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A Million Reasons

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I almost forgot to write my post for yesterday.  Where’s my mind these days?  Mostly on how to get my hands on some elusive pumpkin puree.  No, not pumpkin pie mix.  It’s not the same.

I can think of endless reasons why it’s a terrible idea for me to start my own business.  I feel compelled to enumerate them.  It’s important for skeptics to recognize that I acknowledge this is potentially a bad idea.  I’m gonna do it anyway.

1.  I have the world’s worst credit.  I don’t really want to talk about it.  I won’t be getting a loan.  Period.  The end.

2.  I’ve never taken a business class in my life.  I don’t know the first thing about it other than what I’ve read in a book.  If it’s beyond common sense, I probably haven’t heard of it.

3.  I don’t have a car.  I have no desire to buy a car.  I love my scooter.  I have no intention of buying a four-wheeled vehicle unless it’s being used to actually sell baked goods out of.

4.  I’ve never made more than about 6 dozen baked goods at a go.  Granted, that was with a tiny oven where I had to bake everything six at a time.  I suppose it might be easier with a full size oven, or even the possibility of multiple ovens in the commercial kitchen.

5.  I’m a bit shy and afraid of talking to people on the phone.  I don’t have any problem chatting with customers, it’s talking to all the bureaucrats and vendors that gives me a stomach ache.  Ugh.  I hate it.

6.  There are already plenty of great bakers out there.  Plus, baking is really easy and most people can do it themselves.  I mean…  If I can do it then you can.  Why should someone pay $2.50 for one of my cupcakes?

7.  I now know about four people on this island.  Word of mouth is doomed.

8.  I don’t know anything about graphic design.  The website is hopeless.

Okay, this is getting depressing.  There are a lot of obstacles to overcome.  Here’s the thing.  I’m gonna do it anyway.  I’m not trying to start a baking empire.  Just a little table on the corner or at a farmer’s market.  I’m quite happy to take it slow.  You can’t stop me.  Don’t even try.

TMI

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I’ve decided it’s time to move forward with making Treatsies an official business, which means doing things like registering the business, getting a vendor license, getting a food handler’s card, all those sort of things.  It’s illegal to sell food made in your home kitchen here, so I’ll also have to find a kitchen to rent if I should ever actually get an order or for selling to the general public.  This bit is the most frustrating, because it adds so much to my costs.  Down the road, there will be equipment I need to buy, like a trailer for my scooter so I can haul a table and a couple dozen cupcakes around to different places.  There’s a lot of work to be done.  Only three weeks have passed since I set my one year goal, so I guess I’m making progress already.

As I started sifting through all of the great information everyone sent me yesterday, and googling this and that, it all got to feel so overwhelming.   I’m trying to take it in smaller pieces.  One step at a time instead of everything all at once so that I don’t drown.  It’s the only way to stay alive.

So many people have given me such great advice and links to useful information.  I appreciate that so much.  I’m going to need all the help I can get.  I’m also thinking of trying out Kickstarter to help me get the funds to really get this thing off the ground.  Thanks to India for that suggestion.  I know you hear those stories all the time about people leaving their high powered jobs for the world of baking.  Guess what.  I never had a high powered job.  I was a school teacher.  I don’t have a bunch of money lying around to throw into a business.  But I know that I am good at what I do, and I won’t let anything get in my way.

So, I’ll probably be coming to you, friends and family, for a lot of help as I move down this road.  I appreciate everything you’ve already done to support me.  Most days I feel like I’ve completely lost my mind to even consider this crazy venture.  You probably know that I am not a bundle of confidence.  I might be the most insecure person I’ve ever met.  I have a million doubts.  But I can’t think of any work that would make me any happier.  I’ll just have to figure out how to make it work.  I know a lot about flour and sugar, but I don’t know anything about business.  I’m operating mainly on instinct here.  I hope you’ll continue to guide me.  I need all the help I can get.

Opportunity Knocks

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Yesterday morning, my husband discovered on Facebook that it was his boss’s birthday today.  He asked me to make a cake.  No idea what kind.  Just any cake.  So he got the first cake recipe I came to that I hadn’t made yet and thought looked good.  A chocolate cake with ground almonds and a thin creamy frosting drizzling down the side of the cake.  I think it turned out looking pretty yummy.  I’m sad I won’t get to taste any of it, as it’s off to an office party without me.  I hope she likes it.  I think the texture of the cake will be really nice with all of the bits of ground almond running through it.

Just after those cakes went into the oven, I looked at my phone only to discover that my new boss wanted me to come into work.  I told her I could be there as soon as my cakes got out of the oven, so while they were baking, I rushed around trying to make myself look presentable.  Then as soon as I got the cakes onto cooling racks, I was out the door.

When I got to work, Maggie started telling me about her store’s big one year anniversary party that is being catered by a French chef and will be attended by a bunch of rich people and would I be interested in making some cupcakes for her to sample and if she likes them, she’d like me to do a dessert table for the party.  Yikes.  Of course, my dance training being what it is, I said yes, even though I’ve never done anything like this before and I’m not sure how I’m going to accomplish it.  It’s at the beginning of November, which means I have a little more than a month to get a business license and plan a menu and test recipes.  Am I going to have to design a tablescape?  Barf.

This could be a really good opportunity.  Or a major disaster.  I’m hoping for more of the opportunity part.  I’ve already got a couple of ideas for what to make using products from her store.  I hope it all works out okay.  I’m already nervous about it.  Here goes nothin’.

Atypical

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I woke up this morning and went through my normal routine.  The first step is to go back to sleep for a half an hour while Geoff is exercising and/or occupying the bathroom.  Then I stretch and groan and open my laptop.  Yes, I know it’s pathetic that the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is check my email and Facebook.  Whatever.

After I’ve caught up on everything that happened while I was sleeping, I kiss my husband on his way out the door, and then I scan Craigslist for any new job postings.  I sent out a number of emails for jobs this morning, including one for retail sales at a privately owned shop at Kahala mall.  Usually I send these emails out and nothing ever happens.  It’s like my email cover letters just disappear into the void.

Next I tidy up the house.  Today that entailed dishes and folding laundry.  I also had to take Geoff’s scooter into the shop today for some minor repairs.  Notice, I haven’t taken a shower yet.  I was just going to get hot and sweaty while out running errands and thought it better to wait until after I returned to get clean.  After dropping off the scooter at the shop, I checked my phone and saw I had a voicemail.  That’s odd.  Who would be calling me?  This is where my day becomes decidedly abnormal.

It was Maggie from Magnolia saying she’d received my email and wanted to meet me.  I called her back.  No answer.  She called me back while I was wasting time in Walmart (it’s so cold in there) and asked if I could come in for an interview today.  Um…  yeah, sure no problem.  I’m only stranded in the vicinity of the scooter shop with my hair in a ponytail wearing a strapless dress.  Okay, that’s not what I said.  I was polite and obliging and set up an interview for 2.

Luckily, the scooter was ready at exactly 12:30, just like the guy said it would be.  I got home at one, giving me time to change, put on makeup, and try to do something with my out of control hair.  Still no shower, but the perfume totally covered that up.  I hope.

I got there with enough time to spy out the shop from behind a sign, and eat lunch so I wouldn’t pass out mid-interview.  Maggie’s store, Magnolia, is filled with antique European furniture and home decor.  There are breakable things at every turn lining very narrow paths through the store.  I neglected to mention that I’m notoriously clumsy in my interview.  They also sell imported olive oil, honey, mustard, and a few other gourmet products.  It’s lovely stuff.  The kind of stuff I can’t even dream of affording.  All a bit too fancy for my personal style, but I can see why other people would want it.

Apparently, Maggie had only just barely glanced at my resume.  This is probably a good thing, as I was able to charm her with my wit and willingness to do just about anything for a bit of income.  It’s not the ideal job.  It’s low-paying and probably bad hours, but it’s money coming in.  It also gives me the time to work on what I really want to be doing, which is getting Treatsies off the ground.  Right now, it’s sunk in a hole that reaches nearly to the center of the Earth.  Finding the money to get through all the rules and red tape to start even the smallest business is daunting.  But I’m convinced there’s a way.

So, I start work tomorrow.  Wish me luck.  Call me if you need any European antique furniture.

It’s Good to Have Goals

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I spent most of yesterday in an exhausted haze, barely able to make sense of my own thoughts.  Now that everyone has gone home, the most important thing for me to do is find a job as quickly as possible before all of our savings disappears.  I submitted a resume yesterday to work as a sub at the high school around the corner and even picked up an application for the famous Leonard’s Bakery across the street.  I don’t know why they’re so stingy about subbing here.  I’ve heard they’re really desperate for them, and yet they make people jump through a bunch of hoops instead of just letting people get on the list and help out.  Seems silly really.  I also can’t help but wonder if my fair skin won’t hold me back just a little bit.

I’ve decided that within one year, I will have my bakery business up and running.  My goal is to have secured a kitchen to work out of and have a vendor license.  I’ve heard it’s actually quite easy to get the vendor license, and once you do, you can sell on any public property.  So, I can set up a table in different parts of town and sell what I’ve made for the day.  I want to be well on my way to saving up for my truck.  I also hope to have some delivery orders going as well.  I’ve decided.  This is how it will be.  By September 1st, 2012, Treatsies will be a reality.

But first I have to get a job so I have money to live to see all of this done.  I absolutely hate hate hate looking for a job.  It’s so tedious and frustrating, and it generally makes me feel pretty bad about myself.  Can somebody please just hand me a job?  Preferably one with a lowish amount of stress and decent hours.  But really, anything with a paycheck would be nice.

Down in a Hole

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I meant to write my post last night.  Really, I did.  I had my laptop right next to me and everything.  But I had a bit of an upset stomach, so I laid down on the bed, and before I knew it, I had fallen into one of those sickly sleeps.  You know the kind, when you feel like you’re at the bottom of  a deep dark hole.  You can hear what’s going on around you even, but you can’t do anything about it.  People ask you a question and all you can do is sort of grunt and maybe wave your hand.  I attribute this condition to too much sugar and too much heat.  Too much easy access to food and plenty of excuses to eat whatever I want isn’t having a positive effect on me.

Truthfully though, yesterday was a pretty boring day anyway.  It mostly consisted of cleaning up the house and waiting around for my dad.  He made a breakfast of pancakes and bacon from my meager kitchen stores.  We only had to rush out to the store for syrup, so it could have been worse.

After breakfast, we waited around some more and then eventually ended up at Waikiki beach for a bit of body surfing.  Well, I mostly just floated around in the ocean on the boogie board.  We were in the exact same spot and under the exact same conditions in which I got my horrible sunburn last year, so I didn’t stay out too long.  The late afternoon sun can be brutal to your skin.

Emily and I walked over to the Hokulani Bakeshop to try some of their expensive gourmet cupcakes because, you know, we had to check out the competition.  The cupcakes were standard size with really more of a dollop of frosting than the usual mound that you see at most places.  They were simply decorated, but still very pretty.  Emily had a vanilla/vanilla, and I had a lilikoi (passion fruit) cupcake with lemon butter cream.  They both had good flavor and were very moist.  But it didn’t crush my spirits.  I am completely confident that I could make something as good or better.

I also did a bit of figuring and research about the cost of the cupcakes that I made the other day and the prices other bakeries are charging.  Wow, the mark up on cupcakes is ridiculous.  I’m going to be able to offer cupcakes on my website for much less than fancy bakeries are currently selling them for.  Though I suppose I should probably get myself a legitimate business first.

Emily and I made hello dolly bars last night.  She loves them and insists I will like them, too, even though I don’t like coconut or pecans.  We’ll see.  But it made her happy, so we made them.  And making her happy is what matters.

The Small Things

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It’s the little things that you get most excited about.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating.  There’s no way you can appreciate drinkable tap water until you’ve lived for an extended period of time without it.  I’m not talking about a week in Cabo.  For two years now I’ve dealt with this.  If I wake up thirsty, and there’s no water, I have to do that most horrible of activities early on a Saturday morning, putting on clothes.  Followed by a usually hot walk to 7-11, all for a drink of water.  It’s true, I usually make my husband do this, but he hates it, too.

I’ve started counting down our visits to the diner.  I imagine we’ll go at some point this weekend for brunch.  Probably again for our last taco Tuesday ever.  Gill has insisted on one last Friday night, even though we’re having our leaving party there on Saturday.  Four more trips to the diner, and then we’re out of here.

I came across this article through Twitter the other day and became inspired.  I love the story of an actor/nanny who now has his own bakery.  I especially love that he just put up a card table on a street corner every night to sell his signature cupcake.  That’s basically what I’ve been doing here, but on a blanket in a park.  I’m not even sophisticated enough to have a table.  I will definitely have to look into the rules of a vendor license when I get to Hawaii.  All I want is to be able to sell the things I create so that I can keep creating them.  I think that may be the near perfect life.

This will be our last weekend to relax.  Next weekend will be stressful.  Even though I’m really excited about where I’m moving to, moving is still a huge pain.  Any chance you want to come over and help next Sunday?  We’ll be here all day.  And you’ll probably get to take home some free stuff.