Photo by Phelan Marc
“Redefine the rules.”
Two years ago, Susan Smallwood was interested in hosting her Champagne x Caviar event at a new caviar lounge that was opening in Ft. Lauderdale. The general manager of the lounge introduced Susan to the owner’s grandson, who was open to the idea of her hosting her event there. But when Susan began looking for images to market and promote the event, she had a hard time finding images of people of color enjoying caviar. In her own turn of a phrase, it was time to “change the complexion.”
With La Grande Caviar, Susan is the first woman of color to own a premium quality caviar brand. Photos by Dante Byrd
Susan knew her business would benefit from becoming an affiliate of a strong caviar brand, so she reached out to a caviar purveyor. “After investing thousands of dollars purchasing caviar from a particular purveyor, they finally answered my emails and took me seriously. Prior to that, I had been ignored for months,” Susan recalls.
When Susan visited DC to present her caviar brand affiliation, things changed when two men encouraged her to venture out on her own. “Two gentlemen said ‘Susan, why are you advertising their brand? Start your own caviar brand,’” Susan recalls. “At first I had trepidations, but as an entrepreneur, I’m a risk-taker. I then consulted with a caviar purveyor that had a caviar plant in the US and in Belgium.” A match was made. Susan would go on to call her brand La Grande Caviar, becoming the first woman of color to own a premium quality caviar brand.
Photo by Phelan Marc
Along with La Grande Caviar, Susan is the owner of Grandiosity Events. “Our mission is to bring cultures together for grand experiences, exposure, and education through entertainment and philanthropy in our community,” Susan says. On September 24, 2022, Susan will be celebrating Grandiosity Events’ 6th annual Celebrity Charity Polo x Jazz event. The charity event will benefit the Black Mental Health Alliance and will be hosted by actress LisaRaye. “She will be celebrating her 55th birthday in grand style and so will I! The event will celebrate 110 years of collective wisdom and beauty on the same stage,” Susan says.