What started as a simple favour for her now sister-in-law has grown to be a business much higher in demand than Sadie Holmes ever could have hoped.
In a “what-the-heck” moment of her own, Holmes started Georgian Graze less than two months ago, and she’s already worried about how she’s going to juggle all the order requests pouring in for the holiday season.
Georgian Graze features handcrafted boards, planks and platters overflowing with colourful finger foods, perfect for private parties, community events or even a cozy date night.
Her mission with Georgian Graze is simple: to fill the platters with as much local goodness as possible.
“It’s crazy. It’s actually so random,” said Holmes. “When people ask me what exactly I do… Well, I cut fruit and cheese and make it look pretty cool.”
Holmes, a fulltime firefighter, moved to Collingwood just over a year ago. She never considered herself to be an artsy person, but she enjoyed making the sprawling platters for fun, typically sharing them with friends and family at family dinners or girls nights in.
For her brother’s wedding in September, Holmes whipped up one of her famed platters for her sister-in-law-to-be to nibble on while getting ready for her big day. The photographer snapped a pic, and it wasn’t long before she was getting an influx of messages asking where to buy the beautiful creations.
Now, not even two months later, Holmes is juggling her inboxes overflowing with orders requests, all while driving back and forth to the city to work 24-hour shifts at the station.
“It’s just crazy to think… If you told me this is what I would be doing with my spare time four months ago I never would have believed you,” Holmes laughed.
Holmes said so far, the majority of her platters have been custom made. She plans to offer a variety of shapes and sizes and then customers can request specifications or substitutions, such as dietary restrictions or additional ingredients.
Everything Holmes includes on her boards she sources as locally as possible.
“There are so many cool local spots, which has been really fun to learn. I feel like every day there are new little businesses popping up,” Holmes said.
Georgian Graze features other local favourites such as Holly Dolly Bakes, The Cheese Gallery, Good Family Farms, Gather Grocery, The Frauxmagerie, Collingwood Bread Company, the Collingwood Farmers Market, and many, many more. She is always looking for new collaborations she can showcase on her platters.
Holmes said she’s eaten quite well in the process, and she’s begun to love the little rituals that come along with her new job.
“Holly drops her donuts off at Gibson early on Friday mornings, so if I ever need her donuts, I come to meet her and we sit and have a coffee and chat.”
“That’s probably the best part of it,” Holmes continued. “I’ve met so many amazing people. There are so many cool people in the area, and to be able to work alongside each other… It’s the best.”
Holmes’ boards have picked up a lot of traction on Instagram and she’s starting to get worried about taking on too much. She’s working on a website to make her business more official, but has no plans to promote any time soon.
For now, she’s just happy to keep it fun, and to continue creating the boards herself and sharing her favourite local suppliers to anyone who’s hungry.
“My full-time job is kind of a man’s world, so it’s nice to have a job where I can just be me. There is a lot of stress and standards you have to live up to in a fire hall, so it’s nice to come home and zone out,” Holmes said.
A lot of her designs and creations are inspired by Instagram and Pinterest, but she said sometimes it’s by complete accident that she ends up discovering a new way to cut a kiwi, or arrange the cheese selection.
“It’s a new and fun challenge. I’m not an entrepreneur, but it’s making me more creative. I like that it’s my business, so I still have the ability to step back and say a board is unavailable if I feel like it’s too much,” Holmes said. “But I want to be as available as possible.”