This Year’s Valentines, and looking ahead

January 23, 2015 |  Category:   the biz







I always look forward to the reappearance of these sunny Rosemary Meyer Lemon sandwich cookies at Valentine’s Day. It’s easy to forget that citrus is a winter fruit, but this is a good thing, right? When we need the sunniness of citrus the most. We also brought back the Pink Peppercorn Red Currant Linzer Cookies from years ago. But the real story here is that I had some fun styling the cookies and hot chocolate over the course of 2 days.


I don’t love food styling. Sometimes I don’t have the patience for it (or a well endowed prop closet which really helps) and taking photos always takes a lot longer than you think, but recently I’ve taken on the task of food styling like it’s my job because…well, I suppose it is part of my job. I still have a lot to learn and improve on, but this is all related to brainstorming what we need to do in the years ahead for the business. Because so much of social media right now is image driven, great photos are critical.
We’re still wrapping up paperwork from last year so we haven’t completely assessed how we did for 2014. I know it was a bit of a lost year for obvious reasons, and I’m grateful that we could even afford the time to drift away like that. All part of the healing process, I suppose. But for the first time in all these years in business, I feel the pressure to think beyond what we’ve been doing and actually look ahead rather than just keep up. We’ve sacrificed growth for profit and that’s how we’ve been operating since Day 1. It’s actually worked well for us, but it’s not sustainable. Changes in retail, fluctuating food trends, and technology shifts business in ways that we can’t even predict sometimes. How you weather and adapt to these shifts in the industry is what will make or break your future. It’s good that I’ve been thinking about it so much these past few weeks; it means I’m thinking business. It’s not necessarily comfortable to think about, but anything involving growth rarely is.
Now available in our shop: A Little Box of Valentine’s Day Cookies | Earl Grey Hot Chocolate & Rose Vanilla Marshmallow Hearts | Spiced Chile Hot Chocolate & Coconut Marshmallow Hearts. Order deadline is February 5th.

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  • Sarah January 23, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    For what it’s worth… I’ve always thought your food styling was excellent 🙂

    • Jenna January 26, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      thanks Sarah! I do cringe at some of those early photos though!

  • Chris January 23, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Looks very yummy. Too bad I live in Vancouver BC.

  • Monica Stolbach January 24, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I think your food styling is beautiful! It looks like something featured on Food52. You should tag #food52grams on Instagram and maybe they’ll repost.

    • Jenna January 26, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      Thanks Monica. I do tag them when I remember to 🙂

  • JeanneW January 26, 2015 at 1:55 am

    It’s good to hear you’re revaluating the business. Never fun but always important. Here’s to a better 2015.

  • Rose January 26, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Would you consider writing a book one day? If you would, what genre of books would you write? Would it be self-help, journal or fiction? I would love to read it from cover to cover 🙂

    • Jenna January 26, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      I would and I have (even had meetings about it with an agent and publisher). Not sure where a book fits in right now though. They are huge time commitments. 

  • EvaLottta January 26, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    I love your food photography, Jenna, and your New York photos, you are an amazing photographer.

    I saw this phrase recently “Change before you have to” and have been thinking about it a lot, think this is what you are also writing about in this post.
    Hope final tally for 2014 is very good!

    • Jenna January 26, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      Yes. I think about that phrase too, and have applied that thinking to my personal career aside from our business.

  • Jane January 28, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    I love what you’ve written, as always. This thinking ahead is sometimes incredibly difficult when you’re in the moment and trying to make ends meet (personally, as well as in business, I think). Whatever you do I can only think it will be creative and well-thought out. Your photography (and food styling!) is stunning and I second the vote for you to write/photograph a book.