a farewell (of sorts) and an end to an era

June 15, 2020 |  Category:   life the biz

Hello blog readers, customers, and long-time friends and supporters of our business. It’s been over a year since I wrote anything in this space, but the timing is right to put some words down now. After some consideration over the past few months during quarantine, Mark and I have decided to close down Whimsy & Spice after 12 years.

As you can imagine, this decision was made with heavy hearts, but we believe this is the right one for our family as we move into the new reality of our post Covid-19 world. Although the virus was not the main catalyst of this decision, the mandatory closing down of non-essential businesses here in NYC the past few months magnified the challenges of operating a small business in today’s world and it seemed clear that maintaining any kind of profitability would be exceedingly difficult considering the uncertain future of the food and event industry overall. Along with the increased costs of operating a food business, new FDA regulations, and changes in the retail and food landscape over the past few years, it has been increasingly challenging to sustain the business for us. Some of our biggest wholesale accounts shut their doors over the past few years (often leaving vendors like us with outstanding, unpaid invoices) and the pressure to succumb to the new normal of free shipping expectations (which we tried for a few months on one of our e-commerce platforms) meant shrinking margins year over year. On a personal note, Mark and I are also 12 years older and the physical toll of operating the business for Mark was beginning to show signs.

It’s easy to place fault entirely on the external forces beyond our control that challenged our business the past few years, but I do also have to acknowledge that we can’t help but feel a bit of failure if we’re being truly honest. Isn’t it our responsibility as business owners to accept the challenge of innovating, adapting, and staying one step ahead of trends and competitors? The answer is yes, and we have accomplished that to a degree throughout our 12 year history. But to really truly grow means to take on debt and risk by making big moves in this industry and we feel like we don’t have the energy to move the business forward in that direction. Mark and I never had huge ambitions to grow big when we started in 2008, and that, perhaps, was ultimately what held us back. At the end of the day, what was important to us was making our customers happy with our cookies. To that end, we have no regrets as we fully believe we fulfilled that mission. Your emails, reviews, feedback, and immediate reactions of delight when we were able to interact with you in-person at markets and events are a testament to that. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters, and it’s what will be remembered.

Lastly, we want to thank you, our customers and our fellow small biz community, for supporting us throughout the years—particularly those who stuck with us and returned with repeat orders year after year since day one. We will always cherish the memories of those early years when we documented our daily lives right here on this blog and built a community of readers who cheered us on with every win from the very beginning (I get huge pangs of nostalgia when I look at that photo above of Mark and the kids at one of the Brooklyn Flea/Smorgasburg markets). It’s still crazy to think that over 5,000 of you visited this blog daily back in those days. Those were really special times for us when our business hit milestone after milestone, and you were there to share them with us. But I will also never forget when you were all there to support me during my darkest personal hour. We’ve been through a lot dear friends, together, over the past 12 years.

Although I don’t intend to completely ride off into the sunset from social media, I’ve pulled back a lot and I’ve been enjoying the change of being quiet online. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep these blog archives up, but our social media accounts will now become my personal accounts and while I don’t plan on posting with as much regularity as I have been, I look forward to sharing and engaging with you on Twitter and Instagram. Please stay safe and healthy during this strangest of times, and I will see you around. 🙂

You Might Also Like

35 Comments

  • Reply Sarah June 16, 2020 at 12:53 am

    Oh Jenna, I’m both happy for your new opportunities and so sad to say goodbye to this space. Back in the heyday of blogging I remember cherishing each of your posts. I still picture the girls the ages they are in this photo.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughtful words with your readers all of these years. Having never visited New York until last year I always loved living vicariously through your posts about the city. And was so grateful when I reached out last summer via instagram before my trip that you took the time to give some advice and recommendations for my visit.
    I hope the next adventures for you and the family are fulfilling and exciting! I look forward to following along in bits and pieces that you share via social media.
    Congrats on 12 years of success!

  • Reply Carrie June 16, 2020 at 11:36 am

    Thank you for sharing Jenna. while I am sorry to see your business close I am happy that your family is making a choice that is good for your collective wellbeing. I look forward to engaging on Instagram. I always love chatting with you ??.. All the best moving on.
    Carrie

  • Reply Annie June 16, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    What a ride you’ve had. To make it 12 years in such a volatile industry is impressive.
    I have always been so impressed by what you do. You put out constantly outstanding product and cared deeply for each of your customers – if that’s not success, i don’t know what it is.
    I cannot wait to see what you do next.

  • Reply Alenka June 16, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    I loved yours NY … you were my window to the Big ? and I wish you everything good and exciting in this new chapter??

  • Reply willgoh2 June 16, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    It has been such a pleasure following you here and on IG. I started following you here as a first time mom, and your thoughtful, crafted words about parenting, being a working mom drew me in. I felt you were able to say the things I felt but could never seem to find the words for. I’ve enjoyed seeing your artistic work on IG, as well. There is so much happening around us. Sometimes it feels so overwhelming and burdening. I don’t know about you, but as that swirls around me daily, I look at my now teen, and I ponder how quickly the years have swept by. With all of life’s challenges, it feels like we have to find ways in which to make what is left of our time that much more meaningful and purposeful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Vivian Chong June 16, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing your life with us the past 12 years! I first discovered your blog when I started grad school in 2008 and found comfort and inspiration in your words. When I was getting married I knew exactly what I wanted as favors – your delicious cookies! Your life has been a constant in my life the past decade and I can’t thank enough. Wishing you all the best in your future endeavors!
    With much love,
    Vivian

    • Reply Alison June 17, 2020 at 1:22 am

      Jenna, I just wanted to leave a small note to say how much I’ve enjoyed reading your blog over many years (and also escaping through your photography to the wonderful places you visit)- your words and your thoughts have resonated with me deeply, including those on parenting, finding yourself after children, and dealing with grief and loss. I’ll really miss seeing your work virtually, but do wish you the best for the next stage in your life.
      Arohanui from New Zealand, Alison

  • Reply Mary June 16, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    Jenna, I have followed you for 10+ years. Thank you for your honesty, your eloquence, your delicious cookies and beautiful calendars.

    I wish you and your family happiness, health and security in your next chapter. You and your husband amazingly talented – writer, baker, photographer, artists, parents. Nothing but awe for you both.

  • Reply Sherry June 16, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Hoping for the best to come from this ending and your new beginning to the next adventure.

  • Reply Emily Desai June 16, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Jenna – Thank you!! Thanks to Mark and the girls for being open and sharing your life with us. The ups and downs, the tears and laughs and deep thinking – they are all so very appreciated. You never talk down to us or sugar-coat things (despite your business- ha!), and it feels like we are all on this journey with you guys. My son is almost the same exact age as C and I have been following you since they were toddlers. Also being a working mom in the creative fields (deciding how to balance freelance, agency like, mom-ing, marriage, etc.), I so appreciate the way that you share just where you are – why it is working (or not) and your honesty about not being sure *exactly* what comes next. I thank you for keeping your work and words here strong (not monetizing the space, when you easily could have) so that it feels honest and accessible. I look forward to what is next for you all! Please don’t be too much of a stranger 😉 Hugs from the west coast!

  • Reply Melissa@Julia's Bookbag June 16, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Dear Jenna – I want you to know that I’m writing this with tears in my eyes. Aaaand the tears are no longer just in my eyes. I remember first reading about you on Apartment Therapy. I’ve so enjoyed your voice and your photos over the years, and it has given me such joy to gift Whimsy & Spice cookies to my husband over the years. He shuns most desserts, but truly adore cookies, especially ones that pair well with tea. Your honesty on this blog has really been unlike anything else I’ve personally seen in the blogging community. And your photos! Aaaaaah I just want you to know that you have meaningfully impacted my online life. Thanks so much for sharing your gifts, and please thank Mark for his talents. So many good wishes and positive vibes coming to you guys from my end. XO

  • Reply Stéphanie June 16, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    Chère Jenna,
    Je me permets d’écrire en français. J’ai découvert votre blog il y a un certain nombre d’années maintenant, 7 ou 8, je ne sais plus. Je vous ai suivie de loin en loin, depuis Bruxelles. J’ai apprécié chaque ligne de vos textes. Vos posts sur le blog m’ont beaucoup touchée. Une petite fenêtre sur une famille, finalement pas si éloignée de la mienne, de l’autre côté de l’Atlantique. La découverte d’un pays que je ne connais pas sous un autre angle que celui montré dans les médias classiques. J’ai trouvé ça précieux. Whimsy et Spice m’a aussi fait saliver et j’ai souvent regretté que les livraisons ne soient pas possibles vers chez nous, le chocolat chaud, les biscottis et les guimauves me faisaient rêver ;-). Toutes vos photos sont d’ailleurs magnifiques. La crise du covid 19 remet beaucoup de choses en question. Espérons qu’il en sortira de nombreuses choses positives. Merci encore pour le temps agréable passé avec vous et bonne continuation.

  • Reply Camille June 16, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    Thx for sharing your journey all those years and the best of luck for you and your family. I had hopes to make it to NY in time to buy some of your products you didn´t ship international.
    Well, be sure there´s a print of yours in my kitchen in far away northern Germany and the tin once containing a hot chocolate mix (now filled with Earl Grey on its own) will survive many a de-cluttering.
    All the best!
    Camille

  • Reply Lynn B June 16, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    Wishing you and your family good health and sweet moments of joy in the days ahead. Congrats on 12 years! I second what has been said above, you brought such grace and authenticity to your blog and I have so appreciated it over the years. I also so enjoyed your project that explored families that joined different cultures together. Read every one. Thankyou.

  • Reply Lulu June 16, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    I am very thankful that you always share your journey with us. I still am a fan of blogs and will continue coming here to check on your guys. I wish you guys all the best!!

  • Reply Myla June 16, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    Jenna – I will miss your blog but will definitely continue to follow your IG account. My daughters are about the same age as yours. When I was a relatively new parent, I found your blog. It was such source of comfort to see the struggles and joys of motherhood through your perspective. Good luck in your next ventures…

  • Reply Jacqui June 16, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    They were happy moments indeed, back in the days of blogland & your voice was always so thoughtful, so considered, so real for this mum. Back in the day I was at home with 2 toddlers and your tales of Broooklyn/NYC & your evocative photos were a kind of escapism for me. Australia is a long way for a cookie to travel so I never got to try your wonderful biscuits, my regret! Such a tough decision to close a business but I hope that the future shines brightly on you and your family and that new opportunities excite you.
    Thanks so much for all you’ve shared, best wishes
    X Jacqui

  • Reply Marlena June 16, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    Best as you transition. Twelve years is a long time for any business. Congratulations on all you accomplished.

  • Reply SooYoung Choi June 16, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    Jenna,

    Well done! Twelve years is nothing to laugh at. You and your family accomplished what most people want which is doing what you love and making a living of it.

    I am excited for you and Mark as you discover your next chapter. You’ll kill it, like you always do.

    Be well!

    SyC

  • Reply Karyn June 16, 2020 at 9:10 pm

    Just today, as my daughter and I were scooping cookie dough, I was recalling Mark’s inhuman cookie dough scooping speed skills! I am sad to see the closing of the business, but am thankful to have been introduced to your blog years ago. Thank you for this bright spot. Best of luck to you all in your next adventures!

  • Reply Amy June 16, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    I was lucky to have been able to sample your delicacies even though I’m in Hong Kong because my friend from US has brought them all the way here. I’ll particularly miss the earl grey chocolate!

    Warmest wishes from afar. Take care!!!!

  • Reply Jen June 16, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    I’ll chime in. I found you when I had my first kid and was figuring out freelancing and insurance and came across a post. I’ve enjoyed seeing your posts over the years and buying cookies for my corporate clients. All the best, from a supporter.

  • Reply Catherine Mangosing June 16, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    You guys were such a part of my life in Brooklyn. I felt the pang of nostalgia when I saw your photo too. What you guys did was special and full of heart. You should be very proud of it. I wish we still lived in the same neighbourhood. ??

  • Reply Tomoko June 16, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Dear Jenna, there are so many things – unexpected acquaintances, your beautiful designs and images, your lovely family adventures, and obviously the delicious cookies – and I’m so sad to learn of this news but as we all know, life is so challenging and we have to choose our path with intent. And so I wish you and your family the best and look forward to still seeing some glimpses of what you come across. Best of luck to you all!

  • Reply Yvonne June 17, 2020 at 12:03 am

    I see no failure here. You kept things running for 12 years, what a feat! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us along the way. All the best for whatever comes next.

  • Reply Hannah June 17, 2020 at 6:47 am

    I second what others have said – running a business for 12 years is a phenomenal achievement. You clearly put SO much care and hard work into it, and I’m sure that’s why you had so many loyal customers. I’m in London and always dreamed of being able to visit NYC and taste those marshmallows and cookies! I hope that there are good things in store for you all in this next chapter.

  • Reply Nora June 17, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Hi Jenna, I have followed your blog for the last number of years and really enjoyed your writing and photography, I wish you and your lovely family all the best for the future and will be following along on Instagram, take and keep well, Nora, Ireland.

  • Reply Tej June 17, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    I live in the UK and I have read your blog for years and it has been in my top 5 ever since I first discovered it. You are a fantastic writer and photographer, it would be a shame if you were to give it up all together. Good luck and good health to you and your family and please continue to keep us posted whenever you can. Even though I don’t know you, I feel like I am losing a friend 🙁

  • Reply Dee June 18, 2020 at 7:07 am

    Oh Jenna,
    I’m sad. But I understand. I happened upon your blog from Apartment Therapy. I was home with my then infant son. He’s about the same age as your youngest or a year younger. I’ve followed you ever since and so enjoyed all that you have shared. I missed reading your frequent blog posts. But I know things change, life moves on. I’m so sorry that Covid has been the final catalyst for you and Mark to shutter your doors. It’s sad and unfair what it’s done to our world. But I hope all goes well for you for your future. Such a talented duo you both are. Thank you so much for your candor in sharing with all of us. I’ll miss Sweet Fine Day. Blessings to you and your family.
    Dee

  • Reply Gretchen June 18, 2020 at 7:57 am

    Good luck to you and your family. I’ve enjoyed our blog over the years. <3 Gretchen

  • Reply Susan Kahn June 18, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    Jenna and Mark, As a fellow cookie company owner, I completely understand your situation but at the same time, I am truly saddened to read this blog post.
    I have been following you and your business from the very beginning and my son and I even took a long trip to Brooklyn many years ago to go to the Brooklyn Flea just to see your beautiful cookies!
    Your beautiful girls have grown so much and so beautifully! I hope you and Mark will enjoy these quieter less hectic times. Change is a good thing and I wish you and your family all the best.

  • Reply Shirley June 18, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about the end of this chapter in your life. Your strong, yet sensitive spirit is evident in everything you do. From running a business, to compelling writing, to imaginative photos, plus a bit of “Katch” in between … I hope we haven’t seen the last of you. Your talents are too vast NOT to share with others! Take some time for yourself, be well and hope to see you in life’s next chapter soon!

  • Reply Kaho June 22, 2020 at 12:18 am

    I second everything Shirley wrote. Your talents are too vast not to share with the world! When we visited Brooklyn in 2010 before moving abroad for my husband’s overseas assignment, I went to the Brooklyn Flea to look for you and your beautiful cookies. Unfortunately, on that weekend you happened to not be there. I’ve never got to taste your lovely baked goods, but I have always admired them through your gorgeous photography. I love your writing. I do hope that you will keep this blog, but if your decision is to not update it, I totally understand. I look forward to engaging with you on Twitter and Instagram.

  • Reply BW June 24, 2020 at 9:58 pm

    I’m from Southeast Asia and have been following your cozy blog for years. I loved reading the girls’ adventures as they grew up. Though I’ve never had the chance to taste your baked goods, an ex boyfriend used to study in NYC and I ordered your baked goods for him as a way of supporting your blog and biz. He really enjoyed them. Best wishes to you and the family for the next adventure 🙂

  • Reply Photo Cache June 29, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    It’s been a pleasure reading your blog and enjoying your photos all these years. Godspeed!

  • Leave a Comment

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    FACEBOOK TWITTER INSTAGRAM PINTEREST BLOGLOVIN