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Meet Xochilt Togo of Picnics and Posies

Today we’d like to introduce you to Xochilt Togo.

Hi Xochilt, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I’ve always known that I wanted a career in event planning whether it was working for someone else or on my own. Prior to COVID, I worked in hospitality for many years in restaurants, hotels, and venues but then got a promotion to manage events at a local restaurant/event venue in town. I was filled with excitement because I had finally received an opportunity to show others what I am capable of. Shortly after starting my new position, we were all hit by the appalling pandemic and the world of events, like many others, came to a pause. My partner, who also works in hospitality, and I were then both temporarily laid off until further notice. Our minds would race with anguish and we couldn’t help but feel anxious with the uncertainty our future had to hold.

As time passed, I still had a great deal of time on my hands so I began planning my birthday celebration. Picnics have always been one of my favorite pastimes, therefore I thought, “why not a picnic?” I was turning 28 years old, my golden birthday, so I really wanted to tie that into the design of my picnic. During my search for “cute picnic tables” I found it difficult to find low to the ground tables that would best suit the idea I had in my mind. Luckily, my handy dandy partner stepped in by helping me design a table. Together, we went to the lumbar yard, bought all the tools we needed and then we built it (and when I say we built it, I mean I made lemonade while I watched him put them together). I found some beautiful linen to drape over the table, comfy pillows to sit on, glassware with an elegant touch of gold, flowers to enhance the beauty of it all, and all the other tabletop accessories I needed to host my small gathering. I had so much fun in the process and had many people approaching me as I was setting it up asking if I did it for a living. My friends were completely blown away and asked why I wasn’t doing this for others. After much encouragement from my loved ones, Picnics and Posies was born. I now plan birthday celebrations, proposals, elopements, company luncheons and beyond and couldn’t be happier.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Launching a new business requires a major commitment of time, especially in the early stages when you don’t have the resources or funding to delegate tasks to others. You become a “one man band” as the saying goes. It’s easy to get lost in your work which can then lead to problems with your personal relationships as well as health concerns. The hours and stress of running a business was bringing out a negative energy within me and I felt distant from others as I isolated myself in my office. To combat this issue, I had to learn to set boundaries based on my priorities which ended up being extremely helpful to my well-being. After taking breaks and having committed time off, I felt recharged and therefore more productive in the end. With time, I became more established and my hours spent working began to shorten. Having more time to spend with my family, friends and to focus on myself felt rewarding to know that I made it over the hurdle.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Picnics and Posies?
We create elevated picnic experiences that form lasting memories treasured by all involved. Our aesthetic is unique, relaxed and we love incorporating eclectic mixtures of textures, colors and patterns. We take care of both the setup and pack down and can accommodate a variety of intimate settings customized to your style and design taste. Beautiful Santa Barbara serves as the elegant backdrop for our events. From secret bluff proposals to cozy backyard affairs, we’re true Santa Barbarians so we love to show you some of the best spots in the area. Simply arrive to the destination, enjoy your time with your guests and leave without worrying about the arrangements.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
Starting a business during the pandemic wasn’t the easiest, especially when your business focuses on gatherings and being merry with your loved ones. I often doubted my ability to grow due to the lack of exposure within our community during this time. However, my self-doubt made me realize that I didn’t have to sit around waiting for a great opportunity to come knocking on my door. With hard work and determination, I truly believe that lucky events can and will present themselves. I kept an open mind and took a step out of my comfort zone. By surrounding myself with other vendors and introducing myself and my business through collaborations, I was able to learn and stimulate my motivation to explore new opportunities. This gave me the confidence I needed to keep pushing myself and with time, I started getting offers that I dreamt about.

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Image Credits:

Wild Zephyr Photo & Co Sunny Park Photo

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