Let’s start from the beginning...how did Casa Mia come to be? Can you give a little background of the company and overall mission?
It all started over dinner …… surprise surprise! Caroline’s original wedding day was set for Spring 2020 in Jamaica. During wedding planning, Marisa was her go-to in terms of asking for creative ideas (florals specifically) as Marisa is the best DIY person and also throws great parties. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wedding was postponed, and to make up for the wedding weekend Marisa and her husband had Caroline and her fiancé over for dinner. To Caroline’s surprise the dinner was a recreation of her Welcome Party inspired by The Ivy with a Jamaican twist, and Marisa nailed it.
From there, the wine was flowing and Marisa explained this idea of somehow delivering tablescapes to people’s homes. We both started spit-firing ideas and with Caroline’s business savviness, we were able to take the concept and make it a reality. Both of them were determined to bring happiness to people’s front doorsteps, then their tables, and Voilà Casamia!
Our Mission is to deliver thoughtful and playful entertaining packages to become your not-so-secret weapon for aspiring hostess wishing to achieve merrimaker status. It’s fun to have a table party.
How did you two meet? Have you found having two founders to be really beneficial and more efficient? How do you delegate tasks?
We met in LA through family connections, but we overlapped in NYC and lived one block from each other and never met! As our friendship blossomed, business concepts, dreams, aspirations, problems and solutions often found their way into the topic of conversation. So, honestly, it is no surprise that we ended up becoming business partners! Having two founders is extremely beneficial… most importantly that you are doing everything as a team. Being an entrepreneur and being your own business owner is fun and exciting, but there is the ‘scary’ side of it. The saying ‘two heads are better than one’ is a very accurate statement with co founders! In terms of delegation of tasks, we are lucky that our skill sets compliment each other very well. Marisa is the creative and product / supply chain guru, while Caroline takes on the sales, marketing, and business development. That being said, we are a new company, so a lot of times it is all hands on deck, which is an innate mindset we both have towards life (which is EXTREMELY helpful!)
Were you both big party hostesses prior to the launch of Casa Mia?
Marisa is the most amazing hostess, and Caroline was not… overwhelming, stressful, time consuming…. to summarize, the Caroline’s of the world need the Marisa’s of the world’s help. Our entire business was originally built and stemmed from that statement!
Tell us about your boxes! What inspires each design? We love the Beyond the World box. Can you tell us the story behind that one?
All of the boxes have different inspiration, but we have our Party People in mind first and foremost. Party People is what we refer to our amazing customers as…… and we truly take everything they say and want into consideration from box themes to wanting to see more of a specific product in our upcoming boxes.
Beyond the World was an exclusive collaboration with photographer Shayna Fontana. The Beyond the World series was inspired by Shayna's love of cooking and experimenting with diverse cuisine. Seeking out foods from Asian and Indian markets, it inspired her to photograph unique vegetables, fruits, fish and noodles in an other worldly way.
Photographer from Chicago living in Texas. Shayna works in the Fashion and Commercial photography industry. She has collaborated with many fashion designers and editorial fashion magazines including Harper's Bazaar & Gucci.
What were you working on before the launch? Do you have advice for women trying to break out of their current industry and pivot without being too fearful?
We both have an entrepreneurship bone…… Marisa was running her own dress line called The Risa Collection (it is still going full speed as well: www.therisacollection.com) and Caroline was working at Knot Standard a custom menswear company based out of New York City running their Business Development department.We are both focused on Casamia full time, and excited to see where it goes. SO.MUCH.POTENTIAL!
For advice on breaking out of an industry, it is a combination of:
Just going for it Gut Feeling Market Needs (ie. is your business solving a problem for someone? Who are your competitors? How to differentiate? Etc. )
What is your go to dinner meal when having a small group over? And favorite cocktail as well of course!
Marisa: My go to is always Italian, you can’t beat homemade pasta!! And of course set the table with our Al Fresco box. I would start the evening with cheese + charcuterie and any other goodies I find. Love to get these items at local gourmet marketplaces. And the evening wouldn’t be complete without a Spritz, Campari is my favorite. Caroline: I would use our Pancho box for the tablescape. My husband would make classic beef & chicken fajitas on the grill with a side of rice and beans for a good ole fajita night, family style! I would serve my homemade margarita (fresh lime juice, tequila, & tiny dash of cointreau; sometimes get crazy with adding muddled jalapenos)
What is your main piece of advice for entrepreneurs starting their own venture?
Build a support system… fellow entrepreneurs, family, friends; someone, somewhere has most likely come across that obstacle or solution and people like to help! Trust your instincts and when you are making any decision, ask yourself ‘does this decision, whether small or big, help find the solution we have created for our customer?’ In the Casamia world, that question we ask ourselves is: ‘Does that bring joy to our Party People’s homes.’ Easier said than done but can help simplify hard decision making (which is every hour as an entrepreneur!) Just go for it.
If people in LA are hosting but not cooking, what are your go to restaurants for take out?
Marisa: Cassia, Gilberts, Robertas Caroline: Hillstone Restaurant (R&D AND Hillstone), Jon + Vinny’s, Ospi Venice, Phorage, Sugarfish
If you could sit at a dinner table with anyone (alive or past) who would it be and what would you serve? What box would you use?
Marisa: I would use our 4 Person Beyond the World box serving some fabulous sushi! The perfect guest list would include @Ophra @lisarinna Andy Warhol cause the most random groups are always the most fun! Caroline: I would use our 4 - Person Garden Party box (launching mid April 2021!) and for some light hearted fun invite @itsmetinx @courtneygrow & @marissahermer
I would serve takeout from @marissahermer ‘s restaurant @thedraycott because it is the perfect lunchtime fare for the Bordallo Pinheiro Cabbage Plates (I do not cook!) and would serve my homemade margarita (I can make a good marg!) or Sancerre.
Have you found the at home dinner/tablescape industry to grow due as a result of quarantine? Do you think it will continue to do so once we’re back to more normality?
It definitely has! People are putting more time, energy, and money into their homes which includes tablescapes and making their meals more memorable. Home will continue to grow for a while, and it is not new news that people enjoy a good dinner party or cocktail party… hoping they can just be a true party sometime soon!