A comedy of errors...
The past few weeks at Bakedown have possibly been some of the most challenging that I’ve faced in the entire three years of starting out on my journey three years ago. Since opening the shop space it’s been an interesting adjustment to balancing production for custom jobs, the online shop and now a small, but hungry retail space.
If you popped in after Easter you would have seen that the poor shelves were looking very lonely—and possibly me looking very distressed about how empty they were. And I’m sure if you’re a regular (or even otherwise) you would have been given my sincere apologies for the lack of choice and shortage of favourites.
In the past month, I’ve learned that I am most definitely NOT superwoman—nor am I able to run a growing business on my own for much longer. In late February, I headed to the beautiful Sugar World Academy in Jakarta to teach some wonderful students—and extended on for what was meant to be a short holiday in Japan.
On the third day of Japan, I was struck down with a severe case of food poisoning and was unable to keep anything down for the next 10-12 days (aka the duration of the entire trip). So rather than what I had thought would be a trip of exploration and gorging on delicious foods ended up being a trip of staying as close to the loo as possible at all times and eating plain onigiri and bananas. Not to mention physical exhaustion. In some ways you just HAVE to laugh—because the alternative would be too depressing to deal with (though believe me, I cried).
Upon our return, there was no time for sitting around either. Whilst overseas, I had been taking pre-orders for Easter eggs….of which there was an incredibly notable backlog, and one which was frankly incredibly intimidating. Somehow, with the help of Mr Bakedown packing orders till the wee hours of the morning (while I was cranking them out as fast as I possibly could)—we survived. Though admittedly things went much slower than I had hoped, and I guess without the understanding that ONE person produces every single chocolate that leaves the Bakedown premise, people started to get quite impatient and started sending rather unfiltered and needlessly aggressive emails.
This, coupled with my disappointment and obvious lack of holiday joy from my illness and my lack of sleep, made for one very unhappy and grumpy person. I have to say that comparatively, my skin is much thicker than it used to be—but I think I’m still learning that “you can’t please everyone”, no matter how hard you try. And that’s just a fact of life.
After Easter there was a little respite which was very welcome—I got to have a bit of a play with some of the new ideas floating around in my head. Stability began to return and the shelves were finally full again! And then…I spilled coffee on my laptop. And any of you out there with small businesses know how vital the sort of money to replace a crucial part of your business can be to cashflow.
I guess what I’m saying with this post is that it’s not all sunshine and roses, and it’s incredibly easy to paint a glamorous picture and lie about how FANTASTIC it is to run a small business. Don’t get me wrong—I’m so grateful that I’m able to do what it is that I love. But it’s freaking hard work…it’s pushing through all of the crap, no matter how exhausted you are because you’ve got a business to run. No one else is going to do it for you or give you a shove when you need it. It takes an inordinate amount of strength, but even then sometimes you just have to admit that you can’t do everything yourself!!