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Check Out Ali York’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ali York. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
First of all, I guess I should say that my business, Made By MacLean LLC offers custom charcuterie boxes, boards, and tables. I also offer crudités, fruit boards, and handmade herb & flower bouquets. I also collaborate with local small business owners Michelle & Bill Kupiec of Kupcakes & Co. Who doesn’t love a little sweet treat added to their box? All of their stuff is amazing. 

I’ll give you a little. back story first because I’m not exactly sure what you’re looking for 🙂 My story began in March of. 2019. I think the Universe knew before we did that change was coming because that week had a time change, full moon, and Friday the 13th. Shit was bound to hit the fan, right? My last shift was on Friday March 13th. When the service industry flipped upside down, I became a stay-at-home mother of two overnight. It was weird, the whole Covid Pandemic. I remember putting my infant son to bed one night after a few weeks of being laid off and as I stood there squeezing him, I realized that was the first time I’d ever felt him hug me back. Harvey was born in August. As a parent it’s hard to express the emotions I felt in that moment, but maybe I wasn’t around or present like I thought? I’d always assumed I would put in my work as a bartender until my kids got older and eventually move into a career path using my degree. Which is Kinesiology btw. I graduated in 2013 from the University of Maryland College Park. I’ll say this was probably the hardest year I’ve had yet to experience and the low days outweighed the high for quite some time but ultimately it was the best thing that could have happened to me. 

I started this business on a whim by the suggestion from an aunt, a gesture that seemed so small in the moment but looking back that little nudge was everything. She had seen something online and one Sunday at brunch said, “you could totally do that,” and then asked me to make her a box for later that week. I went into it thinking I would make a little bit here and there until I figured out what I was going to do next, but then it completely blew up. A really exciting perk of my new business is the excuse it’s given me to expand my home garden. “But babe, it’s for the business.” In season most of the flower bouquets are homegrown. All of the herbs are homegrown. A miniature herb bouquet is kind of my signature touch. It’s been really cool watching my business grow and learning so much in the process. It’s hard to explain, but I’m still waiting for it to hit me, make it feel real. I’m not formally trained if being trained on cheese is even a thing. So, I’m basically a self-proclaimed meat and cheese artist. Oh, and don’t forget the flowers. For me, it’s all in the detail. 

I love food. I love art. I love turning food into art…and then eating it. This has been the most unexpected, amazing journey of my life and I honestly have no idea what’s next, but I can’t wait. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It’s definitely been a process of trial and error. I wasn’t really familiar with the whole charcuterie world until I was in it. One of the hardest things has been time management. The prep work behind these boards is pretty extensive and I’m still working out how much time I need for certain projects. My other biggest struggle is trying to fill the role of every position. I am all of the employees so trying to manage all of that on top of my day-to-day as a mother can sometimes be overwhelming. I’ve been lucky enough to have so much support from my friend/photographer Olivia Isner. She’s been my rock through it all. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Essentially, I elevate your eating experience. I want you to enjoy my creations with your eyes and belly. They are made to grab your attention, make you smile. Appreciate the little things, the small details make the biggest difference. I think what sets me apart from others is the attention to detail and the uniqueness of every box/board. They are all their own work of art. I like to do different themes for bridal showers or special events using brie shapes/letters/numbers. Color schemes with the flowers. I love a challenge, throw anything at me. I’ll figure out how to make it pretty and delicious. The addition of flowers and my mini herb bouquets takes my boards to the next level and really brings them together. I also think that growing most of them in my home garden is pretty cool. I also include other ‘non-traditional’ charcuterie items and homemade jams/jellys/chutney. I try to offer a little more without reaching too far out. I make a homemade salted bourbon caramel sauce that has become popular in my brie and bourbon caramel bundle. 

When I first started, I kept thinking how cool it would be to build a grazing table. I didn’t expect to build any maybe ever, especially in my first year. On the one-year anniversary of my business, I was able to build my 3rd grazing table. That’s something I’m really proud of. 

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
I think the fact that I genuinely love what I’m doing. Even when I don’t really feel like working, I don’t mind working. I can spend hours on end prepping and building boards and be perfectly content. I’ve had jobs in the past that I absolutely loved but I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life while working them. As soon as I began this journey everything just clicked. 

Pricing:

  • Options for everyone with a very wide price range :$22-3k+: mini individual boxes to 15ft grazing tables and everything in between
  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries (traditional & Holiday theme) offered year-round as an individual box or a board to share $15-$60
  • I never forget the kids! Add a kids box to any order for $12; mild cheeses, crackers, turkey/salami, stickers, and more!
  • Flower bouquets are offered as a garnish to any box or to purchase as a separate bouquet. $12-$50+
  • Seasonal specials/Bundles $22-$50

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Olivia Isner

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