Weeks after bringing a beautiful little girl into the world, Matt and Dani Fontana, quickly went from adjusting to life with a newborn to adapting their business to COVID-19.
Well known for creating delicious cocktails inside their caravans, Boutique Event Co soon started hosting free live cocktail-making classes to share some of that joy during isolation. Creations you can try at home include a whiskey sour, espresso martinis and orange margarita with more to come.
In light of everything that’s happening in the world around us, we’re highlighting businesses and creatives in the region doing things a little bit differently.
How did you come up with the idea to do Friday live cocktail classes and what has been the response?
Dani: It was a very random idea that I had after making myself a cocktail before I had a Zoom catch up with friends from work. I thought, this has been a fun little experience that cheered up my boring iso day, maybe other people would like to make some too.
I floated the idea on our Insta Stories and we had a great response. I think Matt thought I was a little mad but the first one went pretty well. We’ve launched a YouTube channel and we’ll keep up the classes until iso is over or people stop watching them.
Are there any fellow Geelong businesses you’ve been supporting while in iso?
Absolutely, we always try to shop local where we can! We’re in Bannockburn so it can get a bit boring with the options we have here haha. I venture out once a fortnight, usually to Geelong to stock up on some favourites.
We love Pane Di Matteo in Highton for their fresh pasta and olive bread, Steampacket Foods for their coffee and ready meals, sweet treats from Baked By Us, plus I’ve been getting some flowers for friends and family from The Posie Place to cheer them up in iso.
We know Boutique Event Co started after doing your own wedding, are you able to please describe a little of what that looked like? What were some of the magical additions?
It all sounds very glamourous however the van was only ¾ finished at our wedding. It had only half the benches, no sink, no shelving, no signage and the paint work wasn’t finished yet on the windows. We had family and friends painting the windows the day before so it didn’t look horrible!
It was all smoke and mirrors for our big day but it was definitely an amazing feature for our wedding. I still can’t believe we pulled it off in time! We also had some randoms I found on Facebook with an RSA to work behind the bar, they had to Google how to make espresso martinis we were told by friends afterwards hahahaha.
What was it like working your first wedding that wasn’t your own?
It was hectic and a massive learning curve but we loved it! It was in September 2017 for a beautiful couple, Kayla and Kade. They were so chilled out and didn’t actually know at the time that it was our first gig. We rocked up hours in advance to make sure we were organised haha. I personally hadn’t worked in a bar before so I was a bit stressed but as Matt and I always do, we figure it out and get on with the job. We received such amazing feedback from our first event, we loved it and we haven’t looked back.
You’ve helped celebrate so many beautiful occasions, what have been some of your favourite moments you and your business have been a part of?
We have worked (if you can call it that!) at so many amazing events. Some of my favourites have been on private properties where the party never ends. They’re always the most down to earth couples too.
One of my favourite weddings was on New Year’s Day 2018 in Torquay. It was the most beautiful day with perfect weather, a super chilled bride and over 200 lovely guests. We had heaps of our staff working that night as it was a large wedding. It seriously didn’t feel like work at all!
Your vans Fran, George and Vincent are pretty important for what you do, is there a story behind the names?
There sure is! Fran and George are our cat’s names, we had to incorporate them somehow! We had a competition to name our silver bullet bar and it was our friend Arnie who came up with the name Vincent Van Go. Vincent is his dog so we’re kind of going with a pet name theme unintentionally.
You’ve gone from one to multiple vans in a number of years and won the 2018 Geelong Small Business of the Year Award, where do you see the next three years of your business taking you?
We do get that question a lot seeing as we’ve grown so fast in such a short amount of time. We have some massive plans for the next three years, one of which is building more vans (Matt’s iso activity) and we’re planning some other events. Some of which we were hoping to kick off this year but the universe had other plans with COVID-19! But, all in good time. Now with some more time to plan they’ll be bigger and better when we do get around to launching them.
What’s the first thing you’ll do when the physical distancing measures and regulations are lifted?
We’re dying to have dinner in a restaurant together! We love eating out when we have some free time and it’s killing us that in our usual winter downtime we can’t. I’m also dying to see some friends that I haven’t seen since before our daughter was born!
What would the ultimate end-of-iso celebration event look like?
A massive big party with all of our family and friends, lots of good food and obviously plenty of cocktails!! And lots of hugs, we can’t forget the hugs!
Anything you’d like to add?
Don’t forget to tune into our iso lives via Instagram or Facebook at 5pm each Friday. And if you happen to miss it, head to our YouTube channel to watch it anytime.
Main cover image taken by With Love from Near and Far.