Well at Home Series: Setting the table with Fête
Updated: Apr 29
We pulled up some pastries and a glass of wine and had a chat with Shelby, founder of Fête, about what's it like feeling right at home with your passion.
Shelby and I met at my work when she was commissioned to decorate our space for a Halloween themed event. She had an effortless cool and casual energy that can calm any stressful event and her witty remarks can break any tense room into laughter. Since then, we've stayed in contact, meeting up over wine to discuss our long term dreams and goals. We've bonded over the overwhelming tasks and pressure there is to starting a business and we find ourselves sharing our challenges and how we fight to overcome them. It has truly been a pleasure to befriend Shelby. She's resilient, ambitious, and dedicated to her craft. Managing a full time job while creating her dream business is inspiring to watch.
I invited Shelby over to work her magic on setting a table and to share her advice on achieving a beautiful tablescape. With pastries in one hand and wine on the other, Shelby shares her background, the inspiration behind Fête and, most interestingly, the nicknames she's given her best friend.
Getting to know Shelby
Where are you from? Southern CA but now a Northern CA gal at heart.
What are your favorite hobbies? Spin (shout-out to CycleLife Sac), hiking, camping, cooking (well rather eating the food my partner cooks!), trying natural wines, being dragged my partner to obscure concerts.
Tell us about your kitty cat! (and all the nicknames you’ve given her): Maggie, Maga Loo, sweet angel baby, shall I go on? ;) I got her from FrontStreet Animal Shelter about a year ago after my best friend in Sac moved away and I needed a BFF replacement. I grew up with cats and already have a cat-bias but she is truly the best, smartest, most social pet of all time, no joke.
Tell us about any rituals you have at home and what they meant to you: I work from home so at this point in time, ~all~ of my rituals happen at home. I like to light a candle at the beginning of my work day as a ritual. While I often struggle with the loneliness and mundaneness of WFH, the candle grounds me and reminds me that I couldn’t wear my PJs, light a candle, and hang with my kitty all day if I had to go into the office! I am also a religious bed-maker. I swear making your bed can change your day and maybe your life…
Describe your ideal Saturday: Spin, Faria Bakery pick-up, outside hang of any kind (paired with an ice cold adult bev), and in bed by 10!
Any favorite local spots in Sacramento? Too many to count! Ro Sham Beaux, Mast Coffee, Camellia Coffee (for breakfast sandwiches & horchata cold brew!) Propagate, Alaro (for the cod tacos!), Masullo. And new on my list: Franquette & Nitty’s Cider!
The journey to Fête
What you got you interested in event planning and starting your own business?
I’ve always done event planning in some capacity. It’s just where my brain lives for some reason and it has always felt like home. I think like everyone, I did a lot of reflection during the pandemic about my professional goals and just what I want out of life generally. I don’t think I ever thought of event planning as a “real job” but I think social media has really exposed planning as 1) a lot of work (ha) and 2) a uniquely right ~and~ left brain endeavor. I think this is where I was always meant to be, it just required me gaining the confidence in my skills and abilities to take the leap to start Fête.
What is your inspiration behind Fête?
I think my inspiration behind Fête is a few things. I think I was inspired to start Fête not only because of my passion for events but also because I could not find any examples of the events aesthetic/style that I identify with in the Sacramento region. I think in this Pinterest day-of-age, it’s easy to copy-paste what’s in trend. One kind of promise I have made to myself with Fête is to not succumb to the influence of social media and the pressure to fit in from a design perspective.
What challenges have you overcome with starting your own business? And what are some of most rewarding experiences you’ve had with Fête? The social media aspect of starting my own business has definitely been challenging. While I so appreciate the platform and exposure that social media provides like never before, I would say developing content and establishing a posting cadence feels super foreign to me - which is honestly ironic because I have a degree in marketing (ha!). I think one of the most rewarding experiences with Fête so far is connecting and becoming friends with with other small businesses and creators in the area (*wink wink* Monica/Well Rounded :)). I don’t think I would have had the drive to start Fête if I wasn’t in Sacramento - this town is truly run by small businesses!
When setting the table, where do you draw inspiration for a table setting theme? I definitely draw inspiration from the fact that the table is a gathering space and above all needs to be functional and support community. For example, you can have a beautiful centerpiece but if it blocks conversation, then the rest of the design is moot. With tablescapes, I’m a believer that first and foremost, form follows function, and then you can bring in the additional design aspects that contribute to the overall aesthetic. I also think you need to first think about the kind of atmosphere you want to create for your guests and then use the inspiration behind the type of experience you want to create to determine your table setting theme/design.
What are staples for a tablescape? Florals always, space for platters/serving utensils (I feel like people often forget about this when initially setting the table), candles, multiple types of glassware (because more drink types = more fun).
What do you love most about tablescaping? I actually think tablescaping is one of the more difficult design activities because you look at a table from multiple perspectives: birds-eye, from side, across, etc. I think the task of achieving a holistic tablescape that can be viewed from a variety of angles is a really interesting challenge and makes them super fun to do!
Shelby's experience ranges from floral design, event planning and the many ways in which you can creatively fold a napkin (a true gift!) Make sure to check out her work and follow along @fetesac. Cheers to Shelbs!