I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Out Of The Box

A couple of years ago I was working as a chef part-time in a food business/homewares store. I totally hated that job. The work was okay (food is food, after all) - but the owners were total shmucks and I couldn't stand them. They had no problem with the HUGE amounts of food that got thrown out every day, would re-sell food which was truly past it's use-by, and basically ignored any and all of the suggestions of the chefs for how to sell more and waste less. It was both professionally and personally speaking a total soul destroyer.

Sidebar: The story about the chocolate is an example of how soul-destroying this job was. They had some (disgusting) European chocolate bars which did not sell, and not only tasted like shit, but were several months out of date and the chocolate had bloomed (this is when it gets affected by temperature/time and it turns white). They made us cut the bars in half, cut the ends off, and dust liberally with icing sugar..and then label them "chocolate bites" and the staff had to imply that us chefs had personally made them. They also charged $2.50 for them. Seriously.

If I'm to be honest, I also hated that yet AGAIN I was working a second job because the business was not making enough, I was worried about money, and DH also had his share of job issues. It was a very fraught time for me. The door to the kitchen area was hidden around the corner of the shop, and on the display shelf nearest the door were a heap of these antique-style lolly jars. I adored those jars, and every time I walked in or out of the kitchen door I'd see them and covet them. They were the sort of totally frivolous item one uses to display bits - not exactly useful in any real way (unless you really and truly have a sweet tooth, I suppose.) They were *exactly* the kind of thing I'd thought I would put in my pipe dream fantasy cake shop.

Several months into the job, on a whim I bought five of those jars. I just loved them so much, and anyway I got an employee discount - so I figured, what the hell, even though we were pretty broke at the time. I thought I'd buy them just in case I ever did realise my dream of the cake shop which had been living in my head all these years. I brought the jars home, then took them to work - where they promptly got shoved under my desk and sat there gathering dust. I never even took them out of the boxes and bag they came in. Just shoved them there and then every once in a while I'd steal a little look under the desk just to remind myself that someday, they would make it out of there. Of course, all this time I also secretly harboured thoughts that they'd NEVER make it out of there - but then small business is often about the swings and roundabouts.

This afternoon I unpacked all the boxes for the new shop - and of course, those lolly jar boxes were there, waiting to be unpacked as well. They will form part of our big front window display* - and probably be filled with a cupcake, or maybe some colourful lollies - but the point is that they will be front and centre in the "pipe dream fantasy cake shop"...which ACTUALLY EXISTS.

Sometimes, dreams come true. Apparently, you've just got to shove them under a desk for a while first.

*(and I'll post a picture of the whole display once it's done, I promise.)


Claire - Matching Pegs said...

I am so excited about your dream coming true - and you said the magic word... Display! I love a pretty display.

Just save a possie somewhere in the shop for a little creature - a bit delayed due to my health, but coming soon....

emzeegee & the hungry three said...

YAY!!!! I SO know what you're talking about, and we *need* a mascot. Every good cake company needs a mascot, of course!

I hope you're on the mend soon (sewing projects notwithstanding)...seems like it's been a rough few weeks. *healing vibes* headed your way.


Danielle said...

Woo hoo! Knew there had to be a story behind the picture!

I LOVE displays. Did you know, back in the day I managed a Darrell Lea store? My fave part of the job? Doing the displays. My mind is working overtime for your glass jars....

One GREAT investment would be a chocolate fountain to put in the window. Soooooooo many people stop to look, and come in to tell you how much they wanna eat the chocolate.....which actually ISN'T chocolate. I always swore if I opened a shop, I would have a chocolate fountain in the window. Drums up so much business. I reckon even in a used car lot, a chocolate fountain would drum up business.