. My goal for next summer is to have someone working alongside me, so I can start saying YES! YES! YES! to more bookings and filling the Bay with cheese!”
‘Keep being original’ was a piece of advice given to Hollie that she has always carried with her. “No business will ever be alone in the market for long. So using your creativity and individuality to appeal to your target market will help you stand out and get ahead.
“My number one piece of advice to new small businesses is: “Stay true to your vision and believe in your product or service 100%.” She knows this only too well from her own experience.“ I had a hard time with pricing at first,” she admits.” I lowered my prices to bring in those initial customers but I was losing money (and my mind!). When I went back to my initial business plan, I realised I’d stepped away from my vision and I wasn’t trusting in the process. Getting things back in order brought me closer to my target audience. It has also helped me see the future of the business much more clearly as well as giving it a needed push in the right direction.”
Finally, on a more personal note, Hollie advises, “Book weekends off sometimes. You’re not superhuman!”
If Hollie’s grazing platters tempt you and you would like to find out more check out the following websites: