Monthly Archives: January 2016

Well Played, January.

It is safe to say that January and I aren’t friends.  It is notoriously slow for retail business, plus it just seems overly drawn out with the whole 31 day thing.  Plus, I noticed a trend in Square that Wednesdays this month have been our slowest day of the week as a rule.  So by early this morning, we sipped our coffee while considering the day ahead…


And as it turned out, we were busier than we could have expected (which probably means I shouldn’t bother to troll Square history reports in my downtime).  Being busy is great, but it bumped our major plan for the day:  trying at least eight new recipes for tomorrow’s Epic Pie Tasting Event.

Epic Pie Tasting is one of our favorite events to host (and also one of the most popular…tomorrow’s event sold out in under an hour).  We choose 10 pies from our menu and five new pie recipes and bake them all to share with 18 new friends.  On occasion, Jeanne or I read a recipe in a magazine that sounds compelling and then other times, Jeanne looks through her collection of vintage cookbooks for ideas for new pie.  But today, we decided to go straight to the belly of the beast:  Pinterest.

Look up “pie” on Pinterest and prepare to be overwhelmed.  (Honestly, look up anything on Pinterest and be prepared to be overwhelmed.  I looked up “chicken breast” yesterday and broke out into a terror sweat at all the options.  Also, someone at Pinterest needs to add a filter function on there so you can search for “chicken” but filter out “crockpot”.  Seriously.  But I digress.)

So, there we were…a busy PJP Buttonwood, yet looking at Pinterest together.  And oh, we have vastly different philosophies about Pinterest.  I’m more of a “like it, pin it, visit it later” approach.  Jeanne is more of a “like it, click it, and follow it to the very ends of the Internet” approach…or at least to the nearest broken link, wherein she will be indignant that the Internet is unable to produce someone’s blog post from 2007 so she can look at a recipe that she would likely change in the end regardless.

Hours or so later, we finally agreed on five recipes that looked interesting enough to tweak to PJP standards for tomorrow night’s menu.  And then Jeanne went to Hy-Vee to purchase a list of random supplies – maraschino cherries and molasses to start with – so we could test it all out.

Right after she came back and we drew up a plan, PJP Buttonwood got super busy.  As in, regular Wednesday busy…not January Wednesday busy.  We sold out of almost all pie, so we put our aprons back on and started on our baking schedule for the second time in the day.  It was a total December move.

Which is just the long story behind why we will start baking early in the morning.  And perhaps legitimately need to sample maraschino cherries before sunrise.

Well played, January.


Over the past few days, Jeanne and I have shared the PJP brand RELENTLESSLY.  From an appearance on The Tom Bradley Show on Friday, to the Bacon and Bourbon Festival on Saturday, and finally to the Super Wedding Show on Sunday, we wore our PJP t-shirts and discussed #WorldPieDomination with hundreds of people.  We set up elaborate displays, gave out samples, we shared our fancy book of pie pictures, and we talked about PJP to anyone who remotely made eye contact with us.  RELENTLESSLY.

I think we can all agree that creating a brand is difficult (unless you are a Kardashian, I guess).  As PJP has grown over the last 18 months, I’ve felt tremendous pressure to clearly identify the PJP brand and keep it moving in the direction that Jeanne and I have half-strategically planned out in our minds.  (And what we lack in strategy, we make up for in heart – we love what we do.)

And then.  And then if you are able to cohesively develop a brand and create a vision for your brand, you have to share your brand in every way possible.  And that sounds so easy, right?  Maybe so…but actually doing it is harder than you would suspect.

Because here is the thing…by yesterday at 9 am, I would have done most anything to lay on the couch and watch Saturday night’s episode of House Hunters Renovation on the DVR while drinking coffee.  Our booked schedule on Friday and Saturday had left us tired and surprisingly over ourselves.  We had a legitimate conversation on the phone about just dropping off the tarts at the wedding show and letting our booth partners – the Courtyard Marriott – just hand them out for us with a flyer about our wedding options.  And then we would both stay home and have one day off before the start of another busy week.  So compelling, no?


Except the reality is that we’ve learned it doesn’t really work that way, if you legitimately want to build your brand.  You actually have to go and set up the booth and meet the people and listen to yourself talk about all the cool things we do at PJP.  Over and over and over and over again.  For the third day in a row.

On the way home last night, we agreed that if our busy weekend resulted in just a few new visitors to PJP Buttonwood or new Facebook likes or Instagram followers, then it was all completely worth the energy, the effort, and the 700 samples of Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pie.

And maybe even the letting the House Hunters Renovationsit on the DVR one more day.  Maybe.

You Can Find Us Everywhere.

Tomorrow kicks off a busy few days for Team PJP.  (And after enduring slow days in January, I am personally pleased as punch to be overwhelmed with a packed schedule.)  On the agenda:

  1. We start tomorrow with a 9:30 am appearance on the Tom Bradley Radio Show.  We will be taking pie with us, of course.  Tom and Carrie plan to sample pie live on the air.  NO PRESSURE.  NO PRESSURE, AT ALL.  My only hopes for the entire thing is that they a) love the pie, and b) I manage to squeeze in a shoutout to #WorldPieDomination.
  2. We will be sampling Chocolate Bourbon Pecan and Drunken Apple pie at the Bacon and Bourbon Festival this Saturday from 12-4.  Festival organizers requested we bring 700 samples but we can bring whatever quantity of baby pies to actually sell.  We are vacillating widely on the number we plan to bake on Saturday morning.  I was thinking around 50.  Jeanne was thinking around 200.  Sounds about right.
  3. We will round out the weekend with the Super Wedding Show on Sunday from 12-4 at the Holiday Inn Expo Center.  Until last weekend, I hadn’t been to a wedding show in 16 years.  And now I’m going to knock out two within the span of seven days.  All this has done is reignite my love of a champagne fountain.
  4. And if we can find a spare moment, we will be planning for our Epic Pie Tasting Event next Thursday.  Tickets sold out in just one day and we are super excited to make 15 different kinds of pie.  And a roomful of new friends.  We’ve opened a second date for Epic Pie Tasting Event – February 25th – and a few tickets remain available for purchase.
  5. Honestly, if we can still shake down a few spare moments after all that in the next three days, we will probably sit and drink a massive glass of wine.  I have no idea what Roku rabbit hole Jeanne has fallen down lately, but I’ve been binging on The Last Man on Earth on Hulu and I’m in love.  Watch it.

So maybe we will see you at some point this weekend?