some things come, and some things go

December 1, 2008 |  Category:   the biz

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There are inevitably moments in business when you face difficult decisions. We feel like we had one of those moments today when we had to turn down an amazing opportunity because it was too short a notice and we were too small an operation. The kind of opportunity that seems crazy to turn down given all the players and money involved, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. True, we seem to have an uncanny ability to function without much sleep, but we do need to get some sleep after all. I’m trying not to dwell on it and instead, focus on the work we do have, but the decision is still haunting me. And so the question of the hour is, how to you grow gracefully and smartly? When do you acknowledge that it is, indeed, time?

(oh and the possible Martha Stewart appearance? Pushed back again to early next year. patience patience, we shall see).

Update: Still dwelling. And now I am dreaming of our own kitchen space. I know I know, too fast too soon, but it sometimes feels like even though Mark is working night and day (when he isn’t with the girls), it isn’t enough. The biz is not an easy way to make a living – food never is.

New update: I think we are crazy. The big corporate gift order is back, but it is a bit smaller, so we decided to go for it. Are we crazy? Yes, yes we are. Who needs sleep anyway.

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  • joni December 1, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    i am so, so happy for you. it sounds like your business is growing by leaps and bounds. it sounds like you already are growing gracefully – by saying no when you must say no and thinking ahead to the point where you will be able to say yes. it sounds like your current business model is really good for you. i actually wish that you don’t grow too fast and try to become the next mrs. fields. there’s a charm and real attraction to the idea of a family making food and selling it in such a professional manner. i feel like the food has a real story and part of eating your food is also supporting your family and seeing your girls grow up among entrepreneurs. however, since businesses cannot stay static, it sounds like the next move may be moving into a commercial kitchen and boosting up capacity. good luck!

  • joni December 1, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    i just realize i started every sentence with “it sounds.” my bad. anyway, i think you should continue gaining word of mouth and market awareness by securing steady clients. keep growing!

  • Jenna December 1, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    thanks Joni,
    lol, I don’t think we’ll become the next Mrs. Fields, nor do we want to. One correction, which I edited in your comment, we already bake out of a commercial kitchen, but I guess the next (big!) step is having our own.

  • kitty December 2, 2008 at 12:57 am

    There will be other opportunities, with better timing.

  • Alicia December 2, 2008 at 11:23 am

    You best have your own kitchen if you’re going to be on Martha Stewart!!! Can’t imagine the volume you’d get after that. Congrats, though, you guys are doing such an amazing job. It’s so interesting to watch your business grow and grow.

  • Jenna December 2, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    I’m not sure how much volume you experience after a television appearance. Even after the Daily Candy rush, things died down back to normal levels (hell, some weeks in the summer were downright slow). It brings you opportunities but I find that these big press pushes aren’t necessarily the thing that “makes” the business. It’s more accumulative, and it comes in waves. The challenge is to sustain the level of press exposure so you’re always visible. Not always easy!

  • unha December 2, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    go go go. i’ll sleep for you. 🙂 if you need extra hands one of the evenings, let me know.

  • paige December 2, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    I’m excited for you guys and look forward to seeing how it all plays out. We struggle with the same issues…learning how to grow and do more without losing the things that are special about your business (quality, family-run, love/joy included in each batch/bag.) It’s always a delicate balance and your sanity walks the thin line as hours get longer and you’re wearing all the hats….but it’s always worth it in the end. Congrats on the new opportunities! Those marshmallows are outstaaanding.

  • rifferaff December 2, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    i don’t know how to answer your question about growing gracefully and smartly, but you guys seem to be doing a pretty good job so far. i’m glad you took the corporate order because i’m interested to see how you’ll handle it (maybe at the end you can reveal who the mystery client is). your blog and biz are an inspiration. i always like reading what you’re up to.

  • Jeanie December 2, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    Hey Jenna — can I just say that is is AWESOME that your business has been taking off like this…I know you guys are killing yourselves (and I know how hard it is to go without the sleep!), but it sounds like you two are handling everything with grace! Just checking in to say congrats and there will be a break sometime in the future…

  • Joyce December 2, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Jenna-

    I’m glad that things are moving in the right direction. I asked The Backdrop to put some of your goodies aside for me to give out for gifts. I know the next sentence doesn’t help you…. but if I was closer I would jump in to help out. I have done this before. Try to hang in there the next couple of weeks will be long and probably some sleepless nights, but in time you head will hit the pillow.

  • joni December 3, 2008 at 1:14 am

    i’m glad now that you guys decided to go for it. sometimes you tread carefully, sometimes you dive in to see if it’s shallow water or deep water. i’m glad you guys just decided that it’s too big to pass and it may not come again. tells us all about the order while you’re preparing it!

  • jennifer December 3, 2008 at 10:42 am

    congrats on everything…hang in there!

  • Jackie December 9, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    I’m so excited to hear about things moving along so well! Even if there isn’t time to complete that big order, how cool is it that they asked? Sounds like word is getting around.

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