Olive and Sweetpea where wine, women and possibilities meet
Where Passions Meet
Wine and words. The idea for Olive and Sweetpea (Olive + Sweetpea), a new e-magazine, was hatched over a few glasses of wine. When Paula Kane and I scheduled a springtime lunch, we half-heartedly joked about the possibility of enjoying a meal on a sunny patio. After a long and snowy winter in Alberta, the likelihood of anything al fresco seemed almost as remote as winning the lottery. Occasionally visions do come together. While Paula unveiled the outline for her new website dedicated to food, wine, home décor, travel and women trailblazers, we were, in fact, enjoying a hot, summery afternoon in Calgary, on a terrace.
Olive + Sweetpea is the outcome of conversations between friends Paula Kane, Cindy Shockey and Jonalyn Siemens. Although, they have wildly different educational (art and design, legal research, economics) and work (food and wine events, furniture design, home décor) experiences their common ground is the intersection of culinary passions, artistic inspirations and the women behind those stories. Read more about these three ladies here.
While we enjoyed the sunshine, Paula answered my questions relating to her new venture (and adventure). She is not abandoning her blog “A Table en Provence” but instead sees it as the foundation for this next project.
Discovering the Details
You have decided to launch a new e-magazine dedicated to your passions. How is this different from your A Table en Provence blog?
A Table en Provence started out when I was offering cooking classes in Provence. I wanted a place to demonstrate my knowledge of the region and its food and wine. I’ve since stopped the cooking lessons. I found I wasn’t very good at being entertaining! The blog remains a sort of homage to my love affair with Provence. It’s very personal, a place where I can put my memories. I am happy some people have enjoyed reading it, but it’s not been a “business”. Olive + Sweetpea is a more collaborative concept. I wanted something that would give a platform to lots of women, showcase their hard-earned skills and knowledge, and create a chance for self-promotion for everyone. The categories are what the women in my circle know best. We want to keep it narrow but deep. We’re not there yet, but hopefully, we will be one day!
Has this Olive + Sweetpea concept been germinating for a while?
This new project is exciting and a big challenge. 2018 has been a rough year for business, so I needed to come up with something new. A dinner with Cindy (one of the originators) gave me the idea. It started off slightly different than where it is, but it will be a work in progress. It will grow and change as we understand readers’ interests. In retrospect, I think A Table en Provence set the foundation, and this is just an extension of it. But to answer your question: no. It’s been a pretty quick thing, five (5) months. Once I got some buy-in from key people on the concept I decided to go full out and get it going.
How do you see Olive + Sweetpea as an extension of your work experience and passions?
I’ve been working in the food and wine industry in various capacities for 20 years. I’ve worked with a wine publication, managed food and wine festivals, done marketing for a ton of different clients in the industry. Olive + Sweetpea is a digital place where I can bring all the women I’ve met together and showcase all of our knowledge. I am passionate about the industry, and the combination of so many things I love: design, photography, travel etc.
How did you decide on the name Olive + Sweetpea?
I wanted the name to have a personal side to it, as it is a part of me. Olive, of course, rings of Provence, and Sweetpea is what some people have called me (on occasion) for a while. But I was looking for something with symbolism as well. I was thinking about what certain flowers and plants meant. I was delighted to find sweetpeas represent pleasure! And of course, olives symbolise peace. I think these two things are perfect, as I want this to be both pleasurable and soulful for our readers.
Who do you envision as the readers of Olive + Sweetpea?
I am quite sure this will appeal in large part to women of course. I hope it will attract readers who are curious about life. The categories cover many lifestyle topics that will hopefully be of interest to a broad audience. What I want is for readers to gain insight from the collective knowledge of the women contributors; to be inspired by other women’s successes and to find something that works for them. We don’t want to be exclusive to women only, there are many incredible men out there, and we hope they might read it from time to time. However, for now, we are trying to stay focused.
Are looking for stories and contributors?
Yes! We are interested in women who have work experience in our categories (food, wine, home decor, and travel) who are willing to share their knowledge. It can be everything from something or someone that inspired them to go into business, to a fun little story about an experience.
Can you give us an example of a woman trailblazer?
All of our contributors are “trailblazers” in their own right. They are all women who are independent or own their businesses. Trailblazing can be big or small, and it’s just going out there and doing something on your own and figuring it out. We will be profiling women over time that are super impressive, like Sal Howell. We will be adding content as fast as we can.
Will we see posts from A Table en Provence while you are in Provence? (we love your recipes!)
Yes, for sure. I need to get back to recipes; it’s been an off-year. Plus, my good camera was broken, if I can’t take lovely photos, it impacts my motivation. A Table en Provence is a way of chronicling my experiences. It’s nice to refer back to the dead of winter and relive those moments. Watch for posts, photos and recipes when Paula is in Provence for her annual visit.