By: Sara Wong, Arts & Culture Editor
Sadaf Rahimi, founder of Charcuterie Vancouver, is getting ready to spread her wings. The young business owner, who recently won the Small Business BC (SBBC) award for Best Immigrant Entrepreneur, is opening a brick and mortar store in the West 4th neighbourhood of Kitsilano later this summer. In an interview with The Peak, Rahimi shared what led her to create Charcuterie Vancouver, her business journey, and more.
“I wasn’t fulfilled in my 9–5 job, it was very repetitive and felt like it was going to be the same for the rest of my life,” Rahimi began. “I knew I wanted to change something and do something where I woke up and was excited to go to work everyday.”
That’s when Rahimi discovered charcuterie. She began making various boards — full of meats, cheeses, and other goods — for her co-workers and later started selling them to friends and family as well. “It really brought out the creative in me,” Rahimi said, adding that building charcuterie boards was a therapeutic experience for her.
Fast forward to the Fall of 2019 and Charcuterie Vancouver was officially open for business. Rahimi was living out her dream, catering large events like baby showers, corporate functions, and weddings. That, of course, all changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“I thought we would be shut down just for two weeks and then it was two months,” Rahimi recalled. The budding entrepreneur ended up having to refund some of her customers out of her own pocket. To make matters worse, she was temporarily laid off from her day job. “I thought my dreams were crushed and that I would never be able to recover from it,” she said.
Coming from Rahimi, who spoke openly in her SBBC award video about the hardships her family faced while trying to immigrate to Canada, the above statement should not be taken lightly.
Thankfully, Charcuterie Vancouver was able to make a successful comeback. Rahimi began selling individual charcuterie boxes and printing 3D signs for those celebrating birthdays and other special occasions. The demand was so high that Rahimi was able to make Charcuterie Vancouver her full-time gig. “I got called back to work, and on the second day back I decided to quit and focus on this [ . . . ] I haven’t looked back since,” she shared.
While Rahimi is passionate about what she does, she also emphasized that “being an entrepreneur is not glamourous.” In one recent example, Rahimi “worked 50 hours straight during Mother’s Day” due to understaffing.
“As an entrepreneur you have to work hard to create your vision, to bring it to life,” she said.
When asked for her advice to aspiring young entrepreneurs, Rahimi mentioned the importance of having drive and determination once more: “Life is so short, so just run after your dreams [ . . . ] I didn’t come from money. You don’t have to either, you just have to have a vision.”
Charcuterie Vancouver is set to open at 2766 West 4th Ave in Summer 2021. In the meantime, check out their online shop at charcuterievancouver.com.