Gilli Rozynek was indifferent when a social media intern with her quick-service charcuterie company, Kured, suggested they start a TikTok account. Unlike most of her friends and family, Rozynek wasn’t an active user of the app. She hoped it might generate some foot traffic, so she gave the intern the green light, but she didn’t expect it to make or break her business. Then the likes started rolling in.
“The day we posted the TikTok, it had around 800 likes by the end of the work day,” says Rozynek. “One of our interns said that was pretty good, and I didn’t think twice about it. Over the course of the night, though, the TikTok climbed to 2,000, 5,000, and eventually 10,000 likes by the time I went to bed. We were texting back and forth just watching it climb.”
The TikTok had an astounding 60,000 likes by the time Rozynek woke up the next morning. Today, it’s been liked 78,000 times and has amassed nearly 650,000 views. The video is simple enough: It depicts a pair of hands dressed in blue nitrile gloves placing various cured meats and cheeses into a to-go box while Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” plays in the background.
The next day, the Kured storefront at 83 Charles St. in Boston’s Beacon Hill had hundreds of people swarming the shop. The TikTok went live on a Thursday, and that Saturday Kured received so many orders — a record number, in fact — that Rozynek had to shut the shop down early. It turns out that a combination of meat, cheese, and visions of vacation is the blueprint for social media success.
Rozynek initially launched Kured when she was participating in a start-up accelerator program at Boston College. It started off as a delivery-only business on Cape Cod and in Greater Boston but blossomed into a brick-and-mortar space on Beacon Hill in June 2021. Eaters can order online or in person, choosing from a number of charcuterie cones (pictured in the image above) and boxes (which start at $18 and go up to $43), as well as sandwiches and house-made pickles.
Rozynek — who refers to her business as Sweetgreen or Chipotle for charcuterie — says she got the idea for Kured when she was living abroad in Madrid.
“I noticed how popular charcuterie was, not only in Spain, but across the whole continent of Europe,” she says. “I got to learn a lot about charcuterie while I was there since it’s so ingrained in the culture. But more than the actual product itself, I really liked what it facilitated: It brought people together on a daily basis and powered real conversation.”
Just several years later, Rozynek is trying to provide Bostonians with that very same experience. Head to Charles Street for a cone (or a small box, or a big box) of meat, cheese, and pickles. The only thing missing: an island in the sun.