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Conversations with Hilary Coniglione

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hilary Coniglione.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Bluebonnet Picnic Company all started on a late December night in 2020. I was feeling burned out from my corporate America job and felt like I was unable to spend the time I desired with my 16-month-old. I was three months pregnant with our second baby and I just felt like I was in a place in my life I didn’t want to be. I wanted to build something for my family, be a present mom and wife. My director of marketing job was too demanding and lacked joy and fulfillment for me. After swiping through Instagram, I told my husband about a cool business concept, luxury picnics, that I had seen popping up in California and how someone I was mutual friends with had started in Arizona. After showing my husband, Franco, the pictures online he immediately told me “This is an awesome idea and you would be great at something like this.” Within 24 hours, we came up with a business name, pitched the idea to my parents (we would be needing their help from time to time with childcare and picnics), started on the website, and was shopping online for picnic decor. By the end of December, I put all my eggs in the picnic basket and left my job and jumped into Bluebonnet Picnic Company with everything I had. Since we launched in January 2021, we have had over 70 picnics in the greater Austin and Hill Country area. We have done everything from weddings, bachelorette parties, proposals, children’s birthday parties, double dates, girl’s nights, and so much more.

A little about Franco and me before the picnic business – Franco and I have been married for four years and now are the proud parents of two little boys, Theo and Luca. Franco went to school for business management and I went to school for biological science but spent most of my career in marketing. Franco moved to Austin in 2014 and I made my way here in 2015. We met while working together at a local business in downtown ATX where Franco still works today. Our friendship bloomed into a romance and we never looked back. We both come from foodie families, Franco’s family owned a pizzeria in Long Island, NY, and my family-owned restaurants and catering companies for generations. I learned how to throw an epic party from my mom who was always the best hostess; she allowed me to be part of so many fun experiences from fundraising events to house parties and everything in between as I was growing up.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Owning a small local business is hard work! Our first big weekend of picnics was valentine’s weekend. We spent thousands of dollars getting ready for our big weekend. In fact, we had so many picnics booked we were looking to break even on our initial start-up costs. Sadly the massive winter storm hit Austin Valentine’s weekend and we lost out on all but one of our picnics. It was heartbreaking and a huge hit to our finances. The silver lining, we had four picnics that REALLY wanted us to try and make their valentine’s picnic happen. When we were on our way to our indoor picnic venue, we got a phone call that the venue was closing since the roads were clearly not safe. This left us with some sad clients since we now had to cancel BUT we had four charcuterie boards and lots of fresh flowers we were able to gift our neighbors. Those charcuterie boards helped feed everyone when we were stuck in our homes for the next six days.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Bluebonnet Picnic Company offers three unique services in the greater Austin and Hill Country area: luxury pop-up picnics, bachelorette concierge, and custom charcuterie boards. Our services allow for our clients to have a high-end event while taking the work off their plate. Our picnic guests and our bachelorette parties arrive to a personalized experience. Our work stands out since we don’t follow the same look and feel that everyone else in the business does. We want everything to feel personal, cozy, thoughtful, and purposeful. Our charcuterie boards are built with love and passion. We love using food to create a piece of art. Our boards don’t just look good, they taste incredible too.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I moved around a lot, I learned to adapt quickly to new environments and I also learned to be outgoing and chatty so that I could make new friends easily. My interests always centered around being creative. As a small child, I loved playing and using my imagination. As I grew, I was so passionate about dance, animal welfare, and traveling. Once I got into my teens, I was all about helping my mom plan events for fundraisers or events at our house. I was the one who planned all of my friend’s birthdays and was the total “caretaker” type. In high school, my friends called me “Grandma Graves” Graves is my maiden name. I was gifted this nickname because I was always doing the little things to help others, to make people feel special and because I believed in doing what was right, even if it wasn’t easy.

Pricing:

  • $300+ for picnics
  • $950+ for bachelorette services
  • $90+ for charcuterie boards

Contact Info:

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