Picnic startup straight out of the box

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 05:00 20/01/2014

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Kiwis love a good picnic in the sun and startup Picnic Box is taking advantage of that.

Diane Stanbra established the company, which sells pre-packaged picnic boxes, in 2011 but the business is just starting to take off.

Stanbra also works fulltime for a software development company and is an accountant by profession.

However, she still employs accountants - who are forever telling her off - to crunch the numbers for Picnic Box.

Stanbra says it is hard juggling a fulltime job and running a business.

"Fortunately there are 24 hours in the day."

She hopes to shift her focus to Picnic Box fulltime within the first half of this year.

Picnic Box has tried to stay true to the traditional Kiwi picnic and includes favourites such as sandwiches, breads and pastries, she says.

For now the startup operates in Auckland but Stanbra hopes to eventually expand to Wellington, Christchurch and Waikato.

Picnic Box has been contracted to provide food for events such as Round the Bays, The World Triathlon, Eden Park events, and recently the ASB Classic and Heineken Open tennis series.

Picnic Box sold 6000 boxes last year and aims to double that every year.

Why did you start your own business?

It seemed a good idea at the time.

I've always wanted to do something and Picnic Box fell into place from a 3am thought that it would be great if people could have a picnic while watching the outdoor movie at the then-new Silo Park.

What have been the biggest obstacles in starting up your business?

The classics, time and money. I don't have enough of either.

Name one thing you've learnt in your business journey so far and from who?

It's OK to say no to events that aren't going to be beneficial or will end up costing money.

I learnt that from Carollyn Chaplin at business incubator Icehouse.

What are your business and personal goals?

Business: Build a great brand that means Picnic Box is the first choice for corporate, wedding and event catering. And expand into other cities.

Personal: Make Picnic Box a success.

Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?

Get as much help as you can and surround yourself with amazing people.

What have you sacrificed to be an entrepreneur?

Nothing. The sleepless nights, long hours, hard work and lows have been outweighed by all our happy picnickers, the amazing feedback and what we have achieved so far.

Are you prepared for failure?

No, I am not considering failing. I am prepared for things not going well. I ask for help when I need it and am surrounded by people who go above and beyond.

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What do you do in your downtime?

Read, travel and research for Picnic Box. I love finding new artisan suppliers and tasting their products.

Do you think businesses should "give back" to the community?

Yes, if they can. Ultimately it's the community that is giving to business.

We do everything we can, such as donate vouchers for school auctions, support fundraising events and charities, donate food to City Mission, and buy locally.

What has been your biggest disappointment since you started on your journey of establishing your business?

Not being able to control the weather!

Where is your favourite place to relax?

Anywhere on or by water.

What is one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?

I would love to write a book. Fairfax NZ

- Fairfax Media

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