We had the good fortune of connecting with Kaiy Smith-Biesman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kaiy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
So when it came to starting my own business I thought this could be something fun I did on the side because I was already a sommelier and lead wine tastings. Cheese and wine naturally go together so it seemed like a perfect addition but I never realized 3 years ago that this was going to turn into a full blown business so it was a bit of an accident. About 2 years ago charcuterie and graze boards became trendy and just blew up.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
So I picked art because the reality is good is art and I love that I get to be creative every day. When it comes to creating boards I think what sets us apart first and foremost is how we source of ingredients we believe that in order to have honest food it starts with sourcing ethically so we make sure that our ingredients are local and sustainable when possible. This can be a bit of a challenge and definitely is as you grow your business and this has become trendy. There are A LOT of people who have started their own cheese business and go to grocery stores etc to source products, don’t have all the proper licensing, insurance, permits, etc so they are able to charge less than we can and that has been the greatest struggle; however, I have learned not to have a scarcity mindset and believe is community over competition. So rather than letting this be a challenge we welcome it, we share our knowledge, celebrate others in the “cheese” game and realize that we once were there too! The other awesome thing about creating boards is we don’t limit it to cheese and charcuterie. You have an idea and we can make it happen. Some of our best sellers are our brunch boards and now with COVID going out to brunch isn’t always possible so why not bring be #fancyaf at home with a brunch board. We also offer virtual workshops and wine tastings through a Napa winery we have partnered which is honestly one of my favorite things and gives me a chance to engage with our clients as if we had a storefront! When it comes to our brand, our greatest goal is to be accessible, fun and unique while ensuring the best quality. I am a firm believer that food has a way of making you feel loved and our goal each time a box or board leaves our kitchen is to make people feel that love.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
So if people were to visit me in LA it would start with food fo sho and straight from the airport we would head to Brunch at the Griddle on Sunset… which has the best pancakes and awesome deals on mimosas on the weekend! Then from there we would take the scenic route home so we could check out the HOLLYWOOD sign cause that is always on everyone’s to do list. We would dive in to my neighborhood! I am from Pasadena/South Pasadena and there is so much Pasadena has to offer so I would stick local. We would spend a day in Old Town Pasadena and explore. Tons of incredible shopping and of course food. Have a picnic at Central Park and then head to happy hour at Sushi Roku (on Monday they have all happy hour all night) then hop on the metro down to Del Mar exit and have Houstons for dinner. One day we Would grab some sandwiches from Perry’s Joint and go hiking in Eaton Canyon! And if it’s really nice day head to the waterfall. And end the day with dinner at Sahara’s! By far my favorite place for food in Pasadena. The food is great but the moment you walk in their they make you feel like family and that is the best! Spend some time on Lake doing more shopping and grabbing dessert at Nicks which has the most incredible Butter Cake! On Thursday, we would head to South Pasadena Farmers Market which is my favorite and super accessible cause you can take the metro and you don’t have to worry about parking. With 2 little ones they also love the metro ride! And then before they left we would head Poppy + Rosé in LA for brunch one day and then to Venice Beach for the day and hang out until sunset to see Santa Monica Boardwalk at night which is incredible. Without writing a novel this is the short and sweet but our city has sooo much to offer! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom for sure! I have had tons of mentors who have helped me along the way too. Blessed with incredible bosses that doubled as mentors, some not so incredible bosses who have taught me what not to do and some incredible business women and men who have offered countless advice but my mom always supported everything I wanted to do even if she thought it was crazy. I was in the process of starting law school when i told her I rather do wine and she without even doubting me said “okay how do we make that happen.” She constantly encourages and supports me and tells me that whatever I put my mind too i can accomplish it. With this business she has invested time, money, love, etc as if it was her own dream and I couldn’t be more thankful to have someone so supportive and loving on my side.

Website: Www.stemsca.com
Instagram: Www.Instagram.com/stemsca
Facebook: Www.Facebook.com/stemsca

Image Credits
Nicole Anderson on the pictures with the kids Corey Frazier on my headshot All food pictures I did

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