We have had the pleasure of collaborating with Prue Rustean over the last year and recently hired her magic for our new rug launch soiree and Christmas party. We love her thoughtfully built spreads, full of color and local flavor. We thought we'd ask her a few questions to get a little more insight into our favorite local picnic company 'Picnic Portal'.
1. Tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up between small coastal towns in the South West of Western Australia - Margaret River, Yallingup & Busselton. I lived in Bondi, Sydney for 3 years and have now found myself very comfortably settled in Byron Bay for the past 3 years which is the perfect balance between super relaxed WA and the extreme high energy of Bondi Beach.
One of my biggest passions/purposes in life is connection (Connecting with nature, connecting with food & connecting with each other). This has lead me to my current job of picnic planning. Byron Bay is a picnic lovers dream - I set up picnics and lavish platters in beautiful locations for birthdays, events, special occasions, business meetings etc and pack down at the end, providing people with the opportunity to experience the pure magic and natural beauty Byron Bay has to offer and allowing you to arrive, enjoy and escape without the fuss of setting up at the beginning or cleaning up at the end.
2. What are your biggest inspirations in life right now?
I am constantly inspired by the abundance of creative people and small business's in Byron Bay. There are so many people in this special little town having a go at something they believe in and creating genuinely successful business's with passion and purpose that are not only making money, but also making a difference by being as ethical, sustainable and beneficial to the earth as possible.
3. How did you get into the creative art of Picnic Platters?
I have always had a strong love for color, food, nature and connection. I have worked extensively in hospitality throughout my life but the first job that really sparked up some passion inside of me was a job working at The Health Emporium in Bondi, I learned so much about the health benefits of eating fresh, organic, whole foods and personally felt the transformation in my mind, body and soul from the simple act of eating really well. This lead me to experiment with making raw cakes, rainbow salads, and of course putting together colorful grazing boards for every event, gathering or dinner party. I also worked at channel 9 on The Today Show where I did a stint as the Meet & Greet producer which also included a bunch of miscellaneous jobs, one being setting up the prop bench for kitchen segments where I realized I had quite the knack for setting up food displays. I recently completed the NEIS course (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) here in Byron Bay where I was inspired to combine all of my passions and unique talents to create a business where I can make things look pretty, feed people healthy & nutritious food, work outside as much as possible to soak up the dreamy paradise that I'm living in and help people to genuinely connect with each other. I didn't expect this little business to take off as quickly as it has, but I am enjoying every second of watching it organically unfold.
4. What do you love most about your work?
I have spent years observing (and being apart of) human interactions and group conversations revolved around doing something that is bad for our health - drinking beers, sharing cigarettes, eating pizza, takeout, burgers etc for an excuse to sit around, chat and interact with one another. It seems to me that for some reason it is unusual for humans to just sit and talk without doing something with our hands. It has made me so proud to watch people genuinely connect with each other while doing something that is not only good for our health, but also our soul. Living in a time where we are becoming increasingly disconnected with each other and our surroundings, it is so refreshing to witness a group of people soaking up the amazing natural landscape that surrounds us, appreciate the amazing nourishing food we have so easily available to us and really connect with each other without having an excuse to do something with our hands that is damaging to our insides.
5. Where is your favorite place to slow down and picnic in Byron Bay or its surrounds?
You can't beat a picnic by the ocean, my favorite lookout is a hidden little gem near Little Wategos. It has a spectacular view over the bay and in my opinion is the best spot to watch the sun setting. There is also something about the rolling green grass in the Hinterland that makes for a special place to sit down, kick off your shoes, set up and slow down for the afternoon sunset or start your morning soaking up a beautiful sunrise.
6. What are your essential items for a picnic?
- Wandering Folk picnic rugs (of course) and as many cushions as possible
- A lavish platter with a selection of healthy, delicious, local produce
- Good company
- Groovy tunes
- Card games, tarot cards or a good book