October 20, 2014 By Natalie
It’s one of those things that seems like it started just yesterday and at the same time it feels like I’ve been doing it forever. But as of this past weekend, it is officially over for this little family of mine.
Back in the summer of 2012, I let you guys know my big news. We had bought a bakery! It was an exciting and scary time and my husband and I were the first to admit that we had no clue what we were doing!
We are not business owners by nature, and didn’t really have any significant experience being bosses either. To say those first 6 months were a challenge is putting it mildly. The purchase of the bakery happened so quickly (about 2.5 weeks!), that I felt like I hit the ground running and never really had a chance to catch my breath. The holidays hit, restaurants were calling for wholesale orders, I found out I was The World’s Worst Interviewer, and then we decided to move locations which involved a complete renovation of the new space.
There were nights it was bad. I mean ugly sobbing where I felt like I was ruining our lives.
You know what, though. There were also lots of nights where it was good. Nights I was coming home with a good sales report, lots of new orders and tales of happy customers. Tales of Happy Customers has been my favorite part!
Just last night after locking the doors for our final day, I received this email from one of my customers.
“Just wanted you to know what a pleasure it was getting to know you & being able to enjoy your awesome talents as a baker! You & your staff were always very friendly & professional. It was always a joy coming in to your bakery! You were a part of a lot of good family memories. Just so you know, you set the standard to which all others bakeries will be judged. Wishing you all the best! You will be missed!”
This right here is what made it all worth it. And there were so many of these types of emails and messages once I announced we were closing. And they were appreciated and heart-warming, but I’ll be honest. They didn’t for one second make me re-think our decision.
My husband and I knew this was right for us. Yes, owning a bakery was a dream of mine, but I don’t at all feel like I am letting go of a dream like so many people have mentioned. How could I feel like that?? The dream was to own a bakery, and WE DID!! I never had any qualifications I tacked onto that. It was never, “I want to own a bakery for 5 years” or “I want to own a bakery for 20 years”. Simply, it would be a dream to own a bakery.
We did, and it lasted 2.5 years for us. That was enough time for us to get past that initial 6-month crap period. Enough time to come out of the first year and start turning a profit. Enough time to end our 2nd year with a really good production flow, good rapport with employees, a loyal and steady customer base, an ever-growing list of wholesale customers and a busy enough schedule that we have turned orders away almost every weekend for the past 2 months because we are just too busy.
It was enough time for us to know this wasn’t where we saw ourselves in the future.
There is nothing sad about realizing that! In fact, I feel immensely blessed that we are able to look at this rationally, and that my husband and I are both on the same page at the same time! We are in full agreement that this is THE BEST decision for our family!
Since we announced our decision almost 2 months ago, everybody wants to know why. Many keep coming in and asking if business just wasn’t good enough. Honestly, it truly wasn’t the reason. Did we have slow days? Abso-freakin-lutely. There were days that were so slow that I’d come home frustrated and grumpy and wondering why we were doing this. But you know what? They were almost always followed by days that were crazy busy where I’d come home giddy and excited and raving that our shop was the hit of the town that day.
And that my friends is retail. The highs the lows and the mood swings that follow. In the end, our pendulum swung high and who doesn’t want to go out on a peak?
The real reason that we decided to close is because I have the option to. I have this little blog here that is a pretty awesome opportunity. When I first opened the bakery, it was very manageable to do both. In the past year, however, the blog has grown so much that I just cannot divide my attention any more. I’ve been trying to and, in the end, my family comes out suffering. It was time to make a decision and only have one business, and the blog is what my husband and I chose.
It’s more enjoyable, more lucrative and a better schedule for my family. It was a fairly easy decision. Perhaps it would have been more bittersweet if there were pros and cons for each column, but there just weren’t. When I think about how I want to spend my days, how I am able to better financially contribute to my family and which job allows me to be a better wife and mother time-wise, every single answer pointed towards closing the bakery and blogging full-time.
And I’m happy. So, so happy!!