March 11 was the one of the worst days of my life. I thought we would lose everything that I've worked so hard to build over the last six years. 95% of our wholesale was gone, caterers weren't catering, office snacks aren't needed for empty buildings, no frozen dough would be needed on an empty college campus. Events were cancelled, postponed and eventually cancelled.
Turns out mail order cookies are a good product to have with a stay home advisory in a pandemic. I'm grateful we were busy for a lot of reasons. The most obvious, we were still in business. We kept everyone working. It kept my mind distracted with everything that's happening in the world.
Everyone was amazing. You guys came out and supported us in such a big way, when i think about it - I get pretty emotional. If I ran out of stuff, everyone was understanding and nice and amazing and patient.
July and August are typically brutal months for us in normal times. We're running around dragging tents, hoping our cookies don't melt in the brutal heat or that a rough thunderstorm doesn't push through an event and our tents don't blow away or break. We never know if we are going to sell out or if everyone is going on vacation or to the beach. It's fine, it's the job.
Due to social distancing guidelines, working in a shared kitchen is a challenge. So, we had to change our practices and bake and ship once a week. It's a big part of the reason that we are making the move to our own facility. This is not easy for us either. We don't like to say no to people. I remember my first job, my dad drove me to work and on the way he told me that I should never tell someone "I don't know" that I should always say "Let me find that out for you". Now that I run my own business, I remember that chat and I know I've extended it to trying never to say "No" and instead asking more questions so we can help people. I've had to say NO so much these last five months and you know what? It sucks.
The last couple of months have been rough for a lot of reasons. When the bulk of us were home, there was a lot of awareness of small business and that's changed and that's OK, there's a lot going on right now. But, our small business community is still working harder than ever to keep things going. A lot of us are working twice as hard for half the sales right now. Simply put: We (small businesses) STILL need you!
We are largely online and I get it's not ideal. It's not ideal for us either. We have to operate the way we've been operating to get us to our new space. I can't spend anymore on payroll till we get the shop opened. I can't send someone out to bring you $16 worth of cookies. I can't ship on Saturday because your daughter's birthday will be ruined if she gets her birthday gift a couple days late. I can't meet you in ten minutes at our kitchen because you need cookies right now. That's a HUGE reason we are moving to our own space, so we can have you come to us. We can ship every working day we have.
Trust me, I've experienced it first hand that EVERYTHING is harder than it used to be. But, being rude to people that are trying to help you, it doesn't change policies we have to follow, whether health guidelines or what we have to do to run our businesses right now. Right now, we have to work the way we have to work to ensure that we can get to our new home. Trust me, I can't wait to get to a place where I hope I never have to tell you no.