Cadesha Pacquette found a way to turn a missed birthday party into a new, pop-up picnic enterprise.
When the COVID-19 pandemic canceled her daughter’s birthday plans last year — she wanted to go out for British afternoon tea — Pacquette decided she could do it herself. A friend sent her a photo she found online, and she set to work to set up everything perfectly.
“While I was getting everything together I said to myself, ‘This island is so beautiful to imagine doing this for everybody,’” Pacquette recalled. “We’re so focused on Covid but we do not realize what we have here right now.”
The experience led her to start her own custom picnic set-up business, JuliNJoi, earlier this year.
A Navy wife herself, Pacquette said her pop-up picnics have been popular with other military families looking for something to do to welcome home a spouse from deployment, celebrate anniversaries, go out with friends or host kids’ birthday parties. If there had been a business like hers when her husband was on active duty and coming home from deployment, Pacquette said she “absolutely would have loved it.”
“We are a military community and we have spouses who are always on deployment. I thought I could offer something to them to celebrate coming home,” she said. “The response has been phenomenal.”
A picnic for up to four people costs $90 and includes everything from the blankets and pillows to the umbrellas and flowers. A setting for 5-8 people costs $175 and includes the same on a larger scale. All the client needs to do is bring dinner and the champagne.
The client does not need to worry about setting anything up and Pacquette will quietly clear everything away when they are done.
The unique part of Pacquette’s business is that she will go to wherever the client wishes on Whidbey. If the client needs some inspiration, she will suggest some of her favorite locales.
“Lots of military spouses suggest Rocky Point — it is more secluded than Joseph Whidbey State Park,” she said.
One of the most rewarding experiences is watching a couple’s reaction when they walk up and find the elaborate spread.
“It’s the joy of just setting up something unique, and watching someone able to go and enjoy something they didn’t have to do themselves,” she said.
The picnic season can be short on Whidbey, but Pacquette said she is looking forward to fall set-ups. Those interested in scheduling a pop-up picnic can contact Pacquette through her website junjoi.com or on Instagram @juelinjoi.