Turning 7 ---A Bakery Milestone and Raw Honesty Thoughts
This year our little bakery turns seven years old. It's hard to believe that seven years ago the Sugar Sisters took a little hobby and turned it into a business. You know what they say about taking a leap? Just Do It? We are the epitome of that phrase.
When we started our business, we just did it. And then we kept on doing it. High powered business consultants would have cringed at our strategy---we didn't have any. We just wanted to do The Sugar Path. We just wanted to do something different with our lives. We felt stagnant and we wanted more life. We wanted to bake. We wanted to serve. We wanted people to eat our cupcakes and smile. That's it. It seemed so simple.
However, as we learned, starting a bakery is anything but simple. There is a lot that goes into it and we are pretty sure that our earliest customers recall us helping them at the counter covered in flour living on three hours' sleep a night consistently for a very long time. But you see, that's what it takes. When you start a business, it's not easy and it's not cushy. It is hard work----some of the hardest work you will ever do in your life.
The two hardest things for us to overcome? The people that didn't support us AND the people that don't like what we make. Three hours sleep a night? Easy peasy. Standing 18 hours at a mixer? Piece of cake! But someone that doesn't like our cake? Totally devastating! Crushing, in fact. The person that tells us we are going to fail---that it's ridiculous for us to start a bakery? Depressing! Deflating!
We had to learn to overcome the mental component that goes into owning a business as well as all the other things. First, you have to learn your craft and figure out how to become the best at it. Then you have to start a business and consistently work at staying in business. Finally, you have to overcome that moment when you meet the person that doesn't like what you have---or you.
You see---baking is part art and part science. There is a standard formula to all the recipes and then a baker adds their own "secrets" that makes their baked goods different from others. Then the baker adds their art---how they put it all together and offer it to their customers. Just like anyone that works hard at a craft or a job, it sucks when someone doesn't like what you spend so much time trying to perfect. What you consider perfect. How could someone not like that? But, as anyone who bakes understands, baking is not perfect. Oh we get it right most of the time. But sometimes it just isn't perfect. A cake may accidentally spend a minute or two longer in the oven than it should have and turned dry. A supplier may have delivered the wrong ingredients that we get stuck using and makes our products different than normal. The weather decides to overheat our kitchen and makes a cake unstable. A baker may be only getting three hours of sleep and accidentally forget to put the levener in a cake. You get it---it's the human factor. There is a real person behind that mixer and because of that, it's not perfect.
But we would rather have some imperfections when we know who makes our stuff right? That they are trying their best. Trust us, when it isn't perfect we beat ourselves up in our minds more than is necessary. We strive for perfection 100% of the time.
Even when we are perfect--- there are 8 billion people in this world and well, everyone can't like everything. This is what we had to learn. We take their feedback and try to better ourselves and we keep trying to please the people that really love us.
We have met the most amazing people on this journey. Oh my gosh---AMAZING! We bake for them. They come to us for all their events ---or every week to pick up a treat. They get off their couch and run to the bakery when we post the special cake of the day. They come in and tell us to do "whatever" we want for a birthday cake because they trust us. They consistently order their Thanksgiving pies from us every single year and their special Easter cakes.
When we were growing up our Grandma used to order the same Maple Cake for Christmas every single year. We started The Sugar Path because of that memory specifically. It's what we wanted. We wanted to be that bakery for people.
It is because of "our people" that we are here. It is because of them that we overcame the doubters that thought we couldn't do it. It is because of them that we realized that yes, there are people that don't like our stuff---but there are MORE that do. And yes, we are not perfect BUT we get it more right than wrong. We keep trying because of OUR people.
We feel pretty accomplished having taken this dream this far. So as The Sugar Path approaches its seventh year birthday later this year we are going to take a moment and just thank everyone----EVERYONE---that gave us a try. Thank you for at least noticing us, for trying what we made and for your feedback that makes us better. THANK YOU for allowing us to do what we love and to be present with you for a little while here. Thank you for buying from us so that we can employ an amazing team of people. We aren't seven until November--we'll have a big celebration then and serve some cake. But until then, we'll sit back and appreciate this journey.
WOW. What a life changing experience this has been. We love you---our people.
The Sugar Sisters