With parks galore, ocean views, and ideal weather, Santa Barbara is the perfect place for a picnic. Inspired by our setting, UCSB graduate Nicole Leza started Santa Barbara Picnic Co., a company that creates custom picnics for any occasion.
Leza loves the outdoors and had always been interested in event styling. She especially loved the design of soirees put together by an Australian clothing boutique, where guests plop down on beautiful rugs surrounded by fluffy pillows and low tables. “They always created these cozy, magical settings for groups to gather and connect,” Leza said. “I knew I wanted to try and incorporate that style in my own settings with my friends.”
Leza’s business (santabarbarapicnicco.com) has taken off through interest on Instagram. With images of captivating sunsets, crisp beverages, velvety blankets, fresh flowers, and bountiful cheese plates, it’s no wonder she’s amassed a following. Over the past year, she’s produced a number of private and public picnic events, everything from brunch to silent yoga on the beach to romantic couples’ picnics.
She’s also built positive relationships with area florists, chefs, caterers, and designers looking to take part. “As a small local business, I like to source and support other local or small businesses as well,” Leza said. Picnic packages include delivery, setup, styling, and cleanup, so that guests can focus on enjoying their time together. All aspects are customizable, including special menus and specific locations, such as Leadbetter Beach or Alice Keck Park Memorial Garden, so that no two experiences are the same.
“I love working with clients based on their unique needs,” Leza said. “I especially love when it’s a surprise for a guest — those always make it extra exciting.” Leza hopes to eventually produce larger events and expand to other areas, but for now, she has found fertile ground for picnics right on the American Riviera.