Bakery Day 239: April Fools…

Image may contain: food

Ok, I do not have any April Fools jokes.. I made one a year ago and it backfired. I actually lost a couple of friends as a result (they did not like my humor)…

The bakery is picking up a bit. It is not yet to where we are breaking even, but my hope is the warmer weather is a good start. We have had the tables open a couple of days and when the weather really breaks, we will try to have them up most days. I also think that one night a week we will do something different, like a burger and fries night, a sushi night, or pizza, etc. Just to get some people coming in to keep the good energy flowing.

Also, I am working on some physical changes in the bakery. We will remove two of the round tables after I build three new square ones. They will take up less space and we can then offer more seating. We bought some chairs at a second hand place and Sandy is painting them and putting new covers on them. It is a nice feeling when we are completely full and people have to stand, or get take away.

Really, I would love to move the business to Palma. I do not know how I would survive with the driving on top of the baking, but I am sure we would not be on the low side of money. I think in season we would sell four or five times the amount of what we sell now. Maybe even more, who knows>?!?!?!

And that is that… the bakery work is still the same, except now I am more there at 4:30 instead of 5:30 to get more done. And still the hardest part of my day is getting out of the bed in the morning 🙂

Lastly, it is so nice when people come in the bakery and say they found me on Happy Cow, or they were referred to me by Villa Vegana, or Lo Vegano, etc. It really means a lot that people care about the bakery enough to send their customers there. I would love for some of you to surprise me and show up too!!

#doeverythingwithlove



Bakery Day 209: what’s going on?

In a few days, tablespoon bakery will be open for 7 months, the 6th to be specific.  A milestone I suppose…. Over the last 20 days since the last post some things have been happening, so I will dive in with a little detail.

….

Lets talk about support….

What occurs to me is when people offer to help you, I am not sure they really mean it. I do not want to generalize, so I am speaking specifically about the bakery. In my life, I take nothing for free. I have a strange quirk about me where it is extremely hard to accept gifts from people. One person offered me financial support monthly and I said no. Unless that person was getting something in return for that money, there is just no way I would accept it. Other people (many actually) told me to do a go fund me page or something similar to raise money, but again, this is a give without get and I do not like that.

So, I came up with the idea of t shirts. Many people said it sounds like a great idea, and I thought, ok, I will get a little bit of money for a lot of giving. Really, they generate very little money for me, but, I thought ok, I invest a few hours of my time to set it up and maybe I can sell a few shirts. And, like crickets, I heard from only a very few people, those who I have known for a long time.

Words do not say what it means to me when someone gives like that. For me, it is very special. What i like the most about the idea is that any time those people have a shirt on, I am kinda, sorta, with them. It is interesting, I have no idea who the people are who buy the shirts because of data privacy, but I know they wrote me messages telling me more or less. That means a lot to me.

I set a goal, and as of now, I am 19% of the way there. More than I expected, but of course, the road I want traveled is much longer.

I do not know, maybe t-shirts is a bad idea. Maybe they are too expensive. Maybe they are ugly. Maybe someone does not want to buy one because most of them say “vegan” somewhere on the shirt, though, I am not so sure that is a crime, yet!!

And so that is where I am. I tried to get advice from someone but i never got a response even though the person offered. So I just close that door and move forward. And what you do not know is, the reason I am trying to raise money is times are very difficult. Three days ago I was just shy of 6 euros in my bank account after paying some bills (not all). We have been having some good days so I am thankful for that, but I need many more good days.

….

And the work….

I now get to the bakery around 4:30 or 5:00 am. I do not want to say much as to why it is necessary to do this, but, the work must get done. I am truly feeling like a zombie most days, and now that I am working 7 days a week again, it is all a blur.

Here are a few of the things I have been selling over the weeks since we last spoke:

This is a vanilla two layer cake with freeze-dried rose petals

This is a croissant muffin filled with cinnamon and raisins

Who doesn’t like focaccia? When in season I will make a more traditional one with tomatoes, basil, red onions, and olives, but right now the tomatoes are not good enough.

A few croissants I have baked.. I work very hard on these to get to perfection.  I have a long way to go, but I know I am working towards that goal.

One day I took a sample of some of the breads I made that day.  In this photo there are the following: integral, white, gluten free, spelt, and baguettes. I never get tired of making bread <3

And the inside of a croissant. Truth be told, this is what I work on the most. I want that inside filled with beautiful little bubbles, to be soft, with a slightly flaky outside, and the taste that you could get naked and roll around with.

I am very proud of that work  Some of them are not perfect, I understand, but it is the journey that I travel that really I enjoy. The downside is, honestly, I have no life at all. I am so tired every single day that I come home, fall down on the sofa, try to relax for a few hours, and then I start all over again the next morning. The only saving grace is on Mondays I can sleep because the bakery is not open. So I do not have to go until about 10AM,  This past Monday, I was there for 9 hours working on croissants and a couple of other things.  What scares me is that the season has not begun yet. The cost is far too high to hire someone to help (and with me not being able to even pay my bills in full it is impossible anyway).  So, I just need to buckle up for the bumpy ride. Fingers crossed, head down, and work!!! work work work!!

….

That is it! Thank you so much for reading the update. I hope you enjoy these little pieces of information. I am still working on the Breaking Bread podcast. I am so behind with everything I have not had time to edit my interview with Jack. Also, I do not have more interviews lined up yet either… I must focus!!!!

Do not forget to buy a t-shirt if you have not already

#doeverythingwithlove or stay in bed!

Bakery Day 188: 6 months in and I am selling tshirts

We are six months and change into the bakery… it is more than a roller coaster. I tell you, when I walk into a small business, I think to myself, anyone can do it.. then, I open a small business, and realize, like most things, a business is like an iceberg… and wow is it ever.

Now, combine that with the notion that Inca is as quiet as a mouse in January and February, and you find yourself in times of must stress.. ok, maybe not you, but certainly me. Wednesday, we did not sell a single croissant. This is the nature of the beast…

So, congratulations to us for lasting this long…

and I segue into … we are selling t-shirts… honestly, the cost is very high so we will not really make much money at all with them, but, I like the idea of selling them, they look nice (my design, thank you very much), and really, it keeps my mind off the very quiet days. So be sure to shop early to fill your 2019 christmas orders  …. hehe…

click here

Thank you so much for sticking with me.. I love you
#doeverythingwithlove

PS – I am sorry for the less frequent updates, really, I am shut down. I am keeping this blog post positive, but, it has been very, very, very hard.. and that is all I will say about that.

Bakery Day 178: a random update

I LOVE the bakery..  sure, we do not offer a large selection of pastries or many other different things, but, we sell what we do have and the customers come back many times to enjoy them.

On Saturday we went to a party. A couple who we met as coming in to the bakery as customers that I consider friends now, invites us over. So, I made 30 mini croissants to take with me as a gift for them and the other guests. As one was being bitten into, I noticed the inside, and it is that perfection I am working towards in my croissants.. (note, the croissant is a bit smashed only because of a bite, but then spend a moment with that beautifully constructed inside.

Really, I could not be happier with the results. To me, this is beautiful, 100%.

If you are interested, here is my recipe for the croissants, minus the instructions (look for croissant lamination for those details – google will be your friend):

Strong bread flour 758g
Water 379g
Butter 100g
Sugar 85g
Fresh Yeast 20g (temperature dependent)
Salt 17g
Laminating butter 438g

and I leave you with a recent photo of some bread.. thank you for reading today’s entry.. and remember, do everything with love <3

Bakery Day 164 – A year in review: The future

Let me take a moment and look into my crystal ball. I wanna know what is coming around the corner….

…5 minutes later

Ok, that did not work…   On any given day I have many thoughts that race through my mind about what will happen this week, and the weeks and months to follow. Some days I want to pack up shop and just stop this nonsense. Other days I love the bakery so much and believe in the future that I think it is nonsense to even think it is nonsense .. did you keep up with that one? hehe

My hopes are that we do not struggle more with money, and we find resolutions to the problems with the landlord. I would love to be able to hire one or two people to help in the baking, and customer service. I love the tables on the plaza and I really want them to be a success for us.

What I am generating for myself is a business that is so successful that I can close for a month, and maybe go to India, or even just relax and think about other things in my life that I love to do or want to do but never find the time.

On the 21st of this month I am doing my first interview with a baker. I have an idea to do a podcast (video too) where I have shop talk with a different baker. I would like it to be every week but I know I do not have the time for that now. In time, I would like to see it grow to something people are really interested in and we can really have nice chats about the baking life. It is something I like to do and will utilize YouTube for.

I also want to post more videos on YouTube about my day to day life. But I really think it is time I switch from just me chatting, to me doing demonstrations.  Not everything can be explained without seeing what is being done. Besides, we all love visuals.

I am also generating a more positive approach to relationships. In 2018 I gained 15kg (stress eater) and I had many conversations with people I am not proud of. I do not believe in resolutions, but for me, this is a new start for the bakery this year and I want to use that fuel to help me really move more in the direction of love, happiness, kindness, growth, peace, and freedom, however each and every one of these look, collectively, or alone.

I will end this year in review with one of my all time favorite quotes… by no other than Willy Wanka
“We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams”

May all of your dreams come true this year and may they bring you more joy, love, and happiness than you ever imagined!!

#doeverythingwithlove

Bakery Day 163 – A year in review: money, money, money…. monnnney

The dreaded topic of money. I have said this before but I will go in to some detail this time so you have a clearer picture.

In short, the bakery does not make money. We operate in the red. I have projections for us making more money and growing the business, but I did not take in to account the tourist season impacting us. As I have spoken about, much of our business comes from tourists, or people from other parts of the island, looking for vegan treats.  We have some amazing customers, whom I now consider friends, that come and we are really endlessly thankful for. In some respects, they are pieces of the glue that hold us together.

With that said, we do not have income. Neither of us take home any pay. It just is not possible.  There are many bills (taxes, rent, electric, supplies, etc.) that cost a fortune. The money goes out the windows very fast let me tell you.

What is important for me is that we build relationships with out customers. Almost to the point where taking money from them for baked goods is hard. Of course we will as it is not only the service we provide, but I know they are very happy to help us in those ways.

I am reminded of something someone once told me. I will not say his name. I am not a friend of his at all, but we did work together. in fact, he was a creepy guy for sure… but, he said one smart thing to me. “Streams flow in to rivers, and rivers flow in to the ocean.” … If we continue to provide different products then we will sell more, no matter what stream they come from (cookies, tapas, breads, sandwiches, etc.) and in turn, these will fill up our ocean.

And.. I doubt many of you are really paying attention. But, I would really like some ideas on raising a bit of capital to help us through the winter. I believe this year is going to be great for us, but that really is not coming until April or May when the market starts filling up and more tourists come in to the area.  I do not want a loan to be honest, but I suppose I am not against a small low interest loan. I just do not like owing money, or digging a well that i jump immediately in to.  So, if you have some ideas, please pm me (you know how to find me) or even make a comment here. I was told to do crowd funding a couple of times, but that is not easy for me as it seems more like charity than investing.

Anyway.. ideas ideas ideas.. this is what I am asking for. Thank you so much for reading today’s entry. We only have one more entry for the year in review – stay tuned…

#doeverythingwithlove … please

Bakery Day 162 – A year in review: The landlord

I thought about this entry many times.. many many times… and even as I write it, I think to myself, Dave, it is better to just focus on what you have and forget about the troubles. But, that only serves me. It does not help anyone who may want to start their own business, and help them see things that could potentially happen.

As you may recall.. things did not get off to a good start with the owner of my space. Before I opened, one day I went in to the bakery to do some work and found a leg of a lamb he decided to hand in my refrigerator. Without even telling me he was entering the building.  He did this again two weeks later with the freezer in the basement mind you.

Over time, we have had some problems with the building and some he addressed, but many he did not.  The two biggest being the water in the basement, and the repairs from the three times we were broken in to.

I sat down with him many times, trying to have an adult conversation. Trying to make lemonade, and he either gets angry, or just yeses me to death and does nothing. Many times when Sandy speaks with him alone he is rude to her and raises his voice.

The culmination for me was just over 6 weeks ago. I sat him down with Sandy and told him the following. I love the space and love being there. I put a lot of my own personal money in to making it a nice place, and removing the horrible stench, and dirty nature that it was before. But the problems of the water and the doors must be addressed. They are foundation problems so my insurance does not cover them. I found out, he does not have insurance like he is supposed to for the building space so any time there is a problem, it is money out of his pocket. (Let me side note here: my insurance for the year is under 400 euros and even covers income for us in the event we cannot execute the business for whatever reason. It is ridiculous to me he does not have insurance).

Anyway… I told him in one week I wanted a plan to have these issues resolved and he yessed me again. A week passed.. nothing. Another week passed.. nothing. Then the third week I asked Sandy to talk to him.  So, she sat him down and calmly addressed yet again the issues. I was not with them and did not know what he said, but he got very angry with her and said, and I quote, “if you do not like it, just leave.” In short, he does not care if we maintain the space or he takes it back over. Of course, now that it looks nice, he knows he can rent it for even more money to someone else and just does not care.

As a side note, in the past four years or so, he has had five tenants. Why on earth could this be?

The water in the basement is causing mold. That mold is coming up the steps and ruining all of our storage stuff, including bags we use for customer purchases. I cannot use bags that even have a remote change of being moldy, under any circumstance. Also, many of the things I put in the basement in storage are ruined from the water, and yet again, he does not care.

The doors are still broken. Almost every night I wake up stressed and worried someone will break in so I log in and look at the cameras. He just does not care.

A little over a week ago, I saw him and we had a huge fight because of this, but mostly because of how flippant he was and told Sandy we can just leave. He kept raising his voice (especially with her) and tapping her with his hand, like she is one of the boys.  No respect for women whatsoever!!! Finally, I told him he was not a good person and he was no longer welcome in the bakery and to leave. He screamed at me and I shut the door and turned my back.

I forgot, he said if I do not pay the rent he will turn off the electric. It turns out there is a main switch for my electric outside of my space that he has control of. “I did it before and I will do it again.”  The good news is, I found out that I can go to Guardia Civil and immediately file a complaint. They take this very serious and he cannot violate my rights. If he does, they have made it clear they can arrest him. Or anyone who violates this agreement.  Oh I hope it never comes to this.

Here is the thing.. I do not want problems with him. I love the bakery. I love the space, and I love building something that I deem to be special.  It hurts my feelings to have to fight with him over dumb stuff. Moreso, dumb stuff HE is responsible for.  For the life of me, I cannot understand why he would not want his renter to be happy so he can have a long relationship and not worry about month to month problems. Before we opened to the public he said he wanted to fix up the basement for us, but he did not. He said he would paint it, fix the walls, the circulation, etc. He did none of it.

And finally, I know one of his family members has been reading the blog posts, so I address this directly to that person.  Try to read my words with an open mind and speak with him. Explain to him the things as I explained them above. Help turn something bad in to something positive. He owes us an apology. He owes us support. And I think, if he cares at all about integrity, he will solve this without me continuing to get my lawyer involved (which he said he would ignore and did not care).

That is my stress with my landlord. I really wish and hope he changes one day soon so we can put all of this in the past and I can focus on the business. Not him. Not foundation problems.

Thank you for yet again reading along <3

#doeverythingwithlove

Bakery Day 161 – A year in review: Did someone say stress

I have to laugh.. I swear I thought that owning my business would give me all the control, direction, and results that I wanted. I guess it is true, it does. But I never thought that I would be more stressed out than when I was working for the man (that is an American expression which I can explain if necessary).

Stress comes from any of the following (but not limited to) areas:
– bills
– meeting customer needs
– proper rest & finding time to enjoy life
– doing taxes, including the aggregation of every receipt
– worrying if I will have enough money for rent in a month from now
– making mistakes with what is baked and feeling terrible about the results
– arguing with my partner when really it is just two people who work very hard and are tired
– not understanding why people do not come back
– the language barrier – uff.. i can talk about this one for weeks
– pricing products so they will sell and yet, not undercut myself
– taking orders and they are not picked up by customers – the roscon last week, some customers did not pick up their orders. My out of pocket expense for each one was between 5-6 euros. And, the ones we did not sell are no longer good enough to sell. We barely broke even.
– landlord not caring about the damage from the basement or fixing the doors that were broken as a result of us being robbed three times. Do not worry, I have an entire post coming just on the topic of him.
– ensuring no moths or other bugs get in to the flower. or they ruin expensive purchases that must be thrown out.  I had one bag of white spelt flour. It cost me 65 euros, and bugs destroyed it (moths to be specific).. adios money
– why people do not sit at the tables on the plaza
– why the man with the thursday market stand continues to not care about making sure no one can see my business as he blocks the view and my complaints to the city go unanswered.

as you can see, I can build a list of stressful things to be a mile long… some of these things I can take in stride and some eat away at my fabric. I try to do my best as each day is a list of new problems, but I also know that new successes come as well.

How do you deal with stress? What is your experience (if you are a business owner) with managing the countless obstacles that come up daily?

I own a business.. that comes with stress… but I still would not want to change it for going to work for the man…

Thank you for tuning in as always.. it really means the world to me !!

#doeverythingwithlove

Bakery Day 160 – A year in review: My expectations versus how things really went last year

I am pretty sure I covered some of this in my last post, but, let me go in to a bit more detail…

In short, I really expected the business to take off. To be so successful that we would literally have to turn people away because we could not keep up with the demand.  I guess you could call it arrogance. That is, my take on how I thought things would go leading in to August 6th. I knew how great the breads tasted, and looked for that matter. The test runs we did with potential customers went very well. And really, I saw only the sky as the limit. Ok, yes, the sky is the limit, but, be sure to note there are cloudy days and we cannot always go quite so far.

The reality is that the business was so slow coming in to December that we went to a four day week for a few weeks, and I spent countless nights unable to sleep, worrying about how we would generate more income.

If I am being very honest, and I am, some days I would cry myself to sleep, wondering what it was I kept doing wrong, which did not bring more people in to the bakery. I worry so much about my expectations being a reality, when in fact, the results are what make up the reality, not my ideas of the results.

Tapas
I never expected us to do tapas. Who would have thought that a bakery would be serving tapas, but, now here we are, doing tapas every Friday night. The last few leading in to the closing of the year were sold out. That is a very good feeling for sure. But, the reality of the bakery is that we needed to offer more things, not just bread, croissants, and cookies, but an array of options, including an evening spot where people could come and enjoy themselves without feeling hungry as they left.

I suppose we will continue to do tapas.. hehehehehe 🙂

and back to bread for a moment…
I am so surprised that people do not buy more baguettes. They are big, they taste great, have a nice crust and crumb, and the cost is very low. Is it not a Spanish thing? Many of days, we are storing them in the freezer to give to a friend who feeds some animals near her home.  To me, it is silliness. I love a baguette with avocado and tomato as an example and as I am writing this, I am getting hungry for some right now.

Money was my biggest misstep with an expectation. I really thought for sure we would be making more money, and living with less stress from month to month. The expenses of owning the business are so high, I understand clearly how many are going under after such short periods of time. Combine this with a landlord who makes life miserable and you have a recipe for disaster. We will get to both money and that man later on…

And I did not expect my private relationships to change so much. Some times for the better and some times for the worse.  Sandy and I had many very rough moments. Much worse than I expected and will go in to.  For me, I take it day to day and hope for the best.  And, more importantly, I take the next passing moments as new beginnings. Holding on to what I think is right is not always the best solution.

Another relationship has me still a bit sore. Someone had offered to help me multiple times. Even to the point where I offered money for help. And, every time I got to where I was sure I was going to get the much needed help, it never happened. I do not know what to make of that to be honest, but, my reality now is I just do not worry about it. I will fail on my own and those failures will either close the business, or make me better.  I love that person.  I do not love the waiting and hoping and wishing, and then nothing.  In the end, this is my fault because I always say that I never want to have expectations from anyone, but I open myself up and think that some things will happen and they didn’t and so I was left feeling empty inside.   It is a learning. I know now that I can really only rely on me, and that is how it should be <3

I have more reality check expectations, but maybe it is better to stop here, or you may fall asleep.  Thank you so much for taking the time to keep up.

#doeverythingwithlove

Bakery day 159 – A year in review: What I have learned

There is no better place for me to start than with what I know now, versus what I knew on August 6th, 2018 (day 1).  I think this topic I can cover for hours and hours, but, I will narrow it down to a few things, that may be the most important.

Image may contain: food and indoor

Bread
On day one, I had this idea that I would bake all kinds of special breads and people would line up and buy them. Really. I thought that by the end of the second week, people would be begging us to get their hands on our breads. Well, that most certainly was not the case. In fact, many people bought bread once, or even twice, and then never came back again.  OUCH!!! How could this be?  Well, that answer is simple, my breads were not what the locals wanted. I even learned in this time that typical Mallorcan bread is made without salt. To me, that is crazy talk, but it is true, indeed. A couple of months ago I went to a bakery not far from ours, to try some bread, I got some, and as I was eating it, I really thought it was a mistake. Then I did some research and learned that the breads have this taste because the locals like to salt their own bread.

Let me just be clear, unless it is an accident where I forget, or a special request, I am not making salt free bread. It is just not in my future. We will change the way people see and taste bread if it takes me years to reach every single person 🙂

And finally, some days my breads turn out horrible and others they turn out great. I came to learn some of this was related to just not knowing how to get the best from my oven. And, some came from impatience…

I can versus I cannot
I have to admit, I feel many times I am a failure. That the things I have done in the bakery have not served our customers the best, even though I wanted to believe I was doing my best. Part of that came from my mind telling me that I could not do certain things, for whatever reasons.  Some were excuses, some were a lack of ability.

I know now, that it is really important to focus on the positive, and remember, “I can” is much healthier, much more important, and much wiser, than “I cannot.”  I will do my best to ensure we have more products (not specifically talking about breads). For me, it is really important that our customers feel that we want to give them the very best and they are very important to us. I can make that happen, 100%!!

Growth
Well, I think this is kinda obvious, but in order for us to survive, we must grow. We must provide more baked goods for more customers. We must build our relationship with more people so that they want to come to our little corner and they want to taste our foods, and, they want to come back, along with tell their friends.

We bought a machine (you may remember) for lamination. I am able to do many more croissants in a very short period of time. (well, it saves me hours that is for sure). I also want to start making flat breads which I can use the machine for as well, and then, we use those for wraps to eat in the bakery (or takeaway) and to sell, for people to take home.

And with the growth, we need to work smarter, faster, and more efficient than we have in the past, or we will not meet the demand and we will fail.  This, is not an option.

Language
My least favorite topic I have saved for the end of this post.

I am surprised at some of the negative comments I have gotten from people because I do not speak Spanish. Some are very kind, and some, just, well, not so kind. Last night, as an example, I got a message from a customer telling me she did not understand me (I wrote a reply to her with broken Spanish – I was trying my best). So I then explained I will need google. Instead of working with me, she said “do it!” .. It was not very nice for sure and I was not happy about it, but, I accept it, and move forward.

This must  be added to my list of things that I need to accomplish this year!!!

¿Hablas español?

Part 1 is complete. I would like to hear from you and what your thoughts are about your observations of this journey I am on and what you see going forward.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my post!!

#doeverythingwithlove