We had the good fortune of connecting with Vina Le and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vina, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have always had a constant need for a creative outlet all my life. As I grew older, it funneled itself into a passion of decorating, which also stemmed into hosting and decorating for such events, to share my passion with others to also enjoy. When the pandemic hit, we all became negatively effected in so many ways, but lack of precious time with one another became the biggest strain on our emotional well-beings. Many individuals around the world tried to resolve this by coming up with creative solutions that allowed people to still spend time together in a more open-space environment, where you can better appreciate nature, while simultaneously enjoying luxury qualities from dining at your favorite restaurant.
I personally fell in love with the concept of “luxury picnics” as soon as I learned about them. They had begun to pop up all over California, as one of the first groups I read about was the young ladies of “Picnic ‘n Chill” in Bay Area. I noticed it was still a relatively unfilled market in Texas. That inspired me to quit my retail management job of 10 years to take a leap and follow a new outlet!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My chosen business name of Vina’s Indulgent Picnic is meant to be a cheeky way to include my name into the title, while referencing the acronym of V.I.P. The main goal of my business is to have every single client feel special, like they are a V.I.P. Whether they’re the ones who booked it, or the ones who were invited. Everyone should feel a little spoiled and catered to when booking a luxury picnic.
I spend a lot of effort and time into constantly creating new and various themes to cater to different tastes, or the vibe and occasion clients are going for with their set up. From a business stand point, I understand that it is more “financially smart” to only keep themes that are popular and trending in rotation, but that excitement you get when you see something created in a niche interest of yours, will always motivate me to keep coming up with more unique set ups. I’m proud to say that the most frequent compliment I have received is the availability of such designs. I also try my best to do research into keeping my services relatively affordable so everyone can get their chance of being a V.I.P.!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Of course you have your “must visits” in Houston. Nasa Space Center, the Museum District, the Houston Zoo, and a trip to Galveston and it’s Pleasure Pier.
If they have more time however, I would check out the street art all around the city, maybe to snap a shot at the “Houston” mural at Leeland and ST. Enamuel Streets as a nice souvenir. Our biggest privilege in living in Houston is the diversity in culture which luckily translates into our food as well. I would hit up the taco trucks along Edgebrook, or hang out La Esquina Food Truck’s new location at East End Backyard. Bellaire is packed full of great places to discover and shop for all kinds of asian fruits, vegetables and snacks at locations such as Hong Kong 4, and Hmart. They are also both great places to try popular and gentle asian skin care brands. Reiwatakiya (formerly Shibuyala) is also a cute shop for this, with some great photo ops. The famous Tan Tans has 2 locations for enjoying a variety of Vietnamese foods, but there are so much more in Bellaire that specialize in specific dishes. Such as Pho Dien for of course, pho. Visit Gen Korean BBQ or enjoy hot pot at Happy Lamb, but I would come hungry and wearing stretchy pants! The many parks are also a must visit if the crazy Houston weather permits. I highly recommend booking a V.I.Picnic of course, but any of these locations enjoyable even without one. Buffalo Bayou Park, Memorial Park, Smith Park, Helen’s Park, just to name a few more unique ones.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have to a shoutout to my loving parents, Hai and Phung. As a first generation immigrant, I know my parents have a difficult time fathoming their child chasing a creative endeavor with all the uncertainty that it comes with. Nonetheless, they have tried their best to push their fears aside to support me in all the ways they are able, and it has meant more to me than they will ever know. I would also like to shoutout my younger brother, best friend, and the amazing small business community in Houston. They have all given up so much of their time and efforts to supporting me as well!
Other: Tik Tok: V.I.Picnics