Kate Stewart is the Managing Director of Bright Young Things, a catering company that opened in 2009. Bright Young Things has organised over 2,500 events and employs over 150 people. Why the name Bright Young Things? The launch of the company coincided with Kate’s 25th birthday, impressive!
How did the idea Bright Young Things come about?
I have lived, breathed and worked in events for over 15 years. I started helping friends with events and catering when I was 17, and have had a number of jobs in catering since. I started Bright Young Things almost 6 years ago – believing there was space in the market for a business passionate about their clients, being flexible, and working backwards from budgets… We started mid GFC and I think, brought a new energy to the event world – offering clients creative solutions for their sometimes reduced budgets! Since then, we’ve been lucky to grow through loyal clients and word of mouth. We still like to inject energy, creative outcomes and love into each and every event we do – our focus is not on us, but on our clients, their requirements, brands and briefs.
You’ve been operating since 2009 and continue to go from strength to strength, what do you think is the secret ingredient of your success?
One of our philosophies is that there is always a solution. Good isn’t good enough for us – we want to give clients the BEST experience we can, create the best food we can, and are always pushing ourselves to do better. I think this combined with our amazing team keep us growing and thriving. Our values are : PASSION, EXCELLENCE, ACCOUTABILITY and RESPECT. Our mission – to be the world’s leading culinary event team!
Is what you do now what you thought you would be doing when you left School?
NO! When I finished school, I started a Commerce/Arts degree at Melbourne University. I completed the Commerce component midway through 2005 and secured a graduate position at an accounting firm – to commence in early 2006. During uni, I supported myself through a number of catering jobs as well as doing my own catering from home and it was only once I finished my Commerce Degree and had a few months off to jump into a full-time catering job that I realised how much I loved it and wanted my career to focus on the world of hospitality. After much agonising I quit my accounting job a couple of weeks before beginning and I have been in catering ever since.
How does running your own business differ than working for someone else – give us the good the bad and the ugly.
Many people think that running a business in an area that you’re passionate about equals flexible hours and living what you love! Whilst this is true to an extent, there are many details of running a business that don’t connect directly to your passion. Ie. I probably spend 20% of my time working on events and 80% supporting the team, dealing with accounts, dealing with operations, building management, suppliers etc! A business is 24/7 – I am constantly thinking of things to follow up, new ideas, clients to touch base with etc… Whilst I have learnt over the years to better manage this, and my hours, for the first few the business ran me!
If you had to sum up your life in three words, what would they be?
Ever changing, wonderful, delicious