Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Seventh Member…

This Memorial Day evening has me shaking my head at all my new freckles and wincing each time I need to move my sunburnt shoulders…so, in short, just how I like my holiday to transpire.       For the next 15 Saturday and Sundays, you’ll find Team PJP at the Lake of the Ozarks, wherein we will enjoy rum-based cocktails while anchoring our boat in a cove and floating all day.  This routine is nothing new – for the past three years, we’ve spent our summer weekends on the water.

I think about all the weekends where we’ve laid on the boat and discussed any number of topics.  And if someone would have said to me at this time last year that I would eventually spend the majority of the next 12 months establishing PJP V 2.0, I would have suggested they stop drinking the rum, because NO.  No, thank you.

That said, there was a lazy Saturday last summer wherein my then ten-year-old said out of the blue to Jeanne…”Hey mawmaw, I really think you should get a food truck and start making pies again.”  And she didn’t think it was a bad idea at all.  Later that night, they are on Google looking for food trucks on eBay and Craigslist and discussing the pros and cons of each one they discover.  And for the most part, I ignored it because well, FOOD TRUCK?  Or would it be a pie truck in this case?

But then not too soon after that Saturday, someone else I know said that we should consider doing a pie truck idea and I told Jeanne that information.  And she said to me:  “You know we could, right?”  And me, full of bravado and wistful romantic dreams of self-employment, said “Yes, it would be so cute and so fun!!!”

And a year later, PJP exists.  And it astounds me…much like when you fall in love with someone or bring a new baby home and you find yourself marveling that you ever lived a life before that person.  It amazes me that this time last year, there was no PJP and I was a girl who knew nothing of Triple Net commercial leases or 5 ton HVAC systems.  In short, we aren’t the girls we were this time last year.  And we are feeling pretty good about that.

So in our cocktail swilling, sunbathing conversations this weekend, it was like PJP had become the seventh member of our family.  We discussed PJP in all aspects – how to grow PJP, how to develop new product at PJP, how to think of PJP in new and interesting ways – basically, if PJP were a person, she would have sat at the head of the table.  And now that PJP is a part of all we do, I can’t imagine our lives without her…

 

 

Shredded Pants?

Yesterday, Mike Niebuhr with Pratte Industries dropped by PJP Buttonwood with something we’ve been anticipating for some time – our specially designed pie shipping containers.  If you recall, we did a test shipment a few months ago to Charlotte, our Director of Publicity and Something-Else-I-Can’t-Remember, in New York City and the pie arrived in a delicious, albeit hot mess of a condition.

Mike has been working for the past few weeks on a concept that would allow us to ship the nine-inch pies via two-day express air to recipients all over the country. We were so excited to see prototypes and well, Mike did not disappoint.

To begin with, Mike has a box in stock that we can use for shipping and for a price that doesn’t make me want to lay on the floor in a fetal position, HE CAN PRINT OUR LOGO ON THE BOX.  And look, I get that my excitement over a box with our logo on it is a little over-the-top but it makes PJP feel very fancy and I’ll take my little victories where I can get them.

And it doesn’t end there – the insert that goes in the box doesn’t only stabilize the pie, it is also 100% bio-degradable.  And because the times we live in can be amazing, I’ll tell you this…the insert is filled with shredded denim.  Yep, you read that correctly…shredded denim.  Did you know such an option even existed?  MIND. BLOWN.  In my mind, I see a Pratte Industries factory and massive bins of old jeans, just waiting for their turn in the shredder.  Where do we think these jeans come from?  And why?  And as in most things that capture my attention…

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The point is that we THINK this box might transport our pies to doorsteps far and wide in a lovely condition.  And if that is the case, I’ll spend no more time thinking about what Pratte Industries shreds up to make it happen.

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After Mike left us with our prototype and a price list, I texted our good friend Spencer at Worldwide Express to arrange a test shipment back to Charlotte’s Manhattan second floor walk-up.  He is coming on Tuesday to pick up our prototype box and pie for shipment and because he is pretty awesome, he even texted me that that he is just excited for the delivery results as we are…

 

 

List It Out…

Let’s start at the beginning of this story by saying that if I had a dollar for every customer that has asked me in the past month for a full listing of the pies we make, I would be a rich woman…

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I don’t know if I find it more interesting that we opened a business without interior signs advertising our product…or that it never occurred to either of us that we would need signs.  There is probably some psychology as to why, in the history of PJP, you won’t find a single sign listing all the pies available for order.  Perhaps we have always been so in the world of pies that we thought everyone knew you could order a 12 inch almond rum raspberry any day of the week.  Or perhaps given our personalities that push against any sort of rules, trying to define what we do and work within that was simply never part of our thought process.

Whatever the reason, a month into PJP Buttonwood has shown that people like to know what we bake and how much each item costs (imagine that).  Several weeks ago, we visited a local sign company for some options.  Around the same time, we started working with Caroline Leemis of Caroline Leemis Design (http://www.carolineleemisdesign.com).  We had known each other about five seconds before figuring out she understood us perfectly and she would make PJP Buttonwood an entirely new visual experience.

So today was actually just ridiculously fun.  Caroline shopped and texted us pictures of things we might like for the front area.  Anything we liked, she bought it and then brought it to us.  And for two people who have been working 80 hours a week on building a product and a brand, such a luxurious service made us feel like the Queens of PJP (only with flour in our hair instead of a tiara).

When she stopped by at 1 this afternoon, she brought Kelly Hoover of Uppercase Living (https://www.uppercaseliving.com).  The master plan is to turn the wall of stainless steel into a massive menu board with the pies divided into three categories – cream, fruit, and speciality.  Rather than creating one board, Kelly is supplying a thin, flexible three inch tall vinyl of each pie type.  The vinyl will be applied directly to the steel.  This should give a texture to the wall and also easily allow for additions to the menu as we (i.e., Jeanne) develops new pie flavors.  Here is a sample we tried out on the wall today to get a feel for size…

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It looks like it will take two weeks for the vinyls of all the pie types to arrive.  And like everything else in this rodeo, it won’t be cheap.  We anticipate an estimated cost of $650 because the prices are based on the length of each line of text.  That said, how can we sell pie if no one is sure what kind of pie we make?  Whomever came up with the adage “it takes money to make money” was likely at this stage of business ownership, wherein everything costs something.

We are really excited to see how the wall transforms the entire PJP Buttonwood space.  And the plan for the rest of the front space?  OH MY WORD.  We are a little excited for it all to get started…

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