BY EMILY BROUILLETTE
During a recent stroll around Wash Park, I was immediately drawn to a beautifully curated, pastel picnic scene. I’ve seen these luxury picnics popping up on my social feed, but this was the first time seeing one in person, and it did not disappoint. Equally as magnetizing was the tall drink of water who greeted me, the mastermind behind this creative picnic company, Jared Jabbar. I was intrigued to learn more about how this driven man found himself in the picnic planning business.
I first saw these stylized picnics happening in California. After doing my own research, I saw a need for a more affordable option here in Denver, allowing families, friends, couples to have these picnic experiences without having to pay as much as the competitors. I went full force and started the business. It happened to be during a pandemic, and this niche market, was one that Covid wasn’t touching. This was something outdoors and intimate that made so much sense during a pandemic. We go above and beyond with our safety measures as well. I loved that this experience offers a much needed sense of normalcy.
Picnics have been a wonderful alternative to celebrate milestones during a pandemic. How do you see your business evolving over the next year?
We are hoping to grow larger in a few different ways by pairing up with a few Denver hotels where we will offer their guests a J’s Picnics experience. We’re also pairing with a few pediatric centers in Denver to offer our picnics for free to families who are spending a lot of time in the hospitals with their children, who may be dealing with long term treatments. These picnics are fun for kids and very low key, so they’re perfect for families in stressful situation, as this is a very low stress experience. Again offering, a sense of normalcy to those who desperately need it. We are also working to expand our picnics to the mountains, which will be perfect for tourists and locals alike.
We will be offering an igloo design, with a heating system inside. It will be large enough to allow you to have a bistro table and lounging heated experience. There will be a hot chocolate bar and the igloo will be fully powered and provide speakers, and lights as well. These full igloo experiences can happen even on a snowy day. We love the idea of providing this warm picnic in a winter wonderland watching the snow fall on the lake at Wash Park blanketed in white.
Are there any restrictions with your picnics? How do you design the drink/food menu?
The opportunities are endless! The only restriction is that we ask you bring your own alcohol. We provide all the supplies for your mimosas, flutes, carats of juice, you bring the champagne. Hot toddy? We bring the tea, honey, agave, citrus, all of the items you might need. When it comes to our menu, we work with an amazing local pastry chef with an array of delicious options as well as a full chef service that can provide anything from hors d’oeuvres to a full meal. We offer our standard charcuterie boards, that are filled to the brim with the best meats, cheeses and veggies. We also offer vegetarian and vegan platters that honestly are packed with delicious options, it is a favorite menu item for our clients. But if you’re looking for a full meal, we put you in touch with our chef and they will design exactly what you want. We’ve had people who wanted a cooking experience, where our chef prepares the meal for them right at the location. We are extremely open to catering to our clients’ desires. If you want Greek, Indian, Italian food? We will make it happen.
I’m from Florida originally, but I flew out here for a business trip and I’ll never forget the image of driving into the city while it was snowing. I realized in that moment that Florida wasn’t going to be forever for me. When I got settled into my hotel downtown, I couldn’t believe how beautiful the snow fall looked here. I’ve experienced snow all over the US, but the snow in Denver is just so beautiful and I hate snow! Everyone here was so friendly and accommodating, so when I got back to Florida, I felt this sadness for leaving Denver. And I know most people get back from a good vacation, and say “I wish I could go back.” But I took it to the next level and said I’m going back in two weeks. So, I quit my job in Florida and settled here.
You will be the first to admit that you wouldn’t be able to juggle all that you do if it wasn’t for your assistant and right-hand woman, Kimberly. Can you tell us more about her?
I interviewed over 45 people for this position, but no one was sticking out to me and I was feeling burnt out. Kimberly was one of the last people to send me her resume. Her bachelor’s degree in fashion stood out to me, and pointed to her creativity. She was beyond responsive and eager to interview over the phone. I was ready to hire her on the spot, but I had my old assistant call her to offer me a second opinion. She underlined my gut reaction by saying “Hire her. I was probably the best assistant you’ve ever had, but this girl is going to beat me.” So that was it! I never thought that I would grow to love someone the way I love Kimberly. She is the most intelligent, creative and resourceful person I’ve ever met. To see her put 150% into her job is just amazing and I can’t thank her enough. I was telling a friend the other day, that I may own J’s Picnics, but this is hers even more than it is mine. This is her baby, and she has grown this company with no ownership experience. She has made this job a part of her family and she is family to me.
I started my first company at 17, as I always wanted to be in design and quickly started working at a design firm. I wanted to provide a different experience for the design world that cared about their clients and their lives. After working with many interior design companies in my past I began to see the many flaws in the industry. I hate nothing more than when a client is being taken advantage of. Most people seeking interior design help, have money, it’s not a very attainable service for a large audience. I knew I wanted to provide an interior design company that was approachable. I streamline my work so that my clients don’t have to deal with multiple contractors. I’ve since expanded Jabbar designs to Florida and Boston in addition to here.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on a nonprofit that allows me to step away from my dreams and help others pursue theirs. I’ve been so lucky to have success with the companies I’ve started. I want to share that love for young entrepreneurship with this program. At a young age, I wanted to be my own boss, but didn’t know quite how to get there. With the Jabbar Project, we’re going to help point young entrepreneurs in the right direction. We will help them get into an internship program that is very hands on in the field of their choice. We want these kids to see every aspect of their career choice, so they can approach the field from every side. While providing them with the etiquette it takes to start their own business. We will help these young people apply for grants, and guide them through the financial aspects of starting a business. We hope to launch this nonprofit in the Spring, and I ‘ll speak to schools in the Fall, to tell my story of how I carved out my own path, because it is possible.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Jared. We are drawn to people who carve out their own path, while helping others along their journey. Visit J’s Picnics at https://www.jspicnics.com or call 720-774-2020.