Sorry, Not Sorry.

One of the areas I struggle with most – both in the pie world and out – is the ability to say no.  Like legions of women, anytime I say no, it is immediately followed up with a justification or an “I’m sorry”.  Or both, most likely.  Oh, and a heap of guilt too.

And so, honestly, I’ve said yes to a lot of things over the years when I desperately wanted to say “oh no, thanks.”  And based on the hundreds of self-help books available on this problem, I can hardly believe that I’m alone in my grand plans to make everyone happy all of the time.

But I’ve noticed over the past year as our business has grown, saying no isn’t just important…it is requirement of success.  During an average week, we are contacted by handful of advertisers and vendors, asking us to buy ad space or purchase pricey equipment or promotional materials.  And in the beginning, I could barely turn anyone away.  Which is precisely how we ended up with 1,000 sub-par ink pens as a promotional giveaway that still sit in a box under our counter because I hesitate to give away a terrible pen with an awesome pie.

About 18 months into PJP Buttonwood, I realized saying yes to everyone and everything just left me stressed out about branding, about money, and about our sanity.  So in a rare bout of emotional growth and in the smallest bit of business acumen, I decided I was over it.  And since I already hate January anyway, I made January my unofficial month of no.

And you would think that by recognizing the need to say no, actually doing it would be easy, right?  Nope.  Because what I’ve noticed is that even if I have the guts to say no, most will question the decision – as in well, how do you plan to bring in new customers without buying this service or product?  How do you plan to sustain your process without this service or product?  How do you think you can grow your customer base without this service or product?  Hmpf.

I certainly don’t judge the advertisers and vendors asking those follow-up questions – they are doing their job, and doing it well.  This is more about my ability to say no without opening the door to guilt and justification by apologizing and launching into a litany of reasons why I didn’t want to purchase whatever the person was selling.  And when I bemoaned my thoughts about this all to Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason, he had little frame of reference because he couldn’t figure out why I was apologizing or justifying myself in the first place.  Interesting.

A quick Google search pulls up a ton of research suggesting that women say “I’m sorry” an inordinate amount comparatively to men.  And whatever – my inclination is to apologize to you for even writing this post about apology and justification.  True story.

I don’t have any answers to my woes…I’m just posting just to say that I’m super terrible at saying no without feeling terrible and I’m probably not alone.  So here is to February – my unofficial month to stop feeling bad about it all.  Cheers.





On the regular, Jeanne is asked how PJP V. 2.0 differs from PJP V. 1.0.  And Jeanne always has a litany of differences to share, with the most obvious that she and I have a completely different dynamic together than she did with her best friend, Peg.

But what I think is most notable between the two iterations of PJP is the impact of social media on business.  During the reign of PJP V. 1.0, the Internet was barely A THING.  In fact, until the final location on Chapel Hill, Jeanne’s office didn’t even have a computer.  And then when it did, she had to pay for a separate phone line so that she could have Internet and leave a line open for customers to call the store…even though she likely only checked her hotmail email once a week or so.   (Oh goodness…the mere thought of dial-up Internet access leaves my blood cold.)

And now here we are, phones with Internet in our hands and the ability to interact with the world available with just a button.  Today, we styled a beautiful photo of our new Butter Pecan pie.  And by “we”, I mean mostly that Jeanne styled it and I took the picture and then we both hovered over my phone looking at Instagram filters.  Sometimes choosing between Juno and Mayfair is a nail biter.


We love this photo.  It is visually compelling and evokes a nice warmth that I hope is portrayed in our store.  Within 10 minutes, I had it on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing with the world what we do best – making pies…(and maybe picking Instagram filters).

Because the response to the picture was overwhelmingly positive across all three accounts, Jeanne was encouraged and suggested we send the picture to some major glossy magazines who might appreciate pie and our artful work.  And while she started to draft an eloquent letter to the Editor-In-Chief, I just started tweeting it…a very microcosm of the different ways we approach a task in 2016.

There was no end game for the tweets, just the hope that maybe our work got a brief nod of appreciation from someone somewhere that works at Food Network, Paula Deen, Rachael Ray, Southern Living, Midwest Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Pioneer Woman, and/or Bon Appetit magazine.  Ahem.  (Ok, so maybe I expected an immediate call from Paula’s people…I mean, it is BUTTER PECAN.  Really.)

In the end, Midwest Living and Better Homes and Gardens favored our tweet.  I’ll take it with pride.  And tomorrow, I get the joy of explaining what a favored tweet is to Jeanne.  #helpme.

A List.

A few things…

  1. I’m super happy that January has ended.  Bye, Felicia.
  2. Even in a leap year, February is 97% more palatable.  I think it is all the candy in heart-shaped boxes.
  3. Speaking of, you would think it would be crazy easy to bake a pie in a heart shape.  But it isn’t.
  4. But whatever, because we’ve got your Valentine’s plans covered.  We are hosting a Date Night Baking Night next Friday night.  We will bake pie together (in the regular ol’ round shape) and drink champagne.  We are just a few tickets short of selling out, likely because it promises to be a great time.
  5. And while we are discussing a great time, last week’s Epic Pie Tasting was the best.  The short story is that the new Butter Pecan Pie won everyone’s heart.  Shoo-Fly pie?  Not so much.  Any dessert item that is 97% molasses and based on a history of LITERALLY TRAPPING FLIES is a tough sell.
  6. In case you didn’t know, the unexpected fringe benefit of Epic Pie Tasting is that we refuse to keep any leftover pie.  Everyone who attends Epic Pie Tasting must take home boxes and boxes of pie and gift it to co-workers, babysitters, neighbors, and best friends.  FullSizeRender-72
  7. I think those entire towers of pie boxes are held together at the base with flattened Shoo-Fly pie.
  8. I think, actually, you could hold a space shuttle together with flattened Shoo-Fly pie.  I’ll twit pic this to @NASA as a pro tip.
  9. If you haven’t listened to yesterday’s podcast yet, Jeanne and I attempt to talk about PJP, but we get a little caught up on an entire category of things that blow Jeanne’s mind.  She makes brief mention of Twitter, but she’s really stuck on the Cloud and what it means.
  10. Spoiler alert:  no real answers are reached.  As you would expect.