116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Starting her “luxury picnic” business was a leap of faith, Carissa Johnson admits.
When she came upon a luxury picnic business in Arizona in early 2021, she recalled, “The idea stuck with me and I wondered if I could do something like that in Cedar Rapids.”
“Some eight months later, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought four pillows and a few pieces of decor and thought, ‘I am going to just do it and see how it goes.’”
That was September 2021, when Johnson officially launched Boujee Picnic as a local luxury picnic business.
“We provide a rug, low-standing table, pillows, decor, games, a Bluetooth speaker and a customizable sign to elevate your traditional picnic experience,” Johnson said.
“We set everything up and clean up when the picnic is finished. All you have to do is show up and bring any food and drinks you would like.”
Johnson said it is a great way to spend quality time with your significant other or have a unique outing with family and friends. Picnics are scheduled for two hours each and the customer can choose the location or Johnson is happy to offer suggestions.
“We have a few partnerships we’ve developed, with the Cheesecake Lady and the Hangry Lady for add-on options for an additional fee,” Johnson said.
“It is so important to me to also support other women-owned businesses in our community.”
Owner: Carissa Johnson
When it comes to design ideas for her picnic setups, Johnson said she relies on internet inspiration.
“The best ideas are stolen,” Johnson said. “I look at a lot of other luxury picnic businesses in the country and see what they are doing and try to emulate that, but also put my own spin on it.”
Johnson said she has also gotten many of her items from Amazon.com, various brick-and-mortar stores and wedding resale sites that inspire an overall look.
She said it sometimes can be a challenge for her to source these types of products locally, but she seeks to support local businesses in other aspects of Boujee Picnic.
“Referrals have been so amazing, especially when customers share pictures on social media, but it is getting my name out there even more to those who may not know we exist,” Johnson said.
Johnson has pulled from her experience working the not-for-profit world for the past five years while building Boujee Picnic.
“I have done marketing, event planning, social media management and fundraising in all my roles,” she noted. “Much of my background lends nicely to my picnic business because I am creating a unique experience for my customers.”
While Johnson is a one-person operation at this stage, she relies on the help of family to help her new business flourish.
“My sister and husband have been such a huge help to me as I have launched this new business venture,” she said.
“Any time you take a leap of faith and start something new, there is always a little apprehension for how it will go, which I definitely had,” she said.
“I originally thought it would only be my friends and family booking picnics to support me, but the majority of my picnics I have had so far have been people that I don't know ... .”
Johnson said she looks forward to the picnic season ahead this spring, summer and fall.
“My husband made two new tables for me, so I am thrilled to be able to offer larger picnics,” said Johnson, noting that she can accommodate up to 10 people .
“I am also adding new decor and coming up with new partnerships that I am very excited about and cannot wait to announce soon.”
It’s all about creating memories for her customers, Johnson said.
“Life is so busy and I love knowing that I was able to create something magical for a few hours, where people can slow down and just be and enjoy life and not worry about the everyday stresses.”
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