May 10, 2022 - Food and Drink

NWA entrepreneur Suzanne Billings sets a jarring food trend

Courtesy Suzanne Billings. Photo: Eric Billings

Fayetteville native and serial entrepreneur Suzanne Billings is an international trendsetter.

What happened: In a pandemic pinch, the founder of Noble Graze put her signature charcuterie boards in single-serve mason jars.

  • They were an instant hit and were allowed under the food service COVID restrictions.
  • A friend jokingly suggested the term "jarcuterie." Being social media savvy, Billings jumped on the phrase and created its first hashtag.

Her work has since been featured by "Today," Fox News, The Detroit News, and Marie Claire Australia.

Driving the news: Tuesday is the official release of Billings' first book, "Jarcuterie." She told Axios it's written a bit like a cookbook, but she sees it more as an idea generator for do-it-yourselfers.

  • Billings landed the book deal after a publisher noticed the trend and then traced the original hashtag back to her Instagram account.

House Special and Red Hill in Fayetteville will host a drop-in book signing Tuesday night from 5-7.

Cover art of a book called Jarcuterie by Suzanne Billings.
Courtesy Suzanne Billings

State of play: For Billings, jarcuterie has evolved to include just about any container that lends itself to sharp presentation and single-servings. The book has a range of ideas for game days, birthdays and holiday snacks, or for no reason at all.

The intrigue: Billings' work is far from stuffing finger food in a jar. Clients seek her out due to both word-of-mouth and mouthwatering photos frequently posted on Instagram. Her posts are seen by nearly 30,000 followers.

  • Parties, corporate events, weddings and get-togethers are her bread and butter, she said. Noble Graze handles events from 10 to 500 attendees.

What they're saying: She pays intense attention to detail and is always on the prowl for fresh ingredients.

  • "If it doesn't look perfect then it doesn't taste perfect," she said. "You cannot compromise."

Flashback: Making things with her hands has always been something Billings has gravitated to. That led her to become an entrepreneur.

  • Before starting Noble Graze in 2017, Billings sold handcrafted jewelry for several years through her business Hip To Be Me.
  • In 2001, she and her husband, Eric, were owner-operators of a successful Shake's Frozen Custard franchise in College Station, Texas for about a year, and then were original partners in Fayetteville's Flying Burrito.
  • She's worked as an event planner, director of a nonprofit and at an ad agency. So, Noble Graze and marketing it online is a culmination of all her career skills.

What to watch: Billings is planning to open a retail location sometime this year where she will sell charcuterie boards and related supplies, and teach creative design workshops for those who want to do it themselves.


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