It is the Friday before Christmas and 99% of the holiday shipments are out the door. As things started to quiet down this week I had a few minutes to reflect on the craziness that has been my life for the past few weeks.
What I’ve learned from the holiday rush:
Meltdowns happen. Sometimes you run out of printer ink in the middle of sending out a corporate order and have to make two trips to Staples to get the right cartridge. Sometimes that happens again. Sometimes you think you put too much flour in your cookies and freak out until you taste them in their perfection. Sometimes you can’t get caramel right in the middle of a gazillion brownie batches and your husband has to step in and show you what to do. Sometimes you are tired, hungry and haven’t had a shower in what seems like too long. Sometimes your hands bleed when you move them because they are so dry from non-stop ware and tare. Sometimes you don’t exercise for a month. Sometimes you eat cookies for lunch. Sometimes you think there is no way you can possibly get everything done. Sometimes you lock yourself out of the kitchen. Sometimes all of your cookie dough scoops break. Yeah, there were lots of meltdowns. All I can say is, my husband and family probably deserve a metal, or at least a lifetime supply of cookies.
Asking for help does not mean that you aren’t good enough. In fact, it means you are smart. I’m pretty much the last person in the world to ask someone to help me do anything. Actually, I can barely even accept offers for help when they come. This time, things were different. Thousands of baked goods were not going to be baked, wrapped, shipped and tracked by just one person in a short period of time. At first, I had a really hard time asking some people to help, but once I saw how much better off I was with an extra pair of hands in the kitchen or packaging, I kept it up. Thank you a million to Matt (husband of the year), Mom, Dad, Jess, Marcia, Mark, Matt and Deena for helping me. Thank you Mom and Dad for schlepping to my kitchen and apartment multiple times a week and putting up with my moments. Thanks Jess for late nights working when you had your own job to go to the next morning. Thanks Mark and Marcia for filling in on any kitchen odd-jobs that came up. Thanks Matt and Deena for turning your Friday night into a brownie-baking marathon. And thanks to my Matt for, well, everything. Extra shout-outs to those who witnessed multiple meltdowns (aka most of you).
Running a bakery is serious physical labor. While I haven’t been to the gym in weeks, I’ve been on my feet all day every day, lifting heavy equipment, stirring monstrous batches of brownies and schlepping eight thousand different things from my apartment to the kitchen and back. That had to account for at least a portion of the five and a half million cookies I ate.
People who say they are too busy to eat healthy are not lying. When you are in the middle of doing a gazillion different things the idea of stopping for lunch, even a twenty minute one, does not sound appealing. Hence broken cookies, brownie ends or really any leftover food in sight makes a meal instead. Time to food shop? Maybe when picking up ingredients. Time to cook? Not even close. I tried snacking on sugar snap peas one day and it was way too time consuming.
You might think you are sick of eating brownie ends, but you’re really not.
Being around other people going through similar experiences seriously helps. Some of the other people that work at my kitchen space include Jeff and Jen from Pipsnacks (love them) and Kathleen from Cocoamains (that woman makes amazing macarons). Apparently I wasn’t the only person in the world working like a madwoman and it made me feel better to know that.
When you work so insanely hard you feel like you can’t go anymore, do anything else or talk to anyone, you can probably do one more thing.
When you work so insanely hard you feel like you could sleep for a month, skinny peppermint mocha lattes will be your best friend.
When you work so insanely hard you do more than you ever thought you could do, hearing from happy customers is the most rewarding experience you could ever imagine. Hearing feedback from customers, seeing people come to the website and buy gifts after they have devoured theirs, seeing an unbelievable review on yelp, and just knowing that my sweets put a smile on someone’s face is the most gratifying experience. My company is my heart and soul, everything I put out there is me, so the feedback I get always hits me on a personal level.
Thank you, as always, for your constant support and bearing with me through this wonderfully crazy time!
Now, if someone could just drain all the sugar out of my system and point me in the direction of the closest treadmill, I’ll be occupied until next Christmas.
I hear ya, while I don’t produce on your scale I would just get done with a batch of orders and the email notifications would come streaming in for more! I just closed my Etsy shop yesterday for vacation and then git an email from a store account I have telling me they have zero caramels left…I find it hard to pass up $$ so started on another huge batch last night :) good luck and have an awesome Christmas!!!
I am so happy to hear that things are going well for you too, Gerry! It is also good to have some more people who understand what this experience is like!
You are superwoman!! I hope you get some time to relax over the next couple of weeks. :)
Thanks, Tara!! Hope I get to see you in the new year:-)
so so happy for you and all of your success! You are doing an amazing job! It’s a wonderful way to end the year :)
Thank you so much, Rachel:-)
Lauren, what you have is called SUCCESS!!! I am so happy for both you and Matt! You picked a great guy for a husband. Based on how he was in the 4th grade, I could tell he would grow into a wonderful man.) Matt, you look like the BEST dishwasher ever!
Thank you so much! Matt says that he couldn’t have done it without you and you were the best teacher ever:-)
Merry Christmas Lauren! I hope you get to enjoy some time off over the holidays; you’ve worked so incredibly hard and made such a huge success of the business that you really deserve it!