Red…Pink….Repeat. That was our week.

There are just so many things that I could write about in this blog post.  Every day we encounter something new at the shop and I think to myself…"I could totally blog about that!"  But then reality sets back in and I realize that I never ever have time to blog anymore.  But here I am!  I'm blogging!  It's a miracle!  Yesterday morning we had a bit of an unexpected snowstorm in Bethel Park so the shop was really slow….and I got the chance to get caught up on my emails and paperwork…..which meant that today I had about 60% of a day off.  Yes.  I had more than half of a whole day off today.  Wanna know how exciting my 60% of a day off was?  I tackled a MOUNTAIN of laundry at my house and cleaned bathrooms and floors, I sorted through Mia's drawers and closets, changed sheets, paid bills.  Super fun stuff.  But honestly, it felt really good to finally get caught up on some things both at the shop AND at home.  I think that Mia really enjoyed the time at home, too.  It's so rare that she's home with her toys and games for any extended amount of time anymore.  Between full days at school, evenings at the bakery and weekend-days with the grandparents her schedule is pretty busy!   I feel like this re-charging day has been a great start to our week and that makes me feel positive.  

This past week was Valentine's Day…our very first holiday at the bakery! I was so nervous and so anxious to see what a holiday week would be like.  It. Was. Crazy.  A really great and really fun crazy!  I baked and iced more sugar cookies than I ever have in one single week.  WAY more than I ever even did for a Christmas week in the past few years.  The amount of red and pink icing that I made was seriously unbelievable…I even had to have Rob mix in the red coloring one day because the bowl was so huge that my poor arms weren't strong enough to mix it!  I think we really got a feel for what our customers want to see in terms of seasonal gifts and assortments.  Each holiday that we face this year will definitely be a learning experience….and we're absolutely taking notes for the years-to-come.  Here are a few snapshots from the week at the shop...

So other than the Valentine craziness, I would have to say that the most common issue that we're facing lately is booking for special-orders.  I know that a lot of you have been my custom cookie customers for a few years now….so you're familiar with booking ahead and reserving dates on the cookie schedule.  I guess I underestimated how many new customers and cookie requests that I would be getting.  And I hate that I have to say no to so many people because my schedule is full.  It's really hard to explain that we're different than almost every single other bakery in the fact that we can very rarely take special cookie requests for the next day….or weekend, or even the entire month of February because we're totally booked.  I know that it's frustrating for people and it's even more frustrating for me!  The fact is….I'm only one decorator and I can only do so many cookies per week.  I am able to take more orders per week now that we have the bakery…..about double what I used to be able to do….but I also have the demands of the shop to fulfill.  So I have to balance my time between special orders and stock cookies.  I'm still learning how exactly to balance the demands to best suit the business…..each week is so different so I'm definitely struggling with this.

A lot of people keep telling me….."You need to hire more help!"  Yes, you're right.  But I'm not ready.  The growth of this business is very scary to me. Losing control of even one little aspect of the baking, decorating, selling, packaging, emailing, shop cleaning, stocking, ANYTHING  gives me complete anxiety.  I have spent so so much time building this business from the very ground up that I'm terrified to let it grow any bit faster than I'm ready for.  For years I was able to control the growth, the amount of orders, the everything!  And I did everything myself.  And that worked.  That system got "Give Mia Cookie" to where it is today.  So just imagine my fear of giving up control. I feel like things will start to spiral out of control and everything will fall apart if it's not ME that does everything.  This is my biggest problem.  I'm working on it…...

There have been some really great moments at the shop in the past few weeks that have really made me realize why exactly all of this hard work is so very worth it.  I absolutely love seeing kids at the shop.  I love seeing their faces light up when they walk in the door.  I've been told by multiple moms and dads that their kids now recognize our store sign or our packaging….and that they ask to come to the cookie shop after a doctor visit or after school.  That seriously makes my day.  We've met a lot of MIAs!!  I love when people bring in their daughters and granddaughters named Mia and take her picture by the sign or holding a Give Mia Cookie mug.  I think that's the cutest thing ever!  I've also met some amazing people that I look forward to seeing each week at the shop.  One that buys cookies for nurses at the hospital where her mother is being cared for, or my other customer who takes cookies to the elderly woman whom she visits with once a week, or those of you who stop to bring cookies to your office, to your kid's schools, to your veterinarian, to your church.  I love to hear your stories and getting to know all of you has given me this overwhelming sense that there are still really good, kind, positive people out there.  I can only hope that you feel the same kindness from me and Rob and Mia, and from my extended family and employees, too.

So I guess that's it for now!  We've got a really busy week ahead and I look forward to the surprises and challenges that each day will bring!   I know one thing for sure….I'm ready for a break from pink and red icing!  Green shamrock cookies are a welcome change this week!

Until next time…..