Today we’d like to introduce you to Emmy Rener.
Hi Emmy, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
At the age of 18, during the peak of the coronavirus lockdowns, I launched Sophisticated Spreads, a cheese and charcuterie board company that hones in on the tastes of California culture and features locally sourced ingredients through showstopping grazing table displays.
In high school, I used the combination of my advanced flavor palette and eye for aesthetics to create aperitif boards that became a staple for my circle of friends and family.
However, in March of 2020, my clientele was broadly expanded as a high net worth individual sourced me to fly to Miami and make a spread for 65 people. After creating a grazing table of epic proportions with over 10 feet of interactive “art”, the event’s private chef sought me out and bestowed all his confidence in the concept I had displayed that evening.
His words planted a seed for a vision I had not yet seen, and the wheels immediately spun in my mind as I began constructing my own vision for my business.
A week after my first official event, the world was shut down due to the pandemic. My decision to take a gap year was initially born out of a desire to stay at home and settle my qualms about the uncertainties of a freshman year during COVID-19.
However, the concept of Sophisticated Spreads was born out of this serendipitous decision.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
One of the biggest challenges I have found is simply existing in a saturated market as a young female entrepreneur. Being only 18 years old and launching a company created a competitive element I didn’t anticipate, which is that people were quick to doubt my success and I had to work hard to make up for that.
The world of charcuterie businesses is heavily dominated by a variety of girl bosses, and riding off the highs of being a high school senior and entering into a workspace with women in their 20s, 30s, and beyond was intimidating.
However, I think I found comfort knowing that I was a trailblazer in a lot of respects, and after a year and a half of owning my craft and doing my own thing, I realize that my attitude of “community over competition” has been a source of inspiration for others, and I take great pride in that.
Alternatively, being your own boss creates its own challenges for a variety of reasons. Working for yourself truly means that all responsibility falls on your shoulders. The highs of the business and the lows of the company are celebrated and experienced solo.
As an extremely extroverted person, I felt lonely in the infancy stages of my business as I “went to work” for hours a day every day by myself. Now on the other side, I have been able to hire employees and outsource freelancers to help me, so I can appreciate the beauty of riding the waves solo, but I think that the hardest part of being a small business owner is the feeling of being in it alone.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My name is Emmy Rener, and I am a 20-year-old SoCal girl and college student whose love of cheeseboards started at family holiday parties and inspired the business idea behind Sophisticated Spreads.
I started the company after graduating high school at the age of 18 with humble origins of simply delivering to neighbors and friends, with the beauty of cheeseboards at the heart of my mission. I took a gap year after high school to invest in the company’s potential and poured all of my heart and soul into this passion project.
Having worked at a flower shop throughout high school, my flair for design showers through all my presentations, and my love of food saturates each board with flavors of emulsion! I leaned into this concept heavily, as I believe our spreads are truly a different level of sophistication and “boho chic” feel than other charcuterie boards.
I also realized the importance of using the highest quality product to differentiate ourselves, so I sank time into understanding what makes artisan cheeses better than Trader Joe’s cheese for example, and traveled all over California to meet the cheesemakers who have mastered their craft.
Our spreads are truly a labor of love and I enjoy making every board because each final product looks different. We seasonally source a lot of our items, and I love the contrasting feel of an autumnal board with persimmons and caramelized pecans, versus our springtime spreads with bright apricot stilton cheese and farm-fresh strawberries.
We are known for our grazing tables which truly have the WOW factor that sells itself. Weddings and special events are my personal favorite part of the business as we get to be a part of people’s special celebrations, and the reaction of the guests when they see the final spread is the best form of gratification.
Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
I can confidently say that I am not attached to any direction the business may head into, and this is an important sentiment to cherish in an ever-evolving world as a young entrepreneur.
Our team at Sophisticated Spreads landed into a tub of butter as 2020 was truly the year of cheeseboards in my opinion, and the trend of charcuterie continues to be on the rise. I think that this is an incredibly serendipitous reality that has influenced me to truly live each day as it comes and to simply ride the wave we are on.
I would be lying if I said I don’t have daydreams, or spontaneous brainstorm sessions if you will, about our five-year plan, and I think it could look a lot of different ways. Expanding our presence on social media is a dream of mine because I love the community of 150,000 cheese-lovers we have been able to create, and I think that this sentiment is at the forefront of our mission.
Through this business, I have been able to work with a lot of incredibly passionate and talented people in the cheese world, and I would love to continue to share their stories through an elevated platform, or even a book. The importance of artisan creameries in the world of mass dairy farms is priceless, and I want to continue to educate people on why supporting small farms in the future of our world.
My most ambitious dream from day one is the idea of opening a California/Parisian-inspired brick-and-mortar storefront with a beautiful cheese counter, a large variety of handpicked items that I wholeheartedly love, and of course the staple of our brand: Our cheeseboard boxes.
This is a huge step that I cannot wait to take and I am constantly drawing inspiration for the day that we open our doors. I think on a larger scale I would love to open multiple stores nationwide to create a large footprint of Sophisticated Spreads while still maintaining the beauty of what makes our boards unique.
- Small Box – $60
- Medium Box – $110
- Large Box – $220
- Charcuterie Cones – $12/cone
- Grazing Tables – $22/person
- Email: emmy@SophisticatedSpreads.net
- Website: SophisticatedSpreads.net
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sophisticatedspreads/
- Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@sophisticatedspreads?lang=en