In the 15 years since Janet Woodson founded La-tea-da's Catering and Events, it has grown from a café that throws tea parties to a successful catering business with big-name clients (such as the Mint Museums) throughout the city. Woodson says this growth is due to what she calls the "La-tea-da's touch," a focus on every aspect of event planning, from décor and linens to the food and the unique ways it can be presented.
Creative Loafing: Was it an easy decision to try your hand at catering?
Janet Woodson: Absolutely not. I was working here in Charlotte in the investment business before this. I am a very creative person, and I knew that wasn't my calling. I started with tea parties, mostly small parties for children. Then I realized I wanted to do something on a bigger scale. It all grew quickly from there because it shows when you enjoy what you do. We're now a small business working with the big boys.
How does family play a role in how you run your business?
I have great parents. My mother, Chrys Woodson, is very involved in the business. She has these great sayings that we all go by, such as "Proper planning prevents poor performance." She saw it at the airport years ago and we repeat it very often around the office. Although I started the company, she has always worked with me.
Has running a family-owned catering business affected your family's eating habits?
We definitely incorporate the way we cook here into our eating habits at home. We always eat fresh. At home and at work, we try to do organic as often as we can. Most of the food I deal with is locally grown and the fruits and vegetables almost always come from the local farmers market.