It isn’t every day that a six-time Grammy nominated Bluegrass singer swings by PJP for some pie, but that is precisely what happened when Rhonda Vincent tweeted she was in transit to see us this afternoon. She was just as delightful as she could be, bought several pies, and even took the time for a selfie with me to mark the occasion of the first famous person to ever visit PJP Buttonwood. Serious milestone, indeed.
And not long after she left, she posted a picture of the baby Peanut Butter pie she purchased to her 13,600 Instagram followers and her 17,000 Twitter followers. Well, that is SIGNIFICANT. And so of course, I Instagrammed our selfie. And it made me pause and think that for years, the visit by a famous person to your business inevitably resulted in a framed picture on the wall for years and years to come. And rather now, it results in an immediately posted image across the social media platforms where it will live forever with filters and hashtags. An interesting cultural shift I hadn’t really considered before…
And lest you think this story can’t get any better, Rhonda’s next Instagram post was a picture of her and Dolly Parton singing together, thereby making PJP and the Peanut Butter pie I made this morning just one degree of separation from Dolly Parton. And, ironically, Dolly Parton will be on tour in Kansas City tomorrow and St. Louis on Saturday and I had spent significant time this week trying to convince Jeanne to go with me to one of those shows based solely on our collective love of Hard Candy Christmas. (Alas, Jeanne ranks going to a concert in her least favorite things to do because she’s weird that way, so the only Hard Candy Christmas that I’ll be listening to this weekend will be on Spotify.)
And none of this really has to do with anything but to say that we never know what our day at PJP might bring and today DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Famous singer? Check. Social media shoutout? Check. We didn’t even embarrass ourselves by fangirling around. Maturity? Check.
We’ve been working steadily on a number of obvious goals at PJP, like having more pie flavors and ensuring tarts available for sale each day. And also on some not-so-obvious goals, like not micromanaging every second of every minute of every day at PJP. And because we’ve done pretty well over the past month with this “YES TO TARTS, NO TO MICROMANAGING” philosophy, we started to think about what other goals might be within our reach if we just tackled them head-on.
Which is precisely how Jeanne and I started a long conversation about Instagram, starting with the who/what/where//when/why/how it all works (one guess who in this show needed the tutorial). And while we’ve long since had a PJP Instagram (/peggyjeanspies), we certainly haven’t consistently focused on the account with regular updates.
But not long ago, my almost 11 year old developed some major Instagram love. Suddenly she was watching videos and tutorials and giving me lip liner tips…even though she isn’t allowed to wear lip liner. Thanks, Instagram. But her video watching and photo scrolling became a bit addictive for us both and as beautiful pictures flooded my feed, I thought…”well we could totally do that.”
And we can. But it would only be fair to admit that it takes a lot of time and a tremendous amount of creative effort to stage a great Instagram shot. Last week a customer stopped by while I was on the fifth rung of a ladder over a staged shot while Katie and Kevin backlit it with their iPhone flashlights and Jeanne drizzled streusel over the blueberries and I videoed (using Boomerang, an app that Katie taught me about because she is 19 and knowledgable and not 41 and distracted by trying to keep her kid from following any of the Kardashians on social media…but whatever.)
Just like baking and owning a business, I’ve discovered that putting together something beautiful for Instagram is easier on some days than on others. It certainly requires thinking about our product with a different mindset and a step back to view it through different eyes than simply baking and boxing. And that perspective is actually refreshing. For example, my favorite shot from last week was done using something we purchased at Ikea before we ever opened PJP Buttonwood in the anticipation that it might hang in our front window as a decoration. And then it never did because it didn’t fit our vibe. And then last week, the almost 11 year old Instagram addict opened it up and slowly we all started to work together presenting pie in different colors and layouts and until we discovered a beautiful summer shot…
A totally new perspective on Key Lime pie, no?
So, I hope we maintain it and make the time to do it each day a priority…not only for sharing images from PJP with our followers, but to push us to start thinking about things inside our storefront in a new and refreshing way. But please stop us if you notice we start to talk about lip liner…
For the better part of the summer, Jeanne has been taking Tuesdays off from PJP. And for the better part of the summer, I’ve missed her terribly on Tuesdays. (Rest assured, the chapter I eventually write on co-dependency is going to be EPIC.) In the interim, here are a few other items of note from PJP lately.
- When I took the trash out this evening, the bag from the trash can near the dough rolling table was so heavy that I had to drag it out the door and across the alley. And then I couldn’t heave it into the dumpster. So I left it propped up next to the dumpster with a post-it note that said “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.” Odds are likely that the trash men (trash persons?) are totally NOT going to catch the Carrie Bradshaw reference.
- I’m considering getting a business card printed with “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.” and just handing them out as the need arises. That would be pretty awesome, actually.
- All of the kids that work for us are handing in their fall schedules and I’ve started to work on the big picture of our staffing as we roll into the fall months. Two observations: a) we are going to need to hire more help, and b) I’d rather do almost anything at 8 am on M/W/F than take a class on building databases. Or anything at anytime than take a class on building databases.
- I’m not one to dole out book recommendations to the masses (especially non-fiction recommendations), but I just finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and if you consider yourself a creative person at all, READ IT. I borrowed it from the library, but have ordered myself a copy because I want to make a lot of notes in the margins. I am a total nerd that way. Email me when you are ready to discuss the book (and not my nerdiness).
- You would think I would have a fifth item of interest, but I don’t. I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.