Sustainable Business Network

Kate Strathmann of Wanderwell

Kate Strathmann of Wanderwell

Kate Strathmann is the owner of Elysian Fields — an unconventional consulting company that helps small business owners align their values and vision with success in business.

Rasa Stirbys Benefico & Allegra Derengowski of Birchtree Catering

Rasa Stirbys Benefico & Allegra Derengowski

Rasa Stirbys Benefico & Allegra Derengowski

This interview is part of the Wellstruck Lady Boss Series

Birchtree Catering is co-hosting Wellstruck Lady Boss on August 18, 2016 in Philadelphia.


Let's get to know them

Q: What's your current guilty pleasure?

Allegra: No guilt here ;)

Rasa: Not guilty at all about this, but having been pretty vocally against reality cooking shows for years and years, I feel a bit goofy for how much I love the Great British Baking Show. I cannot get enough of it.

Q: What are you listening to lately?

Allegra: Toddler Radio on Pandora

Rasa: I need music going when I'm working so my brain food is great moody instrumentals like Zoe Keating or Ludivico Einaudi. Comfort food is Brandi Carlile or Johnny Cash, and my energy food is Beyoncé.

Q: Who are you crushing on?

Allegra: Rabbit Rabbit Crew.

Rasa: Recrushing on Ottolenghi thanks to a great instagram account. Also San Francisco.

Q: Current mantra (or phrase, or affirmation...)?

Allegra: Someday it won't be this hard...

Rasa: The world is a big big place — impact, improve and beautify your place in it.

Birchtree Supper Club at Globe Dye Works (photo by  BG Productions )

Birchtree Supper Club at Globe Dye Works (photo by BG Productions)

Birchtree Supper Club at Globe Dye Works (photo by  BG Productions )

Birchtree Supper Club at Globe Dye Works (photo by BG Productions)

What makes them boss


Q: Tell us about your business.

Both: Birchtree Catering is a local, seasonal, sustainable caterer in Philadelphia, PA. We love creating custom menu for our clients, and we source from the best farms and market the region has to offer. We pair this with excellent service, planning and coordination, and a genuine love for what we do, and our clients can tell the difference. We offer full service events for weddings, cocktail parties, intimate dinners, corporate events, showers and everything in between.

Q: What accomplishment are you celebrating right now?

Both: We're currently in the middle of a very exciting project, so I'll tell you about that. Our kitchen and office are located inside Globe Dye Works, a 200-year-old factory in the Frankford neighborhood, and by the end of this year we hope to be opening as an event venue for weddings and corporate events. This has been an ongoing project for 4 years, as the owners had to bring the building up to code and receive our city permits, which, if anyone knows, can be a 4-year-long process, and we are finally on our way to starting construction. We are working with the FABULOUS Heart & Dash on this project and I can't wait to see the finished product.

Q: What keeps you motivated?

Allegra: At first, I was just motivated by a desire to do something with myself, but then once we got going, I found my strengths, and there's parts of the business that I love so much, like branding and marketing, that I would never have discovered otherwise. Now my strongest desire is to grow the company to be financially stable, so that Rasa and I can take a breath and focus on where we want Birchtree to go next. Also, I'm really competitive, and I actually think that's a big motivator for me as well. If someone else can do it, I can probably do it better.

Rasa: The essentials remain — I love food and feeding people. I truly believe all the parts of a good meal, from the food grown to the preparation, from choosing a menu and arranging food, to sharing, eating and enjoying a meal is a really important cycle and I'm honored to be a part of it. As our business has grown I've become really motivated by the energy and ideas of our staff, and the responsibility that comes with it. I want to grow a thriving business and create a dynamic and inspiring environment for my people every day.

Q: Why should others join us for lady boss?

Allegra: As we are growing up with a whole new crop of young female business owners, it's so important for us to stick together and lift each other up. We're only getting a small piece of the pie, and anything we can do to support woman-owned small business is a big deal! I've attended several lady boss events and I'm always inspired.

Rasa: I love the energy and creativity of bad ass ladies together!

Birchtree Supper Club at Globe Dye Works (photo by  BG Productions )

Birchtree Supper Club at Globe Dye Works (photo by BG Productions)

Connect with them on Instagram!

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