Pasadena Picnic Co. brings local flare to gatherings
By Annika Tomlin
Photo by Chandra Wicke Photography
Luxury picnics are on the rise, and Pasadena Picnic Co. is keeping up with the trend.
Lena Kelly and Kaiy Smith-Biesman are two Pasadena moms who saw an opportunity to start a new business — Pasadena Picnic Co. — in January 2021.
“We were chatting one day about these beautiful pop-up picnics that we had seen happen more along the coast area around beach towns but nobody was really doing it out here,” Kelly says.
“We said, ‘You know, Pasadena has so many gorgeous parks, people also have great yards and little garden spaces, we should bring it out here to the community.’”
And they did just that.
“We wanted to have a locally inspired, intimate experience where we tie in different things that we love about the area,” says Kelly, whose background is in event productions. “We came together, and that is how Pasadena Picnic Co. was born.”
They also thought picnics were a good idea during a pandemic, during which time it was hard to host gatherings.
“It was just a really great way to give people that opportunity to have some joy in their day, to come out and have a little picnic,” Kelly says. “It’s been received very well. We’ve received so much support from the community, so it’s been wonderful so far.”
Pasadena Picnic Co. aligns with Smith-Biesman’s other project, Stems. Serving as Pasadena Picnic Co.’s catering service, it also offers workshops and wine tastings.
The duo’s goal is to create picnic packages that are “relaxing and enjoyable.” The trio of experiences is basic ($299), bold ($499) and boujee ($699).
“Each package increases with what is included, but the standard package itself (basic) would be everything that you would need for a luxury picnic,” Kelly says.
“It has a table, pillows and cushions, a blanket, a rug, an umbrella, floral arrangements and place settings for each person. Then we include our hibiscus rose tea that we make in-house, sparkling water, and then salted rose chocolate chip cookies that we also make in-house.”
The two-hour basic and bold packages accommodate up to four guests. The boujee package is for three hours, and setup includes up to six guests.
Guests can choose their park within the San Gabriel Valley or a private location, like a backyard.
“We show up and set everything up and then you enjoy your picnic,” Kelly says. “We leave and then we come back at the end of the picnic and pack everything up.
“You really just get to come and enjoy and have a great experience without having to do all of the heavy lifting and lugging around.”
While luxury picnics are on the rise, the two women are confident that their business will succeed.
“I think one of the things that sets us apart is that we really use the community to show how beautiful our city is,” Smith-Biesman says. “We really focus on creating an experience that is local and custom to our community and showing the beauty off there.
“I feel like other people do these packages and it just doesn’t really have the community vibe.”
A “community vibe” is important to both owners.
“We’re always looking for ways to collaborate with local businesses and vendors and do a lot of supporting women-owned businesses and mom-owned businesses in the area,” Kelly says. “When it comes to our floral partner or if you want to add balloons or other types of décor, we use local vendors. We also have a goody basket where we have locally curated items.”
Kelly and Smith-Biesman seek additional small Pasadena businesses with whom they can partner. They also yearn to get involved in the area’s charity scene.
“I think with everything we do, we just try to find ways to create a unique experience for our neighbors and find a way to also support what everyone else is doing in the community,” Kelly says. “Pasadena is really such a special place.
“We want to improve this experience and make it really feel like it is tied into everything we love most about the city and feel very personalized.”
On Saturday, February 12, Pasadena Picnic Co. will host a Valentine’s Day picnic at Central Park at 275 S. Raymond Avenue.
“This will be our second picnic in the park event where, essentially, we have a certain number of timeslots in the afternoon,” Kelly says.
“We are offering a discounted picnic package if you book within these timeslots. The picnics will be set up at various locations throughout the park.”
The price is $199, which, Kelly says, includes the picnic setup for two people or more.
Stems will offer charcuterie boxes, gourmet sandwiches and a s’mores box that can be added to the picnic package. Fresh flowers and a goody basket are add-ons, too.
The big picnic
Pasadena Picnic Co.’s place settings do not stop at four. They also cater to larger gatherings.
“We like to mention that while we do specialize in smaller, intimate picnics, we do picnics up to 30 as well,” Kelly says.
“We’ve been able to help people with some fun celebrations like baby showers, bridal showers and corporate events. That was a fun twist that we weren’t anticipating. When we started, we didn’t think we would be doing picnics that large. It’s been really great to find a way for people to continue to have celebrations outdoors.”
Pasadena Picnic Co.