Burlap. And Business.

The best thing about dumping your entire entrepreneurial life on the Internet is that you can always look back to the archives for a little perspective.  For example, just about three years ago today, Jeanne and I spent 18 hours covering our front walls in a burlap lattice pattern that we then hated and tore down the next day.  True story.

Which, actually, sounds exactly like us.  I would expect no less than 40 yards of burlap, 10 gallons of glue, and a scissor lift straight to self-doubt and regret in any sort of art project we do.  We later wallpapered that wall and used burlap to frame out the wallpaper, but every six weeks or so Jeanne eyes that wall warily and proclaims that big changes are coming.

Early this morning, I was visiting with our business consultant Mike and he reminded me of just how far we’ve come since we opened almost three years ago.  Which is actually sort of funny because he is completely correct that we have changed and grown so much, but he probably didn’t even think of our penchant to weave burlap on a wall with glue when making his point.  (Though after spending an hour with me every other Thursday for almost a year, he probably wouldn’t be surprised by the burlap.  He probably wouldn’t be surprised if Jeanne decided she was going to do it again, but weave her own burlap the second time around.)

And only a few minutes after he reminded me of our continued growth, I dumped an entire avalanche of new ideas on him for him to push back and ask me all the hard questions about why I liked those ideas and how they helped PJP grow toward #worldpiedomination.  Gah.  Where was he three years ago?  He would have never sanctioned lattice weaving from a scissor lift on a whim.

But we decided some ideas had some merit and could stick, meaning PJP progress…even if it is two steps forward and one step back and ultimately feels like it takes a sweet forever to make forward motion.  This is the best thing about being almost-three, I think…slowing moving forward to a much bigger goal.  #WPD.

Though, it is almost time for Jeanne to eye that wall.  So, if you see us at JoAnn’s with a cartful of glue…




Jeanne felt a bit under the weather today, so that left me alone at the helm of PJP.  And after doing this for almost three years, you would think I wouldn’t care much either way whether she stayed home for a day or not…but I do, mainly because she’s fun.  And let’s be honest, I’m co-dependent and like routine.  (Holla to each of you that just whispered “me too”.)

But whereas just a year or so ago, I would have still been making fruit pies at 2:30 and doing dishes at 4:45 in the afternoon if Jeanne wasn’t there, we were done with our baking schedule and cleaned up by 12:30 or so.  (Holla to Team PJP, who was on point all morning.)

Which left me time to work on stuff like a legit business professional…stuff like figuring how how to gain 421 new Facebook fans by April 17th in order to meet our goal of 5,000 by our third birthday.  I didn’t really come up with much in the way of accomplishing this, so if you read this blog and you have a cousin who has a wife who has a sister who is married to a someone that hasn’t liked our page yet, please tell that person to hurry up and do so.  And why the 5,000?  No particular reason.  I’m just competitive and now that Pi(e) Day is over, it gives me a good goal to simmer on.  (Holla to social media.  I think.)

And once I moved on from Facebook, I did something that I’ve never done in our almost three years at PJP…I made an employee schedule.  Yeah, I know.  I’m not sure why it took three years either…I would guess because neither Jeanne or I are terribly focused on rules and unnecessary planning.  But as we’ve grown and as we’ve both spent more hours at PJP each week than we ever imagined, we are pretty salty by noon or so on Saturday.  Having someone ready to work and check out customers until we close at 4 pm makes all the difference in our week.  So I texted the four employees who work Saturday afternoons and checked availability for all Saturdays in April and then I put together a master schedule for the entire month.  Now we know the plan and now they know the plan, which has to be easier than us being grouchy when no one can work because they all made plans because they didn’t know we needed them to work.  And look, if I would have figured out how much easier that made life a few years ago, then who would I really be?  (Holla to being consistently late to the party.)

Find our Facebook page here.

(Holla to a final shameless plug for the quest to 5,000).


Now We Know…

Well, for the first Monday in a million days or so, we didn’t need to go in and bake a single thing at PJP Buttonwood today.  WHEW.  And while we still met the delivery trucks for our weekly shipments of baking ingredients and pie boxes, it still felt like a veritable day of vacation given our last few weeks.

So I did what any entrepreneur does on a veritable day of vacation…I answered an astonishing amount of emails.  And tried to rouse up some creativity for events in the coming weeks, like our anniversary and Easter.  And I stewed around about things I don’t know the answer to and also about whole list of items I would rather ignore.  Wait, isn’t that how everyone’s Monday works actually?  Please say yes.

Here’s a few highlights from the day…

  1. I discovered in my unread email that PJP has been nominated for a 2017 Feast 50 Award (best bakeshop in the Columbia, MO ballot).  It is always an honor to be noticed by our friends at Feast Magazine.  (And you know my competitive self wants to win, so vote early and often.)
  2. I also discovered a long list of questions from our new accountant and I actually answered one “uhhhhh, maybe”, thereby guaranteeing us #worstclientever.  I suspicion accountants all gather together the day after taxes are due and they drink and swap tax filing war stories.  I hope “uhhhh, maybe” makes our accountant the one there with the best story.  And that she sees the perks of having the #worstclientever.  Ahem.
  3. I’ve decided we are just going to call our anniversary celebration “OMG, PJP Is Three” because well, why not?  Now, we just need to work on the details (and as usual, we have a thousand ideas or so).
  4. Did you know that food handler cards expire?  Because they do and both Jeanne and I need to get ours renewed.  Though, I feel honestly that watching a video of someone cooking some room temperature chicken on a dirty stove is the sort of thing the average person only needs to watch once for a lifetime impact on food safety.  Also, I feel like Jeanne should have the golden ticket of food handler’s certifications, sort of like when someone is given a key to the city.
  5. And finally, I started creating a PJP app on ibuildapp.com…only to discover that I have no idea if anyone would actually use a PJP app and that the idea of it sounds much more glamorous than the reality of it.  So now we know.