For 10 years Emily Sullivan worked in the field of ophthalmology. When the pandemic hit, she switched gears and stayed at home to be with her two daughters. Though she loved seeing her girls and her husband more often, she struggled a bit with the stay-at-home transition, and found herself researching outlets to keep her busy.
“I was on Pinterest looking for ideas on what to do if you’re a bored stay-at-home mom,” says Sullivan with a chuckle. “I wasn’t very good at not working.”
She liked cooking, so she tried doing meal preparation for families. After moving to Zionsville, she stumbled upon something that piqued her interest even more – charcuterie.
“I fell into this charcuterie hole and was like, ‘That looks fun. I’m doing that,’” she says.
She began putting together charcuterie boards for friends and family, and soon the “bored” lady became the “board lady” – or, more accurately, Board Ladies, as Sullivan invited her friend Lyndsey Nirider to join the new venture.
Nirider, a stay-at-home mom, had studied hospitality and tourism management in college. She coordinated events before working as a restaurant manager at Traders Point Creamery, where she became well-versed in all things cheese. She also has a business background, having worked for 10 years at IGH Steel, her husband Jim’s family’s metal fabrication shop.
Nirider relished the idea of launching a business with her friend, whom she had known since high school. In June of 2021, The Board Ladies, LLC took their first official order.
“People around here have been overwhelmingly supportive,” says Sullivan, who spread the word by dropping off sample boards to local businesses. Interest quickly spread from there.
“I didn’t realize how supportive Zionsville is of local businesses and of local women,” Sullivan says. “Zionsville has its own little niche pocket full of local businesses that support one another. We accidentally fell into that and it’s been awesome.”
Nirider says she appreciates not only the creative side of the business, but also the freedom that comes with setting their our own schedules.
The pair cater primarily to baby showers, bridal showers, company parties and holiday events. In addition, picnic companies frequently reach out to them, asking them to provide boards for luxury picnics, which Sullivan describe as “boho chic fancy, perfect for girls days, proposals or date nights.”
Though charcuterie businesses are popping up all over the place, The Board Ladies provides a whimsical, boho, floral flair. They sell both charcuterie boards and graze boxes, which are essentially small charcuterie boards with lids. These work well for picnics or traveling.
Each charcuterie board includes a couple types of hard cheese, a soft cheese, nuts, chocolate, and a meat like salami or prosciutto. When possible, the owners try to incorporate local produce and spreads on their boards and grazing tables.
The women also partner with Schakolad Chocolate Factory.
Certain foods are always fan favorites, including the blueberry goat cheese as well as the white cheddar cheese. Customers also request the salami roses, as they provide a pretty way to display meat.
“A lot of companies use more hardy meats and veggies, whereas we use fresh fruits, though we’ll add veggies if people ask us to,” says Sullivan, who loves personalizing the boards with holiday customizations and themes.
For instance, when the latest James Bond movie was released last year, a woman hired Sullivan and Nirider to create boards for her husband and his friends, who hosted a pre-movie party. The pair spelled out “Bond,” putting charcuterie in all of the letters.
For more information or to place an order with The Board Ladies, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit theboardladies.com.