The catering and event service industry is definitely not for the faint of heart, especially if it happens to be located in the capital of our nation, Washington DC. Femme & Fortune had the pleasure of getting some inside scoop from someone who knows exactly what it takes to stay ahead of the competition, and one who manages to do it with grace, style, and out of this world delicious food. Vicky Theodorou is both the Founder and Style Director of Heirloom Catering and Event Design located in DC. Her skills in combining her true passion for fashion, wholesome food, and business to create a thriving company makes her an inspiring female entrepreneur we can all take some tips from. Keep reading to find out more about Vicky and her business, Heirloom DC!
Femme & Fortune: Tell us a little about yourself and your business:
Vicky: I’m a combo of a creative and business person at heart. I have a love for food, fashion, stylish things, and just all things artsy which naturally took itself on to Heirloom Catering and Event Design. My background is in marketing along with food and planning, so I started Heirloom to match my vision with the types of events I wanted to do and the food I believe in.
Femme & Fortune: Coming from a family of restaurant owners, have you always known what career path you wanted to follow?
Vicky: I didn’t specifically know I wanted to follow in that path, but I have always felt that it was a passion of mine. I think through growing up and figuring out who you are, you just naturally have the confidence to go out on your own and do what you love and care about as opposed to just doing what you’re supposed to be doing. It took a life of its own and once I was being myself, it really started growing.
Femme & Fortune: What traits do you think are needed to thrive in the catering and event industry?
Vicky: Creativity. Staying ahead of the trend. Real good whole seasonal food. And, I think above all, a strong skin is necessary to be able to brush things off and roll with the punches, and to thrive in a predominantly male-dominated industry.
Femme & Fortune: How has your experience been working in the DC area? Do you plan on expanding to other cities soon?
Vicky: DC is a very interesting area. It’s both conservative and liberal, hip and classic. It ranges and is an incredibly eclectic area so really new ideas are well received. Even marrying new ideas and dishes and new ways of presenting things with classic ones is always well received. DC is highly competitive. The area is full of smart influential people and there’s plenty of good competition here.
As far as expanding, I’m not sure about the catering, but definitely any products that we develop we plan to expand. Some of our signature dips and other things we’ve been looking to develop, we hope to expand those products in the area and get them into organic grocery stores.
Femme & Fortune: What has been the hardest part for you personally when creating Heirloom?
Vicky: The hardest part was probably believing in your vision and executing on it. Prioritizing is a big one as well because you have to run the actual business. But really working on your business and inching away at your vision and the goals with it is the most fulfilling part of everything. Believe in what you are putting out, and as long as it’s genuine, I think it will be successful.
Femme & Fortune: Do you have a business role model? If so, who and why?
Vicky: I definitely have mentors in the industry. I think being open and receptive to people’s help, people who have walked down the road and have the experiences is a huge thing. Soaking it all in and listening to the advice of others while at the same time making it your own has really helped.
Femme & Fortune: How do you try to stand out in such a popular industry? What makes Heirloom different?
Vicky: Heirloom is specifically different because it’s not mass produced. Everything is custom, seasonal, and fashionable. When it comes to styling, it’s really hands on styling with curated menus. There is not that level of detail involved with other vendors. We really are a boutique catering company focused on restaurant quality, award-winning food in the catering world. Those two things are often mutually exclusive.
Femme & Fortune: Can you share some of your most important advice to other female entrepreneurs?
Vicky: I would say without a doubt, to fearlessly believe in yourself. When you’re genuinely being you and when you stop trying to be somebody else, that’s when things start to unfold and that’s when the universe conspires to help you. Also, coffee first and wine is at the end of the day.
Femme & Fortune: What’s your current guilty pleasure when not working?
Vicky: As a nutrition expert, I do tend to indulge sometimes because I love food. Also, during the winter months, I can be sitting with my laptop working but I might have a little series meddle of House of Cards or some other show.
Femme & Fortune: Tell us something about yourself that people would be surprised to know?
Vicky: I tend to have the stylish glint for fashionable looks but I’m also very outdoorsy. I hiked for 12 days through the mountains of Machu Picchu in Peru.
Femme & Fortune: Is there anything else you’d like to add about yourself or Heirloom?
Vicky: We are just too legit to quit! We really love what we’re doing and I think it really shows. We genuinely care about our clients and about the earth and food. There’s no better way to create a perfect event for someone than providing all of that while putting a stylish fashionable look to it.
A huge thank you to Vicky for taking the time to share her story and tips here at Femme & Fortune! If you happen to be in the DC area, Heirloom DC is having an official launch party on April 16th, and our readers are invited to snag a spot on the guest list by liking @HeirloomDC on Instagram and then posting a photo of what Heirloom means to them with the tag #HeirloomDCLaunch by April 15th. Don’t miss out!