herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Melissa's BRAND NEW enterprise GETS PRESIDENTIAL SEAL OF APPROVAL

SOCIALBEE provides at-home catering with a twist.

It is the brainchild of Melissa Curley, whose bespoke business specialises in decadent afternoon tea.

Vintage china, delicious homemade fare and ornate settings are provided by the entrepreneur in your home or as part of an alfresco dining experience.

Despite being in business only since February, 36-year-old Melissa, from Youghal, has already served afternoon tea to President Michael D Higgins, who declared it "a lovely cuppa".

"I returned to Ireland after years abroad working as an English teacher and I decided to just make a break for it and set up my own business," said Melissa.

"You wouldn't believe how busy it has been."

For the summer season, Socialbee is offering decadent picnic hampers, which Melissa says have been hugely popular with Dubliners.

"What people mean when they say they want to have a nice picnic is that they want someone to bring them a luxury hamper and that's exactly what I offer," she said.

"The feedback I've had so far has been amazing. Everything I serve is home-baked by a chef with 35 years' experience."

Socialbee provides a variety of themes including a Games Night with craft beer, and it also caters for hen parties and baby showers.

"People are on the lookout for something a bit different," said Melissa.

When she first started out she was quick to realise that her business would benefit from some additional expertise, and was put in touch with charity organisation Inner City Enterprise.

The Dublin-based organisation has been helping city businesses get off the ground for more than 20 years.

It offers a range of mentoring services and in some cases can provide unsecured low-interest loan assistance for start-ups.

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