|Amanda Robertson (left) and Kim Caswell Snyder|
Amanda and I met through our daughters’ school in Amherst, MA. We are both, coincidentally, from New York City, so there was an immediate connection. Our love of food, craft, and design became apparent pretty quickly. Amanda is a trained chef – a graduate of CIA (Culinary Institute of America). I had a 20+ Career in non-profit administration but had worked in a bakery, which sparked a love of cooking, baking and feeding folks. My experience in business and event planning coupled with my knack for cooking, baking and design paired perfectly with Amanda’s culinary training, party planning, and meticulous organization. Our similar culinary and design esthetic brought it all together; our skill sets really compliment each other.
How did you choose the business name?
We absolutely wanted to capitalize on what sets us apart – the fact that we hand-craft linens, decor, floral arrangements and create innovative, local, seasonal menus is unique. We have a particular love of vintage, rustic, re-purposed and hand-made goods. So “Homespun” felt right. But we struggled a bit with the “grandmotherly,” “quaint” associations with the word homespun. So the font and image choices were very important, as is the use of vintage feedsack fabrics in our logo. In the 30’s and 40’s flour, sugar, rice, etc. was sold in printed fabric sacks so that women could use for curtains, quilts, dresses, etc. Because of the food reference as well as the crafty, re-purposing aspects it seemed like a perfect symbol for what we do.
What sets your business apart from others offering catering and event design?
As mentioned we hand-craft everything. But even if someone doesn’t choose to have us sew linens or napkins we are a “one stop,” “soup to nuts” shop. We will plan, decorate, coordinate, cook and arrange flowers, PLUS manage rentals, music, etc. Our sophisticated understanding of cuisine, color, and composition makes for a flawless event – whether an office luncheon or large, formal wedding. We also have a wonderful, large collection of platters, vintage linens, and serving vessels that we rent out upon request.
|A vintage sari becomes a tablecloth at a recent event|
On the menu
Do you prepare menus for special diets (veg/vegan, gluten free, etc.)?
Absolutely! We have an event coming up for a luncheon after a yoga event which is vegetarian and gluten, soy, egg, sugar, and dairy free! We have a scrumptious menu planned.
Where are you available?
Western Mass/Pioneer Valley, Boston, Hartford & Northern CT, Southern VT & NH (Brattleboro and surrounding areas), Berkshires and Eastern NY. Basically a two-ish hour radius from Amherst!
Do you have a specialty (specialties)?
Food and decor-wise we can do almost anything the customer wants. We have a menu but we feel it should be used only as a jumping off point to creating a truly unique menu. We are not a prescribed “platter” type caterer. What we really love to do is to create a complete, transformed experience and/or environment. Even if we are not doing the full decor for an event, the colors, serving vessels, flavors and textures should be works of art and guests should feel joyful and brightened by the experience. When we are also able to fully decorate and transform a physical space in addition to feeding people we are ecstatic.
|Almond cake with orange-apricot jam|
We having an event coming up that has a Moroccan theme where we create a colorful, textural Moroccan wonderland. And of course a full Moroccan menu including a saffron squash and chickpea tagine, carrot harissa spread, Zaalouk (eggplant/tomato dip), cous cous, cucumber salad with lemon-tahini dressing, and an almond-orange cake with whipped coconut cream.
What do you think people should consider before hiring an event designer/caterer?
Certainly people should consider their budget and timeline. We can work with people on costs and help direct folks on ways to cut costs. That always works best when people have a clear idea of their budget. Being direct about your “absolutes” is also important. “I absolutely DO NOT like/want….” “I absolutely DO love/want….” and of course food allergies and sensitivities.
It’s always a good idea to consider how much work one would like to do for an event. Some people love to have a hand in their own decor and have platters, etc. that they love to use, others don’t want to have to think about anything and just want to enjoy their event.
In working with a bride-to-be recently on her wedding plans she expressed a desire to sew her own napkins for the event. We were absolutely supportive while also reminding her that she’d have a lot to think about and a lot of emotion flowing leading up to her wedding and that she might find sewing all the napkins a burden. We reminded her that it was her special day and she should feel loved, cared for and pampered. She realized that taking as many details off her plate would be best so she could enjoy her day and focus on her fiancé and the family and friends gathered to celebrate them.
|Floral arrangement in mercury glass vase|
Any recent trends in food/presentation that you’re in love with?
Always! We (like the rest of the world) got very caught up in the “burlap and mason jar” craze. We are pulling back from it slightly because it has become so mainstream. We both love, and have an extensive collection of, vintage linens. We use them outright, or if they are stained/holey we re-purpose them into napkins, cafe squares or runners. We love depression-era glass and a mish-mosh of vintage china. We love a combination of teal, red and yellow serving vessels. We love rustic, wood slabs for serving. We love modern, mid-century pieces. We love antique furniture – dressers or desks with antique linens – for presenting a focal food, like a wedding cake. We also like to blend some of these different styles together for a unique effect.
|Pear frangipane tart|
Food-wise, we use as many seasonal, local ingredients as we can source, and we love to couple classic French culinary technique with modern twists and a variety of cultural influences.
Business trends in the catering world show that more and more people want a “one-stop shop” for their events. We are the only event designer/caterer around to be doing this. So far, people have been very receptive and happy to find it.