shop news

January 5, 2012 |  Category:   the biz

Another year…and 2012 will be our 5th year in business. What was that about businesses having a better statistic of surviving every year that it stays in business? Let’s hope so. I was reading the year end tally of businesses that have closed around our neighborhood, mostly restaurants which I guess is not surprising, and it was a depressingly long list. The majority of business owners stated that they simply couldn’t afford the rent increase. Any way you spin it, it’s sad to think about people losing something they worked hard to build. Likewise, a few more of my friends – not brick and mortar stores – decided to close up their businesses last year as well. Makes you think about your own current affairs and why we decide to push on.

 
Maybe you’ve noticed (or maybe you haven’t since we did it quietly), but we increased the prices of our products when we restocked after the holidays. It’s a modest 50 cent increase on most packages and the first price increase since we started in 2008. After 4 years we decided it was time (any maybe overdue). The price of ingredients, particularly butter, have increased each year, yet we just absorbed it rather than passing it on to our customers. Our kitchen rent last year has impacted our numbers as well in a big way. When I really look at the books, it’s a bit disheartening to see how much we actually get to keep as small business owners, after our expenses are paid off. Food businesses have it the worst, I think, and it just seems to get tougher. It makes me think that our goal of having the business support us in full is harder to achieve than I thought unless we make some big moves. It makes it that much hard to quit designing, not when the earning potential and the lack of any real expenses make it so much more profitable. That reality is settling in, but our method of operation has always been slow and steady and while it isn’t really taking us anywhere extraordinary, we are still here…and profitable.

 

2 other bits of news: There’s a new store in South Williamsburg at 110 Broadway called Gourmet Guild that is carrying our products. The store focuses on local and regional products and has a different arrangement with their vendors than normal wholesale. As a result, we are able to sell some products in the store that aren’t available in other retail outlets such as our Earl Grey Sandwich Cookies (fresh delivery made today!), our calendars, prints and tea towels. We may also be bringing in the Classic Sampler Gift Boxes which many people have asked about in stores, so go check it out and support our local businesses and purveyors.
 
Also for this weekend, Mark is joining a bunch of other local small businesses in an Artisan Market hosted by Williams Sonoma Columbus Circle from 12-4 this Saturday, January 7th (yeah yeah, I realize the irony in posting this right in the same post about supporting the small guy. SIGH)

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  • unha January 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    no matter the irony. big yay. yay for the 5th year. yay for surviving. yay for bigger coverage, yay for slowly expanding, while making profits. 2012 will rock.
    xoxo

  • Misha January 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Great news! So neat to see you guys growing. SUPER bummed that I was a complete dunderhead and missed you at the flea :((

  • Jess January 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I know here in Australia ingredients have gone up in price too. I notice it at the check-out! One can’t expect businesses to constantly absorb the increases forever. Your not a charity. I’m sure it isn’t an easy decision though (or maybe it is when you look over the books) to up the prices but you certainly are doing it minimally by the sounds. Wishing you a successful business year in 2012.

  • Katie January 5, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Lovely shot of the ice cream!

  • Mary's Pastry Lab January 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    i’m just about to embark on my own food business this summer. thanks for the heads-up on the business landscape. i shall brush up more on my strategy 🙂 and yay for 5 years! your daughters are lucky girls who get to eat fresh pastries!

  • Katherines Corner January 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    congrats! wishing you happiness and continued success. Hugs!

  • jen January 6, 2012 at 1:16 am

    a big congrats! that is a milestone to celebrate 🙂

  • cyndi January 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Your earl grey cookies are incredible!

  • rebeccaNYC January 6, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    a friend of mine who makes biscotti and other italian treats at the holidays dramatically increased her prices this year for the same reasons. we have yet to see how that worked out in the end for her…it had to be done, you can’t give this stuff away, you know! Hope I get a chance to drop by Columbus Circle on Saturday…now you’re in MY ‘hood!

  • Chantale January 7, 2012 at 8:02 am

    5th year anniversary, that really is a mark of survival! I agree with Unha, onwards and upwards! I’ve also been enjoying your photography from previous posts and especially love the ones midtown.. Your girls are so lovely.. Happy New Year Jenna!

  • Jasmine January 8, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Congratulations, Jenna! It’s been so nice to follow the growth of your business through your blog. I can’t wait for my next order of those espresso brownies, so good!

  • Lotte Søborg January 8, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Enjoy reading your blog here from the other side of the world (Stockholm). Admire your work with the business, and think your girls are lucky, not because of the sweets, but because you by example show that you can do things by yourself and hard work. But an idea, can’t you make aversion of your conversion poster that really “converts”! To metric/european measurements. I read all these fantastic american recipes and always have to look up what 1 cup is in decilitrer, ounze in grams and so on. A stick of butter?

  • Sara January 8, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Hey Jenna. Don’t fret, things will get better… just keep going!
    Have you guys thought of doing wedding cakes, desserts? The wedding industry keeps strong!

  • janet January 9, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Your perseverance and integrity is admirable. Congrats on making it this far with your small business! I really enjoy reading your story.

  • Anna January 9, 2012 at 1:51 am

    I go with Lotte Søborg! Please make a conversion poster for us Europeans !!

  • Katherines Corner January 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Oh my goodness, these are awesome!!!!!! xo

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