Nichol and Shelly are two fabulous sisters behind the infamous Alice and Louise Catering and Cooking School. In addition to catering, Alice and Louise specializes in hands-on learning in the kitchen. A & L offers classes about cooking with herbs, crock-potting, and even a fun themed cupcake wars class! We sat down and interviewed Nichol, half of A & L!
Describe yourself in three words:
Both my sister and I are positive, passionate and supportive.
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
Our greatest achievement thus far is opening the doors to Alice and Louise Catering and Cooking School-achieving the first part of our dream together...however it ties in first place with 20 years of motherhood thus far for both of us. She has three children and I have four. That alone is a great and on going achievement. It took us well over a year to open the doors, sometimes I did not go home until 3 am and Shelly would be up late nights working on the computer. We both worked ungodly hours. We struggled most spending the time away from our kids and allowing others to help with them, because we were used to being at home with them 24/7. We always had a positive outlook because we had each other, when one was down or tired, the other became the cheerleader, the reminder of how blessed we are and how successful we were going to be. We decided in the beginning that failure or negativity was not a part of our vocabulary. We imagined, dreamed and committed to making it happen and we are still working towards it.
What are your professional goals for the next six months?
Our professional goals are to share our passion for food, a healthy lifestyle, a positive outlook in everything we do, resulting in giving back to our community and helping to support our families and grow our business. For it all to come together in 6 months would be fabulous, but we will take it day by day, striving for the best for ourselves and for our customers. Our goal is always to take the adversities of life, be it cooking better for our families under scheduling demands, or helping those with a health condition needing attention, or anything that we can do to better a life around us by sharing our passion with them.
Shelly has brides, brides, brides and more brides on her brain! This is definitely something she enjoys and is out of bounds good at!! I myself, am having a blast learning the business side and social media marketing. I can't spit out (no pun intended) everything my brain wants to do in sales and marketing fast enough! Everyday I have a new idea and I want to share it!
How does your company stay connected through social media?
We learn new things daily through social media! We connect with so many different walks of life through social media. We absorb all we can to see what the needs are out there and how we can apply our business, our knowledge...food bloggers, fitness bloggers, recipe and cooking sites...we are always searching and spreading our new information or experiences to make our business applicable to today's families and individuals of this generation .
Some of our favorite links are:
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
We both have other professions that we have taken on and continue to do: Shelly, aka Louise, is and excellent event planner and has run a Reunion Company for many years. Myself, aka Alice, have been a long time Fitness Professional. I still thoroughly enjoy teaching classes at Sport and Health. WE BOTH WANT TO BE the next Madonna..Dancer, Rock Star :)....hahahaha...we love all that stuff! We pretended to be all that when we were younger, dancing around the house and singing in to hairbrushes for microphones.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
No other than inch by inch lifes a since, yard by yard makes it hard. The two of us, as sisters, are always supportive of each other. We know our family always comes first. If one needs to go to be there for their children or our parents, or a dear friend, the other is always there to pick up the slack and keep the business rolling. There is never a question or a doubt that one will be there for the other. We don't even really think about it, it just happens. We equally care about the business and our families and the importance of giving back what we receive.
What website do you visit every day?
The Real Housewives of Northern Virginia of course! :) Facebook is a constant. We try to stay in contact with all of our clients and future clients that way. We also visit DailyOM for positive feeds, Day by Day for positive faith and life lessons. As well as all the ones we frequent listed above.
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
Truthfully the first thing I think we both think of is how much we are blessed. We start each morning thanking of all the things we are grateful for, all the things we love. I know number one is our families, then the list goes on and on. It then bleeds into our business and how much we are blessed to be doing exactly what we want to and how good we feel when we throw a successful party, or an amazing corporate lunch, or a wedding we can't stop talking about. We both get on a mental high every time we complete an event or a class because we get fed from the positive energy of our clients and how much they enjoy what we do! There is nothing like seeing someones eyes light up in total appreciation and love for what you have done for them. I don't go home tired...I go home pumped!
What book do you casually put out on your coffee table to impress visitors?
I am sure Shelly has many cookbooks and magazines and definitely wedding magazines on her table. I have more home decorating, antiques and fitness. Together we compliment an array of passions having to do with cooking, decorating, spirituality and fitness.
What is your favorite spot to visit in Northern Virginia?
Right now I think my most favorite spot in Northern Virginia is walking my dog around the Reston Towne Center because its close to home. My dog LOVEs all the attention he gets and I love people watching and seeing what they are enjoying...but that is probably only because that is all the time I have right now that I consider FREE time. I absolutley am in love with The Wine Kitchen food I had a few weeks ago in Leesburg, I can't wait to go back!. Free People's Clothing store, section in the department stores and their web site...Love em! Shelly's favorites are Alice & Louise Catering and Cooking School (ok, well that is for me too!) South Moon Under, Anthropology, The Clifton Cafe and Peterson's Ice Cream
What is your goal for retirement?
We both can agree: somewhere sunny and warm 90% of the time!
Do you have any advice for women who would like to start their own company?
My advice is to to ask and ask and ask and ask for advice! I wish we had asked for more advice and more help in important decisions. We laugh now and say...it is our LARGE learning curve, we don't view anything as a mistake, but a life lesson on what not to do and how to do it better! ASKING will save you time and money..just do it!
Alice and Louise
4449-A Brookfield Corporate Drive
Chantilly, VA 20151
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.