Reflection for Thowback Thursday
The banana bread recipe post instigated a reflection on my previous (auto-correct spelling called it ‘precious’; I refrain from over-analyzing) gluten free, vegan dessert business of 6 years. I did a handful of savory things, but that was just for a handful of my clients. I had the business a year before my first website, entirely through a physical newsletter. By the time of its demise, I’d actualized two websites and worked with vegan and vegetarian caterers in Dallas providing their desserts, whole-selling to a couple stores, and doing how-to demo classes at Whole Foods and Sur la Table in Dallas and a few classes in NYC. I took it fairly far; so many don’t know. By the end, I was posting weekly recipes and pinning them under Pinterest, before every one under God’s creation started. I still cringe when one of my old post gets ‘pinned’ and I know the viewer will end up in a dead-zone of internet space.
Why I quit it and what i hated the most:
When i first started, the recipe books were divided between diabetic-friendly, vegan, low-carb, fruit-sweetened, all natural, gluten free…All these divisive terms and buzzwords we’ve come to be hyper-familiar with.
In Dallas and Fort Worth (I would drive or meet people) I had a monopoly. I was making a product that encompassed all these themes. Almost anyone could eat what I was making-selling. At the time, very few people wanted to pay for it. It was more unfamiliar so many years ago, the material goods were expensive. Believe it or not, once upon a time I believed Babycakes in NYC to be my ONLY competition. The taste never was. The price point was much higher, yes. NYC rent. I ate their product 3 times a year to compare. I was charging less down here in Dallas definitely. You go into Whole Foods and buy one chocolate chip cookie out of their bakery case, it is $1.50. No sweat. No problem. But I was selling a vegan, low glycemic sweetened, gluten free cookie, of the same monster size, for $1.50 and my clients were bitching it was too expensive. Are you kidding me? I hate selling, so I’m not going to try to persuade you out of your perception.
The truth is, taste is individual and personal. Especially in the food business, especially when the ingredients are esoteric at the time (at least in the south, maybe not Berkeley or the West Village since the 70’s) But when it’s alternative and healthy, you wanna know what it taste like. This is PRECISELY why every.one.of.my.clients. came through word of mouth. You take the advice of someone you trust. The best business is run and grown by word of mouth; This is a non-negotiable.
Other than not being a great seller, I was dealing with the frustrating allergen particulars of clients. I got so burnt out! I got tired of throwing away money. There were entire recipes flipped directly into the trashcan verses on a cooling rack to set-up. It’s devastating. It’s dollars, hard cash money down the drain. But the things that were great, were motherfuckingreat! They helped me soldier on, helped remind me that I had something awesome. These items were my orders, they built my clientele. The joy they brought to people…
There are a handful of food blogs I subscribe to now -just a few savory and a few sweet. The savory folks can get away with slapdash and imprecise measurement. It is to taste, like salt and pepper are to taste. But, the bakers have often re-made one recipe 5 times AT LEAST, before sharing the recipe. Honestly, before a baking recipe goes to print in a physical (no take-backs) dessert book, it’s been made AT LEAST 10 times. This is not an exaggeration. Like i said in the last post, baking is chemistry. Savory is more mood and emotion.
Admittedly, it was a horrible time to bail and close down shop when the mainstream finally got on board. Now restaurants, caterers, blogs, books…are open and offering and abundant with gluten free especially.
But the biggest theme I took away: just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean it needs to be a business or a business plan.
Then again, you can make an absolute success or minor profit off of one theme, item, or business plan, i.e. Kickstarter
The truth, do you have the focus to see the ONE thing all the way through? Is your heart in it?
I still occasionally like to bake, but my heart has always been into my music.