Charcuterie is a new trend as a unique experience in its own right. But have you considered incorporating it as part of your wedding? Whether it's part of your Rehearsal Dinner, preparing for the big day, or even having it as part of the Reception, charcuterie is a great accent for any occasion. Fortunately, the co-owner of The Blue Magnolia, Nathalie Barreto, sat down and shared with me how her and her father, George, started their company during the COVID-19 quarantine period. In addition to talking about The Blue Magnolia, we also discussed our similar experiences in Calculus, where Nathalie feels centered, as well as what Nathalie's plans are for Thanksgiving.
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DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:00:25] Well, hello everyone again. Thanks for checking out the podcast. My name is DJ Josh with Highlight Weddings and Events. And I have an awesome guest today. Her name is Nathalie Barretto with The Blue Magnolia. How are you doing today, Nathalie?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:00:42] Hey Josh. I'm doing great. Thank you so much for having me today.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:00:46] Oh, my pleasure. I am kind of cold. I'm actually wearing socks.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:00:50] I'm wearing a sweater, but with a tennis skirt.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:00:53] Oh, that's fancy.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:00:55] And I'm still freezing.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:00:57] Well, my wife and I don't usually turn the heat on cause we live in Florida, so it's kind of weird, but she likes it cold. so we wait until it's regularly in the fifties before we start to turn the heat on. Cause I'm like, "Babe, it's, kinda cold. Can we, make it a little warmer?"
Nathalie Barreto: [00:01:14] Well, you know, we are Destiners, so in the morning it feels like winter, in the middle of the day it's like spring and then in the afternoon it's fall. So we get all three seasons in one day.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:01:31] If you're not from here, the low today's like in the mid-forties. And the high is like 70, 73 because Florida is Florida. Natalie, would you mind introducing yourself to the listeners?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:01:44] Absolutely. So my name is Nathalie Barreto. I am co-owner of Blue Magnolia along with my dad, George. We are so lucky and so grateful to have started Blue Magnolia. Our business has been a culmination of all of our passions. We love good food. We have a flair for entertaining, but most importantly, it's been an outlet for my dad and I to bring love to our hometown and see firsthand our customer's reaction when they've received one of our boxes or boards, or even walk up to a picnic site.
And if I'm being honest, Blue Magnolia started with my boyfriend's mom's continuous praise on the spread I made that I created for our first joint Thanksgiving together. So every time I see her, I always thank her now because she gave me the idea of Blue Magnolia, which I think is just really special.
So of course, with COVID this year, there was so much downtime on my hands and I wanted to have a creative outlet to turn to. First, I've tried baking. I'm not a baker. My mom, she's the real baker in the family. I turned to painting. It was a mess. And, finally, I found myself in the kitchen again, but making charcuterie boards and I absolutely loved how they looked and how yummy they were.
One day, dad and I were having lunch. It was right after quarantine was lifted. And I told him I had an idea for a business concept here. He thought it was so unique and innovative for our area, that that day I started with branding: our logo, design, the look and feel of our company. And we just hit the ground running.
It's amazing what you can accomplish when you find that passion for what you're doing.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:03:27] Mm, totally. How does your dad factor into the company? What are different roles that you and him have?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:03:34] That's a really great question and something that we get asked a lot. My dad, he had a restaurant on 30A . We're originally from New Orleans. I moved to Destin when I was seven. And so dad started his first restaurant in Seagrove Beach called Las Palmas Cafe and Bakery. It was a four-star Cuban restaurant that also came out on Southern Living Magazine. So that's how he started getting into the restaurant business.
I would always spend my time with him after school or on the weekends. So I would always, engage with all the customers. the hostess, the waiters, the kitchen staff. And it's really funny because ever since I was little, I wanted to ring up people. I wanted to be behind, the cash register taking people's money.
so you have this seven-year-old curly Sue, who shouldn't be behind the register because I'm not old enough. But my dad always taught me, "Do what you love and to work hard and be diligent." He's the mind behind the food and everything like that. And I'm the mind behind the PR, the aesthetics, the marketing.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:04:48] Okay. How did you come up with the name, The Blue Magnolia.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:04:53] So, being born in New Orleans, but raised here in Destin, going to college, in Oxford, Mississippi, magnolias have always been a really big part of my life. And I love flowers. If you know me, you know, I always have a fresh arrangement in multiple places of my home. And so when I was creating Blue Magnolia's concepts, I knew I wanted to have flowers in it. I knew I needed it to be blue and white because those are both my favorite colors and, Magnolias are just a Southern flower. So, that's how I created the name and, our brand is, feminine, but it's also contemporary. And those are two elements of style I really resignate to. So that's how it all started.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:05:41] How has it been working with him in a, company capacity?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:05:47] It's been really fantastic. My dad is my best friend and so being able to work with him, and to spend more time with him, I'm really cherishing all of the moments. My dad has had several businesses, not only just the restaurant.
And so I've always, been around him with all of his other companies and just seeing him grow something. It's always been really special to me. And now I get to work with him one-on-one and he not only mentors me, but he also teaches me things that I didn't know, or that I am still learning on.
So it's, really great. and vice versa too. You know, dad's not really tech-savvy. He doesn't really do Instagram or Facebook. So he's getting that one-on-one learning where he can finally do an Instagram story and it
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:06:37] Alright.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:06:38] Looks decent.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:06:41] Nice.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:06:43] But yeah, it's been a true blessing and I'm really grateful that I get to work with my dad day in and day out.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:06:48] Cool. Yeah. Whenever I venture to post something on either Facebook or Instagram, I will make sure that my wife approves it first because there have been times where I'll post something and she'll be like, "I'm going to change that." Because I mean, I know when something looks good, but I'm not always the best at making it look good, so,
Nathalie Barreto: [00:07:14] Right. I get it.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:07:15] So it's always good to have somebody who's strong where you are not. So you can be a more well-rounded team.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:07:22] Exactly. And I feel like that's why we complement each other so well His strengths are my weaknesses. And my strengths are his weaknesses. So, we just blend well and we kind of think alike as well. There's many components as to why we work well together,
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:07:38] Okay. Since this is a wedding podcast, what excites you about being a part of the wedding event team?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:07:48] Oh my gosh. This is such a great question. We love being a part of a wedding team because our whole business is about creating and giving our customers a unique experience. We love working with brides, and the mother of the bride's mother of the grooms, because their whole life up to this point or up to this day, they've dreamed of. They've wanted it to be perfect and it will be perfect for them.
So everything up to that moment in their life has led to the start of this one magical day and for us, to be a small part of their day and seeing their reaction to our food, there's truly no words to describe the trust and love they give to us. We work with some really amazing wedding planners, makeup artists, photographers, florists, and, obviously, brides who have now all become friends and family to us. We are just so grateful that we truly get to work with such strong, loving women and lift up their business as well.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:08:47] Cool. Cool. So from the bride's perspective, how can a couple working with you make their experience a highlight?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:08:57] We ask every bride, or their bridesmaids, to take photos of that day and videos to cherish every single moment. That day goes by so quickly, and you don't want to overlook any small detail. So we always ask everyone to please take photos, post videos, that way they have a memory to look back on and they'll remember that blue Magnolia had a very small. part of their getting ready process. We always try to stay connected with all of our brides. We're not just one and done. Blue Magnolia is here to genuinely create long-lasting relationships and friendships with everyone we serve.
and I truly think that's what sets us apart in the industry. But, to go back to your question, we work with brides, their mothers, the groom's moms. We even have, you know, grandparents that call us or sister of the bride. So we work with an array of different people that are connected to the bride herself.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:09:57] Something that I've really appreciated during the wedding is sometimes a coordinator will kind of budget some downtime where the couple is just off on their own by themselves. And usually, it's before the grand entrance. So it's kind of like a, "Okay, take a little breather. Just relish in the moment before all the busy-ness of the weddings starts to kick back up again."
Sometimes they'll actually budget enough time for the couple to eat before the reception because there's always so many different things going on that it's, hard to really just be in the moment and enjoy it.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:10:34] Absolutely.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:10:35] so I definitely think that's a great posture to have to really encourage couples to do. Because once the day's done, then you only have the memories of the day.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:10:46] Absolutely. And that's why we love being a part of a wedding team because they know that they might not have a chance to eat.
And during your reception, you don't really have time to eat. You get to pet the cake. You get to sit down with your wedding party, but mainly it's about mingling. And so, you know, everyone's really hungry and that's why we work with different wedding planners and with different components of the wedding. team. So that way, the groom, the bride, they can have something to eat something that's filling while they're getting ready. So that throughout the day they still have energy. They still are kind of full, because we know that eating is kind of a hurdle on your wedding day,
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:11:33] Mmmhmmm. Let's talk about the different boards and other options that The Blue Magnolia has to offer.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:11:41] Yes. Okay. So besides our typical charcuterie board, we have different options. We have our Cuban sandwich board, which is called our Cubanita Board. We are Cuban. You know, Cuban sandwiches are, Oh my gosh. There's so divined. So we make everything from scratch. That board has the sandwiches, the fruits, the salty plantain chips, the sweet plantain chips. It's a phenomenal, option.
And then we have our Boca's board, which is new. that's our pear prosciutto bruschetta with our homemade shrimp ceviche with the Caprice salads and cheese and some yummy fresh fruit. And we have a s'mores board, which everyone is now starting to love because the weather's getting cooler.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:12:37] Right.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:12:38] They can sit around the fire pit, enjoying our smores board with, friends, families. It's perfect for the day before wedding day. Rehearsal dinner is done. You still don't want to go to sleep. So you can gather, behind the fire, on the beach or at a bonfire somewhere, and enjoy one of our boxes.
We have our chocolatey cheese board, which is chocolate, cheese, fruit, and our nuts. So yeah, we have, several options and every day we're introducing new boards, so you're going to have to stay tuned.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:13:14] Talk a little bit and describe to the listeners what your picnic setup is like.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:13:20] Yeah. So we have different picnic packages, depending on size. But our most popular picnic is for two and we call it The Pearl. Again, Pearl is very Southern. And what it is is we set up the decor, the table. We have one of our amazing boards. Our client gets to choose which one they want to enjoy. There's always a dessert.
We provide flower arrangements from our partner, Gigi Bloom. They make amazing floral arrangements. We set it up on any beach or any location of their choosing, and it's a two-hour experience where they can just enjoy the moment with each other, with, a group of friends, and just relax, unwind. I love our picnic setup. It's absolutely beautiful. For two, we do it on this French antique table that's all white. We decorate it with, our silk blue, to tie in, our brand. And it's just, gorgeous.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:14:25] So you mentioned that the idea for The Blue Magnolia came out of COVID. How has COVID-19 impacted you both personally and professionally?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:14:36] COVID has really allowed for me to think outside of the box and to go above and beyond what my norms are. If I were to take a step back and really look at my life from an outsider's point of view, I would say that 2020 has been one of the best years of my life, which I know that sounds crazy as a business owner to say. But 2020 has invoked a flame within me to keep grinding, to stay innovative, and to push boundaries within my field of business.
We should all be really proud of ourselves more than ever this year because we've all been challenged to a certain degree. And we've learned how to quickly adapt and overcome any mental, emotional, or physical barriers we were facing. It will never take, this year for granted.
Earlier in the year for my other business, I was part of the campaign with some amazing women in the PR, marketing, and business coaching industry throughout the country. It was all about how you can change the narrative of 2020 in your business. And so my platform was just pretty simple. It was all about finding your passion, staying focused, and diligent on your tasks, but most importantly, having the mindset and confidence with conviction of crushing your goals with a lot of success.
And that's what we've done so far. That's what we'll continue to do for Blue Magnolia. And I truly give thanks every day that I've been given this blessing and the ability to work, again, with my dad and do something that excites people and makes them say, "Wow." Because that's what we try to do is provide a wow factor.
So, I'm really thankful 2020 has made me grown and, as much bad as it brought, it's brought a lot of good.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:16:19] I agree. COVID-19 has definitely, while. It's Brought on challenges that we never thought that we would have to deal with, it's also created opportunities or required us to look at what we do differently or re-examine it to decide if the direction that we thought we wanted to go is wise.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:16:44] Absolutely. I've got so many friends who worked full time, who were in corporate America, or who were teachers and they were always doing a side hustle and so 2020 has brought them the mentality of, "Maybe I can do this full time and work on my business full time." Now they no longer work in corporate America, or they're no longer teachers, but they're doing their passion and they're having their businesses. So I think 2020 has awakened a lot of people and a lot of new businesses to start.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:17:20] Well, Natalie, since you've shared about yourself as the wedding pro, would you mind answering a few personal questions?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:17:29] Oh goodness. Okay. What do you have for me, Josh?
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:17:33] All right. So first question, which is my favorite. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:17:41] You won't believe this, but I wanted to be a doctor. More specifically a cardiologist.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:17:48] Okay.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:17:49] Yeah. And that's just because my front door neighbor when I was growing up, he was the sweetest man. Every day I'd get off the bus. He'd have a Reese's cup waiting for me. And nowadays you can't even do that cause it just. Don't know people anymore, but he would always have a Reese's cup. And one Friday, I was in fourth grade, he didn't come to the door and I was like, "Oh, man. What's going on with Mr. Harold?" Then 30 minutes passed. And I see all these firetrucks and ambulances. Dad goes rushing your across the street. He passed away from a heart attack. So, I wanted to be a cardiologist to save other Mr. Harold's. Yeah. But college comes. You learn a lot about yourself and chemistry class was not good to me.
So I quickly changed to what I'm doing now, which is marketing and PR.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:18:47] Yeah. When I got out of the Air Force, I was planning on being a mechanical engineer, and, then, I realized that while I was pretty good at math, I was not good at calculus or higher-level math. So, uh, that, dream of being a mechanical engineer quickly faded away.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:19:08] So we have similar stories.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:19:10] Yes. I ended up doing accounting, which oddly enough, I could never see myself being an actual accountant. But I did get my bachelor's in accountancy, so at least it's something math-related, which is interesting.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:19:25] You deserve a lot of praise because in college I was a business minor and we had to take accounting 101 and 102. I couldn't, I could never be an accountant.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:19:41] Which one was the managerial accounting?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:19:43] That was 102.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:19:46] Yeah. That's the worst.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:19:48] Yeah, it was rough.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:19:50] Yeah. And for all you listeners who've never taken accounting. First tip: don't. But second tip: accounting is math-based, but it's very weird. You would have to experience it. If you're not into math and numbers, don't even worry about it,
Nathalie Barreto: [00:20:05] Yeah. And business calc? Nope.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:20:10] Uh, what is business calc? What did, what did they cover in that?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:20:13] So it's, basically calculus, but then you're, adding a bunch of numbers that has to relate with businesses, like revenues and all of this different things, but it's, literally as if you were taking just a normal calc class.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:20:28] Okay.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:20:29] So there's really, no, there's really no difference.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:20:33] Ah. Ok.,
Nathalie Barreto: [00:20:34] But I'm not a math person. I love algebra. But everything other than that, my brain is just too left. I can't.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:20:44] Yeah. Well, you're PR that, definitely makes sense. I would be surprised if you were both good at PR things, as well as calculus because those are kind of polar opposites.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:20:55] I know they really are.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:20:58] All right. Well, we talked offline and you mentioned that you competed in a pageant. Would you mind sharing with the listeners a little bit about that experience?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:21:10] Okay. So you're making it sound as if I was competing for Miss America or Miss USA. It was nothing like that. It was a high school pageant, my 11th-grade year, when we did move to Austin for one year to be with my mom's side of the family. It was a way for me to be outgoing and to learn, some of the people or students that were in my school. And then I did compete in a small Austin city pageant, which was very minor. But, I really am not a pageant girl. Although it did teach me a lot of fundamental things you know like public speaking, being able to hold yourself with good composure. So. Yeah. What specifically do you want to know?
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:22:02] I've never actually been to one and I'm only familiar with pageants from what I've briefly watched on like TV or anything like that.
I don't know. It's just what were some of the good and maybe not so good things that came out of being involved in the pageants that you competed in?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:22:19] Yeah, so there's a lot of stigmatism, to pageants. Body positivity is something that's heavily enforced nowadays before, in high school, it was something that was never really spoken about. so I'm really happy that that's now coming into light. It's taken the system a few years, but I'm really happy that they're, starting to promote body positivity, but that is something you know, that you get to really learn about yourself.
Being confident in your own shoes is something that I'll never forget and take away. When you are standing on that stage, you're not only judging yourself, but you're having others judge you. Learning how to not be critical of yourself and just giving it your all is something that I learned that you have to do not only in that light, but you have to take that to your everyday life.
There's been a lot of aspects that I have taken, you know, from pageants, from being in a sorority, that have really made me who I am today and being able to speak, in a well-mannered form that I will never ever forget and be thankful for.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:23:34] So let's assume that The Blue Magnolia has a down Saturday. There's no weddings. There's no picnics that have been booked. What are you going to do to fill that day?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:23:47] I'm probably going to spend time with Robert or I'm going to be on the Bay or some type of water.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:23:55] Okay. Why on the Bay?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:23:56] So we have a dock and every time that I have a bad day or that I'm trying to think about a concept, I always take my journal. And I always bring it to the Bay because water is just so peaceful to me. It really calms me. It opens up my mind, my emotions, and I can really work well when I'm with water. So that's why I love being surrounded by it. It fuels me in a way.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:24:23] Well, you definitely live in a good location to be surrounded by water.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:24:28] I know. When I was in college, this is so crazy, but I would drive like 45 minutes to find the nearest body of water if I had a rough day in class, or if I thought I failed a test, I would drive to Sardis Lake and I would literally park my car and just sit there for an hour or two and just calm down and then drive back to Oxford.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:24:52] At least you knew yourself enough to know that you needed that kind of re-centering if you will.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:24:59] Right. Right. Exactly.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:25:01] Is there anything you would like to leave the listeners with before we wrap up the podcast?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:25:05] No, they've learned now about my pageantry side, which I was trying to keep hush hush.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:25:12] Aw, that's not a bad thing.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:25:13] No, but We would love, to work with as many people and have the opportunity to meet, as many brides as we possibly can.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:25:20] What's the website?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:25:23] It's www.bluemagnoliacatering.com.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:25:27] And what's your Instagram and Facebook handles
Nathalie Barreto: [00:25:31] So our Instagram is @the.bluemagnolia. And our Facebook is Blue Magnolia Catering Destin.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:25:43] I'm glad that you've survived October and we're getting into Thanksgiving, which is always fun.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:25:52] Yes. Which is our busiest time.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:25:55] Oh really? Are you going to have any Thanksgiving-themed charcuterie boards?
Nathalie Barreto: [00:25:59] We are. So we are going to be doing small plates this year. Robert's mom and dad, they're going to bring the turkey. And then, of course, my mom can't have a Thanksgiving without traditional stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole. But dad and I, we are going to be doing small plates for appetizers.
So we're going to do our Bocas board. We're going to do our mini Cuban sandwiches. We're going to have a charcuterie board. For dessert, we're going to have a dessert charcuterie. We're excited. It's going to be fun.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:26:33] That sounds like a great time.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:26:35] And we're going to be doing a little surprise at the end of the night with another board that we're going to be posting the week after Thanksgiving, which is going to be something new.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:26:45] That sounds like fun.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:26:46] Yeah.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:26:47] Well, Natalie, thanks so much for getting on the podcast today.
Nathalie Barreto: [00:26:52] Yeah, absolutely. It was my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.
DJ Josh Woeckener: [00:26:55] Well, here's to all the couples that are planning their weddings, and here's to making those weddings a highlight.