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  2. Women to Know

How Kristen Baughman Is Having Her Cake...and Promoting It Too

Plus: Her delicious secret to persevering through the tough times

How Kristen Baughman Is Having Her Cake...and Promoting It Too

After managing public relations and social media for a competition dining series in North Carolina, Kristen Baughman realized there was an opportunity in the food and beverage industry. She was constantly being approached by agriculture, food and beverage companies who sought help in creating a website or strengthening their social media accounts. Recognizing the need for a company that managed all things media for this growing industry, the seed for Baughman’s own business venture had been planted.

Chasing her passion for food and channeling her grandfather’s favorite saying, “the sky is the limit,” Kristen left her job and created Tabletop Media Group, a boutique media agency that serves clients in the food, beverage, agriculture and lifestyle industries. Since she started the company by herself in just 2016, Tabletop has grown to include five full-time employees. Her company has revolutionized the Triangle’s food and beverage scene, yielding huge successes for many clients.

At InHerSight, we commend the women who’ve found the courage and perseverance to follow their dreams. Kristen serves as the perfect role model to those who have a unique business opportunity and a desire to live out their passions. We had the pleasure of speaking to Kristen about Tabletop, her inspiration, and her perseverance.

What does your company do and why do you love it?

Tabletop Media Group is a boutique agency serving clients in the food, beverage, agriculture, and lifestyle industries. From designing a new website to managing our clients' social media accounts - we offer a variety of packages to meet our clients' needs. By equipping our clients with the proper media tools, we deliver the results necessary for our clients to achieve their business goals.

What does the future of your company look like?

Tabletop Media Group has grown so much over the past year! I started the company with just me running everything full time along with a team of freelancers. We now have five full-time employees total! I would love to see Tabletop double its size over the next year.

What is one of your favorite “success” stories from your clients?

One of my favorite "success" stories is working with Level7 Rooftop Bar, which opened at the AC Hotel in Raleigh's North Hills neighborhood. We planned a grand opening party for the rooftop bar, along with a media preview event. Both were extremely well attended and the rooftop bar was one of the hottest, most anticipated openings in the Raleigh area. We also grew their social media from scratch, and now their accounts have thousands of followers. Another fun success story is from our client Chef Bud Taylor of The Bistro at Topsail. He reached out to us in order to grow his media relations and business. Since working with him, his fine-dining farm to table restaurant has received the recent distinctions of Open Table’s 2016 Diners Choice award, Winner of The James Beard Foundation's 2017 Blended Burger Project, and Wine Spectator’s 2017 Award of Excellence.

Who inspires you?

My grandpa is one of the most inspirational people in my life. Ever since I was a little kid, he's always encouraged me to follow what I'm passionate about. His favorite quote is, "the sky is the limit." He always told me and my siblings that we can achieve anything, as long as we work hard and never give up.

What’s the best career advice you ever received?

A former boss who worked at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Ray Starling, told me to always produce your best work and never take shortcuts. I started as an intern there and worked my way up into a full-time job with them because of the professional quality of my work.

Being a business owner takes a lot of perseverance. How do you push through the worst times?

With a glass of rosé at lunch! Haha. But really, how I get through the worst times is by taking time to meditate and then to get organized. It's helpful for me to have checklists and a solid game plan when I start getting super busy and feeling overwhelmed.

By Cara Hutto

Born and raised a Tar Heel, Cara is a culinary aficionado and zealous writer consumed by wanderlust. She's passionate about women's issues and interviewing inspirational women in her community.

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