Remember when I talked about how the baking biz was hectic around Christmas time? And how I thought it'd eventually get easier to juggle all these chainsaws?
Well, it hasn't gotten easier. My anxiety is at it's peak. The holiday rush is through, but now I've developed somewhat of a presence and custom orders have increased. Then there's the farmers market every week; I have to bake and package upwards of 20 dozen cookies between 8 pm on Wednesday and 8 am Thursday- so that everything is fresh. It's hard. It's especially hard because I started offering a wide variety of flavors (7 or more). Which means I make 7 LARGE batches of dough, wash the mixer in between each batch, and bake them on two racks at a time...because for some God forsaken reason, our third oven rack is missing. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to start the process after taking care of the kids all day??
The market has been a great source of advertising and cash flow on the weeks that I don't have as many custom orders; but on the weeks that I do have a lot of custom orders, the market is a huge challenge. Once all the baking is done, I still have to survive the actual market; schlepping the tent, tables, product, all the other little things, selling product and networking. (All with limited food and water, bathroom and pumping breaks.)
It's hard to be friendly under those circumstances. It's hard to make the correct change. It's hard to bite my tongue when some old dude complains about my prices (which are well below competition, mind you). And it's really hard when I don't sell much; it feels like all that stress was for nothing.
As someone that loves to shop at farmers markets, I had no idea how much work was involved for the vendors. I have earned a completely new respect for them.
The market has been a nice little pay day each week, usually enough to pay a few bills. But it's costing me my happiness (and sometimes my sanity). So, I'm done. I'm happy that I gave it a try; I know that I did my best; I know that I could keep going, and keep sacrificing myself, but I don't want to. I'll still take custom orders, but I imagine those will dwindle without advertising. Yesterday was my last market.
There are more changes to come, but this is the first and biggest... Stay tuned, peeps.