We had the good fortune of connecting with Caitlyn Love and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caitlyn, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Having a work life balance is something I have to consciously focus on every day. I have learned that I am a more focused and engaged creative when I take breaks during the day for a hike, bike ride, etc., and on the flip side, I am able to relax in my off-time when I have my work tasks completed.
Before COVID, the lines between work and play were more blurred for me. Taking breaks and having a balance was something that felt frowned upon prior to the pandemic in our society, but the past year has absolutely put the importance of creating boundaries around those who felt that way and finding time for myself into perspective.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I started Wandering West Picnics sitting on the bank of the Colorado Rive after a miserable two weeks in my professional career. During the height of the pandemic, rising pressure from all angles, and an endless sea of corporate tasks that I didn’t feel ownership in. I had lost all creative motivation and knew I needed something on the side that would satisfy my desire to create and build something.
Enter : Wandering West Picnics. As of today, we’re the only full-service, outdoor picnic company on the western slope, serving couples, elopements, and those who just want to hang out with good food, drink, and an incredible view.
People are usually surprised to hear that this business nearly happened overnight. Being an entrepreneur at heart, it’s not uncommon for me to wake up in the morning and have five new business ideas as soon as my eyes open. Having worked previously in events and looking to get away from large scale gatherings, I knew I had all the tools to make this idea happen. After about one week of working early mornings and late nights, I had built a website, set up an instagram account, designed a logo, styled two photoshoots, filled out necessary paperwork, and was already receiving a flood of inquiries from potential picnic goers.
Through all of this, I am most proud about executing my idea and building the framework by myself. With the opportunities I was given in past careers, I was able to apply all of it and build something that has been a success and something that is used to celebrate all of life’s best moments for my clients.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Living on the western slope for a decade, I’ve got some pretty good ideas about where to take those who want a day of adventure and the best our area has to offer. We live in an area where the possibilities are endless and with Grand Junction, Fruita, and Palisade all nestled in the Valley, I like to think that we have three different ‘identities’ all tied into one.
For a week in the area, I would suggest the following :
Downtown Grand Junction : not only will you see the nation’s first year-round outdoor sculpture exhibit (about 100 pieces on display), but you’re also in the neighborhood of some of the best food, drink, shopping, and entertainment on this side of the Rocky Mountains. My personal preferences? Bin707 Foodbar, Tacoparty, Il Bistro Italiano, Dream Cafe, Ramblebine Brewing, Kiln Coffee Bar, Out West Books, Colorado Baby, and catching a show at the Avalon Theatre. After you’ve filled up, be sure to take a drive around the Colorado National Monument and get out for a hike at either Serpents’ Trail or No Thoroughfare Canyon.
If you’re headed out to Palisade, welcome to Colorado Wine Country! With around 30 wineries, we’re home to some of the best. My faves? Carlson Vineyards, Restoration Vineyards, Sauvage Spectrum. Make sure to book a reservation in Downtown Palisade for Pêche – an incredible farm to table dining experience. Afterward, walk across the train tracks to Peach Street Distillers and Palisade Brewing Company and then catch a sunset on the Palisade Rim Trail.
Fruita is known for bikes and pizza. Check out the Kokopelli trail system for an incredible view of the Colorado River and then head into town for the classic Hot Tomato pizza. Right behind the establishment is Best Slope Coffee Company – you won’t be dissapointed.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There have been so many that have inspired and supported me along the way, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my dear friend and fellow lady-boss Afton Neal. The owner of two small businesses, an engaged community member, and a fierce supporter of all my wild ideas – thank you.
To my mentor – Chelsea Rosty. You are an incredible inspiration and someone I look up to everyday. Thank you for believing in me and for being around for real-talk always.
To my partner and best friend, Brandon – You put up with me more than just about anyone else, and you’ve also let me take over the garage. I love you and I like you.
Brene Brown – you won’t read this, but you have no idea what you mean to me. Thank you for all of your wisdom. It carries me on a daily basis.
Other: Personal Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/caitlynmlove/
Annmarie Michelle Photography Anna Zajac Charcuterie Boards by : Nibbles and Sips (Grand Junction, CO) Cuts and Slabs Charcuter (Tucson, AZ)