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. 🙂