Michigan engineers launch elegant picnic setup company 'MI Picnic Project'

Posted at 2:20 PM, Jun 01, 2021

(WSYM) — Most of Yathu Manick’s day is spent in the math, science and tech realm.

"So engineering, it's ... very process oriented, very organized. And, you know, it's a routine," said Yathu.

As a full time engineer and member of the military, the Canton resident wanted a creative outlet.

The spark for her inspiration: her own proposal.

Courtesy Yathu Manick

"He proposed to me picnic-style and it was in Cancun, and I was like, 'hey, this is a great idea.' I mean, how romantic it is and everything looks perfect. Just, you have your own little space to enjoy. It's not at a restaurant or a public space. It's just a nice little cute spot. So, 'well, why don't I bring this to Michigan?'" she said.

With the help of her friend, also in the engineering field, the pair launched MI Picnic Project, a company that specializes in elegant picnic setups.

Courtesy Yathu Manick

"We provide everything from rugs, cushions, tableware, silverware, glasses, everything. Small games ... and then you enjoy your picnic for two hours, and then ... you can just leave it as it is and then we clean it up for you guys. So you basically are stress free, just come enjoy your picnic and leave," said Yathu.

Picnics start at $135, that's for two to four people. Picnickers can also choose from a variety of add-ons, like a charcuterie board, non-alcoholic drinks, flowers or extra hours.

Yathu said after launching this spring, the response was surprising.

"We got an overwhelming response, because everyone wants to celebrate, but they want to celebrate small," she said.

Courtesy Yathu Manick

From bridal showers to backyard dates, Yathu says they take special care with each setup.

"We practice before every picnic. We set it up like two days ahead, make sure the colors are falling in place, nothing is popping out, nothing is grabbing too much attention," said Yathu.

And, she says, the idea of picnic proposals is gaining some traction.

"They were more surprised, they're like, 'oh my God, like, you could do this for a proposal and I could just dress up and walk in, like I don't have to do anything for this ... you can cover everything for me. You can bring a photographer too, like, making dreams come true,'" she said.

Yathu said the end goal for her and her friend, is to be able to do MI Picnic Project full-time.

Because when winter rolls around, the picnics will continue, just a little differently.

"We're trying to do for fall, like an inflatable heating outdoor thing. And for winter, we can do more of indoors and kind of refresh our inventory and be ready for the next summer. So that's our plan," she said.

So while life may not have been a picnic lately, you’re now able to make your own thanks to a new Michigan small business.