NWA entrepreneur Suzanne Billings sets a jarring food trend
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.
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.
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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