Year 3

March 13, 2010 |  Category:   life the biz


We were sitting on the couch one night last month when Mark absentmindedly said, “this is the day I got laid off”.

Neither of us commented on it and we said nothing afterwards, but just sort of acknowledged it with a little nod.
Needless to say, it was a very serendipitous day, even if it initially felt like a punch in the stomach. That new job wasn’t as flexible as Mark’s old job and it had created stressful chasms in our patchwork strategy of childcare. As much as the new job seemed doomed from the very beginning due to unforeseen circumstances that happened to the company that was beyond anyone’s control, if we are really honest with ourselves, trying to mold this new schedule into our lives was probably part of the problem. That was a lesson learned.

That day seems like forever ago but it’s really only been 2 years. This also means we’re moving into year 3 of the business which is really sort of mind blowing on its own. Statistics say that 90% of new businesses fail within the first 5 years (really?), so I feel like another year down just puts another notch in our belt as we try and survive that abysmal stat.

I haven’t really talked about the business much lately because it’s trotting along just fine. Retail sales have slowed down since Valentine’s (which is to be expected), but wholesale has been really busy with more requests from new stores. Lots of wedding interest too. But with my freelance gone crazy, I haven’t put much time into the business except for the everyday tasks that need to get done and maybe this is why I’m feeling like things are a bit stale. That isn’t to say that things aren’t happening, but there are updated linesheets to make, wedding favor brochures to design, labels and packaging for spice mixtures to figure out (could year 3 be the year we finally introduce our spice mixtures?). In the beginning of the year I was resigned to work being slower so I could focus on W&S business and really develop some new things. We had some money saved from a gangbuster holiday season of orders and an unexpected busy month of freelance work in December. But sometimes opportunities come up and you have to grab them and run. Even though this particular gig is exactly the kind of work I was trying to run away, oddly, this feels right too. It must be part of the larger plan.

We’re still trying to figure out where this business is eventually heading, but it takes a lot of time and effort to keep things fresh and these days we are just keeping afloat. We’re not the new kids in the Brooklyn food scene anymore and I think that is the challenge as we move into year 3. It’s the challenge for any business really, in a world where people are constantly seeking out the new and undiscovered. To stay relevant, right?

btw, these are chocolate cookie encrusted profiteroles that Mark fills right there on the spot. Usually with a passionfruit filling. He sometimes brings these to the Flea.

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  • Margarita March 13, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Congratulations. I think you should really give yourself more credit, you guys are doing amazingly well, you have found a niche all your own and you’re just getting better and better. In this kind of business, I found corporate orders and wedding orders really push the business into the next level, but weddings especially are seasonal. I hope you do very well into your third year!

  • Caddy March 14, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Congratulations on year 3!!!! *blows a part horn* 😀

    I was intrigued by the profiteroles the moment I saw them, your description just makes me want to try them even more.

  • Claudia March 14, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Jenna and Mark, congrats for W&S year 3!!! I imagine that it´s really not easy to hold an own business all these years, with all the ups and downs and at the same time taking care of 2 little girls. But in the end I also imagine that all the efforts compensate. I had the opportunity to taste W&S products when you sent to me here in Brazil by mail last year (remember?) and all people in my house and friends enjoyed so much. I don´t have doubts that W&S would be a outstanding brand in São Paulo city. If I could be a “franchising” of W&S here, I know that I would be very successful! 🙂

  • A Merry Mishap March 15, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Looks delicious. I love reading your posts. I don’t always purpose to read the whole thing but once I get started I find myself so sucked into what you’re saying that I don’t even realized I’ve just read 3 posts in a row! Thank you!

  • jennifer March 17, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Time flies! I tried one at the flea…delightful.