Tell us about your business.Destination Dinners was launched in 2006 by Lisa Diamond, a self proclaimed "culinary adventurist". Inspired by the amazing cultural experiences she had living abroad for almost a decade, Lisa wanted to find a fun way to share similar global experiences with people who did not have the same travel opportunities. Realizing that her most poignant memories were of the dinners she shared at people's homes, she set out to create a kit that made hosting similar dinners filled with food, culture and learning easy to do. Based on the Japanese tradition of opulent presentation, Lisa leveraged the resources of the SF Bay Area to source beautiful packaging (all of which is repurposeable or recyclable) so that the kits would arrive gift ready. Initially run out of her home, the company quickly grew through word of mouth, becoming a highly regarded gift for 'the person who has everything'. Today, the company has 12 different kits with a variety of add-on serveware.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.Initially a "dining room" based business, the company was quickly evicted from her home by her loving husband once it had expanded into the living room and down the hall. The first office was no bigger than a double garage. It too was soon outgrown and the company was moved to its current location in The Gate, an up and coming Maker's Hub in San Leandro, CA.
What inspires you?I am inspired by the cards people include with their kits being sent as gifts. Given the billions of options people have at their fingertips, I am humbled everyday when they select our products to celebrate special occasions, wish people well or as a vehicle to let people know that they are thinking of them.
What makes your business stand out?We are the very first company in the world to create cooking kits and the only company to focus on authentic, traditional foods coupled with historic and cultural information. We are more than a meal, we are a travel experience.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Find the right people to work with and set your goals realistically. It is close to impossible to do everything yourself, so finding the right person(s) to partner with or hire makes all of the difference. As for the goal, lots of money or a big company may be the standard concept new entrepreneurs have, but the truth is a very profitable easy to run small business may be a better fit and more rewarding as well as a healthier life work balance.
What does American Made mean to you?To me American Made means the concept and product are made in the US. It means that the people running the company are contributing to their community and country by hiring locally, not dodging taxes and keeping environmental and quality issues/expectations forefront in the development of their products.
Mark Your Calendar
NOMINATIONS ENDAug. 31, 2015
Final day for entering the Audience Choice Award competition.
VOTING ENDSOct. 19, 2015
Final day to cast your vote for your favorite makers.
WINNERS ANNOUNCEDOct. 23, 2015
2015 Editors' Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
AMERICAN MADE SUMMITNov. 7, 2015
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