Monthly Archives: April 2014

Please, No Whistling…

I’m just going to come right out and make a bold this will-live-on-the-Internet-forever statement:

I do not care to get up at 4 am to bake.

I actually prefer my night to be ending at 4 am, rather than my day starting.  This is the complete opposite of Jeanne, who loves the early morning.  When she arrives at PJP Buttonwood under the glimmer of the moonlight, she starts to roll pie dough and proclaim she feels the best EVER.  What?  I feel like my eyelids are stuck together and I am forced to drink black coffee as some sort of wicked anti-venom to sleepiness.  In retribution to her cheery mood, I demand we listen to Justin Timberlake and Pink so I can’t fall asleep while mixing fillings and listening to her preferred tunes (which always has one requisite tune on the album that is SOLELY whistling…I don’t understand).  While I normally eschew the cute for the snarky, this image is pretty spot on to how I feel right now…

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I will admit that Jeanne is correct when insisting on our early arrival for the last two days . By 10 am, Lucky’s pies had been delivered and PJP Buttonwood had a solid base of pies for purchase to open the doors.  (This doesn’t mean I like doing it…I’m just begrudgingly saying she was sorta right about starting early.)

While we were baking away yesterday morning, Precision Electric arrived with something that we have been waiting on FOREVER.  You might remember that a few months ago, I shared a picture on the blog of a light fixture that we loved.

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Not only did it take a fair amount of Googling to find the source of this picture (we originally saw it on Pinterest), we discovered that it was for sale for $1800…far outside of our budget for one light fixture.  Never daunted, Jeanne proclaimed she would just build it herself.  She doesn’t think twice about baking a ton of pies and then being all “oh, well, I just went home and built a light fixture from plumbing parts before I went to bed.”  It is an admirable quality.

She finished out the fixture, but wasn’t sure how to wire it.  Enter our friends at Precision Electric.  Todd and Andy and Stacy were kind enough to completely wire Jeanne’s creation in a way that made it work AND comply to all the various electrical rules and regulations.  We’ve been waiting for quite some time to see it hung and yesterday, it finally happened.

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And a close up…

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It really changes the entire vibe of the space for us.  It provides a lot of warm lighting and it is sorta the seal on our Industrial Chic design.  I couldn’t love it more if we had paid $1800 for it (plus who-knows-how-much for shipping and handling).  I keep looking at it and still can’t believe she BUILT that.  I think that if you’ve ever wondered who drives the creative bus on this show, your questions have now been answered.

 

Entrepreneurial Advice…

You might visit this blog from time-to-time because you are interested in opening a business and we give a legitimate account of building a concept to a brick-and-mortar location.  If that is you, then today is your day…by popular request, here are my top 10 pieces of advice for those with an entrepreneurial spirit.

1) Commercial landlords enjoy “as-is” leases…meaning you get to make the space up to code and super nice at your cost even though you will never own the space.  Dig in your heels and negotiate for tenant improvement allowances or actually see the money physically suck out of your purse into an “electrical code upgrade” vortex every time you open the front door to your new space.  When someone (aka, not you) tries to convince you that a bigger and fancier air conditioning unit “might be nice”, take a deep breath and ask what is actually required by city code.  Make peace with the idea that you might have to yell “I don’t care if you think it would be nice” on the phone to someone you never met even though you don’t even particularly like confrontation.

2) People will be weird all along your journey.  Some will be haters because they are risk adverse or because the journey changes you or because they don’t like to see someone succeed, some won’t want you to succeed simply because they wish it were them, and some will literally hold you up mentally during the process and tell you it will be ok, even by text while you are huffing into a brown paper bag and crying.  Figure out who belongs where and only listen to Category Three.  Eventually take Category Three to Hawaii for vacation as a thank you for believing in you.

3) Everything will cost 87% more than you expect and nothing is free.  I think that if you even call the City of Columbia Business License Office, you are assessed a 1/100th of a cent per thousand of your 2016 projected gross income as a fee.  And you need to file that in triplicate and pay by cashier’s check.  In person.  With valid identification.  On the second Tuesday of the month.  Between 1 and 4:15 pm.

4) Once your doors finally open, you phone will ring incessantly and almost all those callers will ask to speak to “an owner or manager.”  Unless you want to discuss OSHA posters, security systems, or credit card processing fees, you say you are neither.  When they ask if an owner will be in later, just say the owner works remotely from a private island and has a phone phobia.

5) You will experience love in your life, but none will be as unique as the love you have for the Ecolab commercial dishwasher.  You will love it so much that you will wash a single spatula at a time because you can.  You will love it so much that the cheesy lab coats worn by Ecolab employees will annoy you, but not deter you.  Everyone has their schtick, right?

6) The federal government, state government, and local government will mail you a landfill worth of paper every month.  If each could invest in some “you probably want to read this” stickers for the important stuff, we could probably all be more productive.

7) No matter how many times you think you have everything you need to make your space functional, you need something else.  It won’t occur to you to stock plastic forks, but when several people ask for them, you will obsess about how you never obsessed about getting forks before opening day.

8) If you have to share your space with someone else all day, there will come a time when one of you wants to listen to Snow Patrol and the other wants to listen to Roger Whittaker.  Rest easy that Spotify only carries five Roger Whittaker tunes, though you may listen to those five on repeat.

9) You will never feel like you are doing enough to make your vision play out in reality.  And the responsibility of it all will weigh on you like a bunch of damp towels out of the dryer.

10) On occasion, you feel like you are completely on the right path and someone will give you the quick reassurance that they believe in you and that what you do makes them happy.  And that will make it all worth it.

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What else?  Have a missed an important tip for our business-minding-blog-reading friends?  Chime with a comment here…

Everything looks better in the movies

There is a great line in a Nora Ephron movie where the supporting character says to the main character: “You don’t want to be in love…you want to be in love in a movie.”  Say what you will about chick flicks, but Ephron’s thinking resonated with her audience because she spoke to the universal truth that everything looks better when in the movies.  If you think about the shop she created for Meg Ryan’s character in You’ve Got Mail, you can hardly imagine anything more quaint and charming.  The whole reason we all hated Fox Books was because it was big and corporate and Shop Around The Corner was, well, adorable.  Add in Ryan’s ubiquitous pixie haircut and her bouquets of sharpened pencils and we can all get over the closing of her store if the guy that shows up in the park in the last scene is, in fact, Tom Hanks as Joe Fox with his dog, Brinkley.

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This brings me to the point that Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly a) has great hair, even 16 years later, and b) probably never wanted to hide in the back of her shop because she was fresh out of responses to questions and opinions about new ideas.  Kathleen Kelly always had it all together…because Kathleen Kelly exists in movie form only.

This morning we found ourselves in an accountant’s office…which is not our natural habitat.  We called on the ladies at Accounting Plus because we need 100% less crying when the Department of Revenue sends obscure booklets that come with penalty of jail time if you mess them up or forget to file them.  Also, Behind-The-Scenes-Tech-Guru Jason was wearing the dual hat of Bank-Statement-Reconciling Jason and that is a lot of job, even for someone who considers doing the checkbook to be a relaxation activity.  It was increasingly clear that perhaps we were all surpassing our skill set where QuickBooks, K1 returns, and depreciation are concerned.  So while finding a team of accounting experts wasn’t on my 2014 Bucket List, I’m happy it is done and it is one less thing to worry about.  I can’t wait to receive all sorts of reports that I likely won’t be able to decipher.  Do we think I would lose any professional gravitas with Accounting Plus if I asked whether they could just put a big “thumb up” or “thumbs down” stamp on the financials?

After our scintillating meeting about taxes, we headed to Hobby Lobby to return World’s Worst Chalkboard.  Last week, we bought two super cute chalkboards to write on with Bistro Markers each day as we announced our pie baking schedule.  Turns out that if you buy a $69.99 chalkboard easel and then you write on that chalkboard with said markers, you will never ever ever get the marker off the board (even if you try Oxyclean, Windex, clean water, and a random cleaner that Office Depot suggested).  Turns out that Hobby Lobby people suggest a Windex/Magic Eraser combination to get the majority of the marker off of the board.  They also suggested, via Amazon comments, that you coat the board in dustless chalk first.  And herein lies why I’m not good at crafting…I see a chalkboard and markers and I just want it to be done.  Rubbing chalk on the board just seems like more patience than I can muster up on a Monday afternoon after already having cleaned the board with enough chemicals to make Al Gore cry.  Don’t make chalkboard markers that don’t come off chalkboard…seems logical, no?

Off we went next to Sam’s to get shortening and cutting knives and Maker’s Mark.  We also got a massive cheap soda and shared a pretzel. G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S.  We didn’t even peruse the wine and/or book section.

And then we went to FastSigns to describe that while we wanted a menu board, we had no concrete thought about what that should look like or how we wanted to make that happen.  We also went completely off tangent by discussing car decals, logo stickers, and pie variety stickers. After we left, I sent over an eps file of our logo and a list of our pies.  FastSigns has promised something pretty awesome in four days or so and we are hopeful.  Anything to alleviate the confusion when someone walks in and wonders if we make pie, when we make pie, and how we make pie makes me happy.  We might – and dare I say it – go fancy and make the whole thing magnetic on our wall of stainless steel.

And because we are super fancy, after FastSigns, we went to Wal-Mart and bought a cordless phone.  Don’t be jealous.  But if you are, call and tell us on our new phone number…447-PIES.

Then we baked a lot.  And tried to merchandise.  And then baked some more.  And then boxed pies.  And the point of this is to tell you that in no way did we live the life of Nora Ephron movie business ownership for this occasion…in fact, it felt a little more like Lucy and Ethel shenanigans.

Except Lucy and Ethel never picked a butter hunk out of the other one’s hair.