Sometime in the past 6 months – maybe a year – I read a proverb that left an impression on me. “The work will show you how to do it.” I want to cite it as Swedish, but for all I know it could have been Jewish, Confucius, or Vulcan. Since day one – 01December2014 – this has rung true with finding more efficient ways to work in my bakery, offering my products, et cetera. Every time I come away saying “Hmm, well, that was interesting – good, I’ve learned something new!”
Over the past few weeks my work has started showing me about itself in Dollars & Sense. Before the company started I figured I would sell both wholesale and retail – selling through stores would provide a steady income for my business while I would offer my products for retail direct as I found interested customers. During these past four months the ‘retail direct’ thing hasn’t happened much. When it has it’s been nice to get that extra income for my company, and frankly my business needs more of it.
To me a lot of people have a bizarre sense of ‘success’. Like with my music – after playing a 4 day long music festival I would get asked how successful the weekend had been. I’d say I played my music, I met a lot of people, I made them laugh, folks signed up on my mailing list, and I made new prospective contacts – in all, I had a good time. Then I would often receive a follow-up or clarification question about how much money I made, how many CDs I sold, and by that if the weekend had been ‘good’ or ‘bad’ AKA ‘successful’. Here’s my truth about these things – yes, if I go play music for four days straight I need that weekend to adequately pay off, but more than that I need it to be satisfying … or what was the point?
Since first hanging out my shingle that WIBC is open for business I’ve had a lot of satisfaction. The company has donated multiple times to a soup kitchen, I have met & had the pleasure of talking with a lot of great people, my business has expanded, I’ve laughed at my mistakes and laughed with people, I’ve sung at the top of my lungs late at night in an empty bakery while preparing dough, I’ve established a brand & a business and I’ve done it my way.
It’s all a great start, and depending on certain numbers I look at I’ve gotten to a better spot in four months than some companies do by two and three years.
Yet there’s the rub – the numbers creep back in … I may be in this business for a lot of things that aren’t typically considered in “proper business” – I’m in this for the happiness, I’m in this for the love, but I also have to have this adequately pay off, and right now it really isn’t. The ‘Money Thing’ isn’t working for me – and, paraphrasing from a famous prayer, I need to have the wisdom and courage to change what I can.
These past weeks I have been experimenting with products that keep in the same character of quality as my biscotti and yet will be more efficient to make – I may have the first of these to market as soon as next week. I have been given the idea of selling at conventions, festivals, and events – I’ve looked into this idea and I quite like the prospect. This past week or so this has grown into the idea of doing something I had resisted – selling at farmers markets.
The more I look at farmers markets, the more I think this is the way to go for WIBC – and perhaps has been all along, only that I have been obstinate … and it’s been the off season. Farmers markets – at least as I’ve seen them – present people who craft and believe in their products, often with colour and flair, that you don’t usually get from some mass brand name good that you can flip over and read “Made In Somewhere”. What part of ‘craft and believe in their products’ is not what I’ve been doing all a long? When I think of it that way, why wouldn’t I be there? Why wouldn’t I be doing something My Way with My Company among other self-employed growers, crafters, and producers who cherish bringing real goods to market?
At farmers markets I can do what I enjoy most with my baked goods – meet people, talk about what I do and what they enjoy, and as I’ve gotten to see when doing product demos … people receiving and enjoying what I’ve made. I also believe WIBC can get more of the exposure I’ve imagined for the company – reaching people with a fun business and good quality, pleasing (unique?) products. Neither I nor the people who have had my products so far get that the weeks I’m in my baking space producing biscotti, boxing it up, and shipping it off. I don’t see farmers markets as making me rich and fabulously famous – which isn’t what I want – but I do see it as giving my company the opportunity for the breath & life I’ve dreamt, a better avenue for the direction I’ve wanted to take this crazy baking-business idea, and for it to adequately pay off … because I need that, too.
My work is showing me how to do it, and it’s showing me things I did not imagine or expect – including my humility. So I believe I’ll keep taking this ride, and I’m glad to have you along with me.
All the Best, Don