With area residents eager to spend time in-person with friends and family again, picnic-themed outings have become a growing business opportunity at vineyards and other outdoor venues in Loudoun County.
Longtime friends Tipton McNamee of Ashburn and Leesburg resident Lisa Carr often said to each other ‘we should do a business together.’
The duo recently discovered a trend which has proved popular around the U.S., especially on the west coast, where businesses create picnic settings for special outdoor events.
“There are so many beautiful farms and parks in Loudoun and we thought about how people are wanting to be outside due to COVID,” McNamee said. “This concept made sense to us for this area.”
Before launching their business, Purely Picnics, the pair spoke with winery owners about the idea and how it could be mutually beneficial.
The idea was well-received, they said, and so they began offering pop-up events, including one at Oatlands Historic Home and Gardens in Leesburg. They also created an engagement proposal event at Morven Park and Mother’s Day picnics at Sunset Hills Vineyards.
Each two-hour event is styled slightly differently, and clients have about seven different themes from which to select when ordering a picnic package.
Carr and McNamee partnered with several vendors to outsource the picnic foods.
“We have fun creating new themes and memories for people. It’s more than just creating a picnic,” McNamee said. “It’s a nice service. Prices are reasonable and it’s supposed to be fun and not break the bank.”
Similar to McNamee and Carr’s venture, Dreamy Picnics, was recently launched by sisters, Georgina and Carla Sahagun, who live in Herndon.
Carla Sahagun, a software engineer, said she has been working nonstop over the past year and her husband wanted to take her for a special picnic outing.
“He prepared the food and drinks and it was so relaxing,” Carla Sahagun said.
“I haven’t felt that way in a long time, and I thought, ‘people need to do this more often.’”
Georgina Sahagun, a freelance photographer and graphic designer, was immediately on board with the idea to start a picnic-themed business together.
“A lot of people are just starting to get out, she said. “This is a great way to enjoy some time together where there is no cooking or cleanup. You simply enjoy and go home.”
The sisters hope to create special experiences with friends and loved ones where they are able to go to a venue — or even set up in a backyard or patio — and have an evening or afternoon together to connect and relax, they said.
Like Purely Picnics, they also partner with businesses who cater the food portion of events.