Fresh air, gorgeous scenery and the perfect picnic – a winning combination that never fails to elicit a happy smile and relaxed sigh. 

In a time where we have been stuck indoors for so long with so many of our normal outlets no longer available to us, the pleasure of quality time outdoors has been heightened. The Beach Picnic Co. has taken those delicious moments under the sun a step further by crafting bespoke luxury picnic experiences. From intimate dates and surprise engagements, to community picnics and family beach dinners, founder and CEO Madison Smetana does it all. 

Photo by Kameron Pollock (@kampollock on IG)

Madison began the business last year, deep in the throes of the pandemic, with all the grit and determination required of a young entrepreneur, armed with a well-stocked arsenal of artistic vision and passion. Searching for a safe pastime herself, the business-minded 23-year-old saw a ripe opportunity to provide a service for others seeking similar dining and date idea alternatives. And thus, The Beach Picnic Co. was born. 

“The first ‘seed,’ if you will, of The Beach Picnic Co. started when I put together a picnic date for my boyfriend and I in the late summer. I had always loved throwing elaborate picnics for my friends and family beyond just the simple picnic basket and red-and-white-checkered blanket, and naturally always put a lot of thought and emphasis into the details of the picnics,” explains Madison. “My boyfriend (Riley) posted stories and a TikTok of me setting up the picnic (which I had no idea he was filming) and he posted them. All of his friends started messaging him asking if they could hire me to set up a picnic date for them and their girlfriends. That’s when Riley said I could turn my hobby into a legitimate business that people would want to use.”

“The more I thought about it, the more excited I got,” she shares. “Within a week I had made a sketch of our logo in my notebook and sent it to my uncle who is a talented graphic designer. I had chosen a name and the ideas started bursting in my head.”

Photo by Kameron Pollock (@kampollock on IG)

The company launched on October 24, 2020, to gorgeous fanfare. Undoubtedly a talented designer, Madison’s keen eye for aesthetics provide both picnickers and social media followers alike a break from the doldrums of quarantine routine. Her picnic layouts seem to capture the very landscape they are set upon, bursting with dreamy cheerfulness.

“The majority of the themes and color schemes, I have thought up on my own,” details Madison. “I take from my own sense of style and what inspires me in my day-to-day life. I love bright, colorful palettes and things that remind me of spring and summer. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning and a new idea will just come to me and I’ll think ‘that would look good on a table’ and then I bring that thought to life. My newest theme California Dreamin’ was actually inspired by the song by the Mamas and Papas. That song reminds me of the golden glow of a late afternoon in the summer, and the theme matches that. It’s lots of oranges and yellows and sunset colors and warm tones. It has a very California-dreaming vibe.”

Photo by Kameron Pollock (@kampollock on IG)

Her gut was correct, and her launch was successful. 

“Honestly, I was incredibly excited for the launch,” Madison tells us. “I was confident. I knew I had a great idea, and I felt this sureness inside that people would feel the same. Of course I had a little bit of nervousness – will I get business, will people think this is dumb – but ultimately I felt very good about the whole thing and it overshadowed any feelings of doubt. I felt like people would be as excited as I was about a new way to get outside and do something different.”

“The Beach Picnic Co. has been received more warmly than I ever could’ve anticipated,” she continues. “I think it got 300 followers in the first 48 hours alone. People were praising the idea in the comments, saying how great of an idea it was, all my friends were reposting it, you could really feel people’s excitement. I received multiple messages from strangers saying how badly they needed something like this and couldn’t wait to book – a way to celebrate their birthday, an anniversary with their loved one, in a way that felt safe and outdoors.”

Photo by Kameron Pollock (@kampollock on IG)
Photo by Kameron Pollock (@kampollock on IG)
Photo by Kameron Pollock (@kampollock on IG)

“My dream event would be one long family-style table along the beach, with a lot of sushi, and other creative individuals whom I’ve looked up to/followed for a long time,” she answers. “I think it’d be really cool to invite people who have inspired me to something of my own creation, and converse and share ideas under the sunset. I also think it’d be really cool to do a location event on a tropical beach somewhere. Maybe one day!”

With a lot of love and a little bit of sun, The Beach Picnic Co. is sure to be bringing smiles and memories for years to come. 

Partner with: Irvine Weekly