Today I’m introducing Ali Kaminetsky, the founder of Modern Picnic, the company who is bring the chic back into bringing your lunch to work. Ali founded the brand in 2018 at just 25 years old after seeing the need for an update to the lunch box. After all just because you’re being budget conscious by bringing your lunch into the office each day doesn’t mean that you can’t do it in style!
In this interview, Ali shares an inside look into the brand, which lunch box she uses regularly when heading into the office, and a hint of more exciting things to come at Modern Picnic!
In 2018 you founded Modern Picnic to fulfill the needs of modern working women who needed both a fashionable and practical lunchbox. When did you first come up with the idea for the brand?
I had just graduated from college, and moved into the city to start my job working as an assistant buyer. I would bring my lunch to work everyday because of how much faster, cheaper and healthier it was (especially as a recent grad on a budget). However, I quickly realized I did not have a chic or functional way to do so. I was resorting to carrying my lunch in paper, plastic or old shopping bags which was not only not “cute” but not sustainable or functional either. It was clear that the outdated lunchbox needed a makeover. From there, the idea to start Modern Picnic was born.
I love the name ‘Modern Picnic’ when did you decide on the name and was it the first name you came up with?
It is actually a funny story – at first I wanted the name “Urban Picnic” however the domain was unavailable. My next choice was Modern Picnic. Looking back on it, I am so happy that that first domain was taken, because I love the name Modern Picnic. I also love that it has a built in nickname of “MP.”
In creating your lunchboxes you focused on being sustainable (using organic fabrics and practicing ethical manufacturing) and providing a product that is not only incredibly chic, but is also practical and helps working women live a healthier lifestyle by bringing their lunches to work. When did you come up with the initial design of the Modern Picnic lunchbox?
I first started by taking all of my different food containers and tried to figure out that perfect size. All food containers are different shapes and sizes but I needed to figure out a size container that was the norm. I would also observe what everyone in my office was carrying their lunch in, and what containers they were using. From there I started taking all of my bags I personally owned, and figuring out what I liked about them and what I didn’t like about them from all different stand points – aesthetics, functionality, practicality, size, etc. Once I had a better idea of what I wanted to do, I started working with a design engineer to help me hone out the details and create a tech pack which is basically a blueprint of your bag.
What manufacturer did you work with to bring your beautiful lunchboxes ‘to life’ and what was the best part about working with them?
We now work with a couple different manufacturers, all of which are pivotal in helping bring the MP vision to life. We recently started working with an amazing woman overseas who owns her own factory which I absolutely love and admire, especially in such a male dominated industry as manufacturing is.
You currently have three collections ‘The Luncher’, ‘The Tote’ and ‘The Snacker’ Which lunchbox (and color) do you carry?
I feel like my products are my children, it is impossible to pick a favorite. With that said, I definitely find myself wearing the solid black Luncher the most.
What are a few of your favorite lunch items that you like to include in your personal lunchbox?
Especially living in the city, being on the go, I always love to have a bar in my Luncher just in case! I have also been loving GG Crackers recently.
Which of the lunchboxes is currently the favorite amongst your customers?
The black Luncher and the black bamboo Luncher are our top two sellers!
I loved The New York Times quote, “Is it a handbag or a purse? Modern Picnic’s stylish alternative to a traditional lunchbox makes it hard to tell.” Modern Picnic lunchboxes have also been featured in Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Real Simple where you were featured in the article ‘8 Super Stylish Lunch Bags That Will Make You Actually Want to Bring Your Lunch.’ What was it like seeing your lunchboxes in the press for the first time?
I remember the day so clearly. It was a Cosmopolitan feature. I think I bought 10 copies of the magazine. Seeing my product in print for the first time was surreal. I was ecstatic. Every time I see our products in the press I get so excited and can’t believe it.
Do you have more collections/colors currently in the works?
Yes! We have the most amazing newness coming soon. You will have to wait and see to find out 🙂
What are your words of advice for female entrepreneurs who are just starting their brands?
This is my go to piece of advice that I have to constantly remind myself of as well — Don’t sweat the small stuff, and take everything as a learning experience. Start up life is one big rollercoaster – there are constantly really high high’s and really low low’s. And while you can’t control the lows, you can control how you choose to react to them, and the learning takeaways and experiences you take from each.
Ready to add a little chic to your lunch break? Shop Modern Picnic, and follow via Instagram @modernpicnic
All images in this post are via Modern Picnic