If you had asked me a year ago if I was going to write a blog, I would’ve said “No”. I would’ve said “I’m too busy with my bakery” or “I don’t have time”. A year ago my life was overfull, stressed, happy at times, sad at other times, exhausting, gracious, and often left me feeling dead. I owned a vegan bakery, my little pride and joy, for about 8 years (6 of which were in an actual retail shop). So why do I have time to do this now? Well, I had to close my shop down in September of 2015. It’s been 9 months (WOAH) since I closed that lovely place. It was an incredibly difficult decision to make.
I get asked A LOT, and I understand the curiosity, exactly why I closed my shop. The short answer is that I was working 80 hours a week with little to no pay and could just not seem to get ahead of the game and then we had major equipment problems which I could not afford to fix. The long answer is just more embellishment of the short one. I really was working 80 hours a week, which to some might seem ok if it’s your passion BUT in reality sometimes your passion dies a little when you don’t sleep or relax enough, or at all. I never seemed to have enough money to get ahead of anything business wise and in retrospect I wish I had started the business with so much more so it was done right. It was incredibly stressful and I don’t give up easily.
I absolutely fought, what I knew to be true in my heart, for a couple of years honestly. I hired more employees, but never seemed to have enough. I tried to add new items to bring in more money, but never seemed to make more and spent more. I recalculated costs of goods and increased prices, which helped but not enough. I took online business courses. I asked other business owners for advice. I scoured the internet for wisdom. I was still doing too much myself but couldn’t afford to hire a manager. I really think if I had started bigger than I did in the beginning, with it setup to run without me…I would’ve survived. Instead, I setup a business whose entire existence depended on me working 80 hours. It was sadly doomed to fail.
It was an amazing ride though. We did do very well sales wise. We had really great business and it increased every single year. I met with someone who sells businesses and he was impressed with our numbers. It’s not that we didn’t have business, it’s just that I missed my life and my family. I was also in debt since I could barely pay myself and that was a huge problem. My relationships were suffering and my quality of life was suffering. I set a deadline for myself to try to turn it around or close. Then about 1 1/2 months before my deadline, our sandwich prep fridge started having major issues so we stopped storing food in it. Then about one month before my deadline, our oven started having major issues heating evenly and the convection fan would turn off. I got both looked at and they were too expensive to fix and I couldn’t afford new ones either. I cried a lot and talked to my wonderful parents and husband. I took it all as a huge nudge from the universe and decided to close down shop.
I felt really horrible for a really long time. I felt bad for not giving my awesome customers more time to say goodbye to us. Everyone’s support meant so much to me over the years and I was honored to see you all go through awesome things…new jobs, children (I saw many grow up!), some moved, some sent us postcards on vacation. We celebrated birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, babies and more! I felt like I let down my customers and my amazing employees. I had so many amazing employees over the years, and I was seriously lucky to find so many. I felt so horrible for having to close. I would go through periods of self-doubt and depression for many months afterwards.
Slowly, I started healing. I meditated. I wrote in my journal and would end each entry with positive things about myself. I took out my frustrations on heavy weights at the gym. I did yoga. I cried. I watched too much TV. I tried to read books. I cried. Now I’m really starting to feel better about it all. I really miss the shop immensely and I don’t get to bake enough. So I started this blog. I wanted to do something creative with food/treats that is on my own terms and would include everything I loved all in one place. So there you go. Life is definitely an adventure and I’m just trying to enjoy the ride. Now onto the next adventure. XOXO