Gathering Notes // The Blog

A New Year's Update

  • By Sophie Speer

This is a belated Happy New Year note from the other side of what can only be described as our greatest learning year ever. 

I am tired, sort of sweaty (?), and proud to have remained not only in one piece but to have grown as a business and as a person. 

I realize what a privilege it is to say that. I’m so deeply, deeply grateful to you, our customers, for spreading the word, coming back for seconds, and encouraging me with your generosity and patience as I adapted and added new offerings. I know many have suffered, and many are still suffering. It’s not easy, and it’s not fair. Our government continues to fail the restaurant & service industry, and many of our partners and suppliers have had to close their doors. I very much feel like I could have been one of them. 

Backstory: I lost 90% of my revenue weeks before lockdown even began, as corporate orders cancelled, one after another. I thought I was uniquely screwed! I transitioned to cooking and delivering family meals, which introduced me to so many of you and sustained us from April through June, providing hours for my team and a safe way to support our community. We were also able to donate hundreds of meals to homeless encampments and hospital workers during that time, and many of you chipped in to help us do so (thank you!!). 

In July, I decided to end family meals and refocus on gathering boards. It felt super risky - would anyone still want one of these things? How many mini boards would I need to sell to make the same revenue I made when I sold huge orders to tech companies?

I made the right decision, and most of our business & revenue returned. Our boards became a defiantly pleasurable thing to eat when everything else looks like a shit sandwich. We somehow turned into primarily a gift-giving business, without even marketing ourselves that way - and we were here for it! There were so many times I laughed out loud or started crying while hand writing notes you were sending with your boards. Thank you for trusting us to be a gift-bearer for you - it was truly an honor. 

We also started sending DIY kits of ingredients all over the country for our workshops, which I would never have thought to do without the pandemic. It was amazing connecting with folks all over the country, laughing about sweaty salamis, and sharing the joy of a personalized gathering board with them. 

Some friends of mine wrote a song once called “Grow Where You’re Planted,” and it feels like that - the pressure at the beginning of the year to grow! big! fast! was supplanted over the past 9 months with rooting deeply into my community, growing in weird new angles within the confines of a small but fertile pot. 

At this point, I know I can do anything. And that makes me want to try anything! Our big goal for this year is to open our own brick and mortar location in Oakland, so that we have room to grow and so that you can come visit us, pick up some cheese, and say hi. At some point, it’ll also serve as a gathering space for the community. I can’t wait, and I hope you follow along with our journey along the way. 

Thank you again, truly, from the bottom of my cheesy heart -


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