After losing her husband and mother, Robyn Parker decided to pick up a hobby and teach herself something new: how to make a charcuterie board.
Now remarried and surrounded by children and grandchildren, Parker turned her hobby into a successful business. Bites & Boards delivers customized, beautifully arranged and delicious boards filled to the brim with meats, cheeses and fruits for any occasion.
“I was 56 at the time, and my mother had passed away at 56,” Parker said. “I’m healthy, and I’m happy, and I want to bring some happiness to other people.”
A Baton Rouge local since high school, Parker started making the boards in 2015 for her friends and family. She was encouraged by the responses she received.
“I had so much fun doing them for us, for gatherings, game nights, grandkids,” Parker said. “Someone eventually said, ‘Why don’t you start doing it for money?’”
After resounding success on a small scale, Parker took to social media, specifically Instagram, in late 2018 to advertise and spread the word, opening her business to all who desired a unique gift and a tasty board.
Parker said she owes the success of her business to this free form of advertisement.
“People always say they love the little hashtags and quotes I come up with” Parker said. “It really is the best form of advertisement because it is free, and so easily accessible.”
It was Instagram, with its beautiful photos of the artistically designed boards, that caught the attention of 225 Magazine in August, when a feature on Parker’s business brought more eyes and rumbling stomachs to the page and to Parker’s doorstep.
“The lady from 225 said, ‘I’ve got to introduce you to the Baton Rouge community.’ It really took off from there,” Parker said.
Parker not only crafts boards for people all across the city, but hosts workshops at local businesses like 3Tails Wine and Cheese, and does private parties as well. With the help of local butchers, dairy stores, and farmer’s markets, each workshop and board is custom-made and personalized to fit every occasion.
“Jungle themes, animal themes, I did a Minecraft theme for a birthday party once...I personalize it for every different event,” Parker said.
Despite the success of Bites and Boards, Parker never planned to hire employees, or expand past herself and Instagram. For Parker, it’s more than just meat and cheese — it is a symbol of a bygone era, and a way of bringing people together.
“I feel like we’ve lost the art of gathering together.” Parker said. “[the boards] at least, your hands are full of food, your talking face-to-face, gathering around a grazing board.”
The next time you need to get a gift for a loved one, forgo the usual flowers or gift cards for a personal, handmade, and delicious charcuterie board from Bites and Boards. Let Parker craft a work of art for your next gathering.
“They are a unique and tasty gift that can be customized for the recipient.
“Flowers are out, cheese is in.” Parker said.