Meet the creators of The Simple Feast: Amanda DeSeta and Michelle Sy, two women in their 30s who love to entertain their friends from the comfort of their own homes. They are self-taught cooks who find cooking to be relaxing andrewarding. Amanda and Michelle met while working in the entertainment industry – which, they say, has served the launch of The Simple Feast (TSF) immensely. They have been able to draw on their media backgrounds for promotional ideas, content development, and marketing strategy. And Amanda and Michelle have found that by running the site, their own feasts at home have become “a lot more fabulous and a lot more simple!”
What inspired you to start The Simple Feast?
We both entertain at home a lot, and our guests constantly ask us how we do it; saying they could never do it themselves, or that they want to, but don’t know where to begin. So we decided to share our tips and advice by creating a site that shows just how easy it is to pull off an affordable, elegant party in your own home – with the right recipes and planning.
Why focus on cooking and entertaining at home?
We believe there’s no better way to share time with friends and family than in the comfort of your own home. People tend to stay longer, talk more, and are more relaxed in a home setting over a bar or a restaurant. Also, entertaining a group of people at home is often less expensive than the price of a night out, so it’s simply more practical than going out all the time.
What’s the best advice you received as you were starting The Simple Feast?
We actually haven’t received that much advice – but we have received a ton of support from our husbands, friends, and business associates. Having that support has been critical in keeping us focused and motivated, and a wonderful reward that has made starting the site even more satisfying.
What advice would you give to someone starting up his/her own business?
Vet your concept all the way through – find out not only who your competitors are, but look at brands that you can link to and who could possibly support your new brand. Work on micro-PR: no one will know about you unless you tell them you exist. If you can’t pitch your concept in one sentence, refine what you are doing even further.
Passion takes you only so far – make sure that you have the time to devote to launching your own business. Even if you are doing this “on the side,” it’s still going to take many hours of dedication. Where will that fit in your current schedule? Make sure you schedule that time and stick to it. Finally, keep your operating costs as low as possible. A huge advantage for us is that Amanda owns a media company that does web development so we have been able to build our site without contracting an outside company. We practice what we preach—DIY (do it yourself)!
What do you know now that you’d wish you had known before launching The Simple Feast?
We chose a proprietary website hosting system that helps optimize for Search Engines and build traffic. While the system has definitely worked for us, we wish that we would have known how labor-intensive site wide changes are.
What do you enjoy most about owning your own business?
Setting our own schedule. Being our own boss. Being in control of our own success. Seeing our work pay off in terms of ad revenue, traffic increases, etc. Being able to be creative. Having a job that revolves around food and includes spending time in the kitchen. It’s a relaxing way to work.
If someone is searching for home entertaining tips, why should he or she turn to The Simple Feast instead of, say, Martha?
We worship Martha, but the reality is that most people don’t have the time, inclination, or skills needed to execute most of her suggestions, and that is what has made entertaining at home daunting to many people. We are the simple, easy, do-it-yourself site — our suggestions are easily attainable, even for novice hosts. How many people really own a butane torch to caramelize things? How many people have the time to hand stencil or decoupage favors for a baby shower?
We offer clever, quick solutions that are easy to implement from the word go. We show you how to take basic, everyday items and turn them into something special. Plus, we provide step-by-step timelines that tell you what to do, and exactly when, so you’re not wiped out by the time your event begins.
Visit TSF at www.thesimplefeast.com.