Thursday, March 6, 2014

First Day Off!!!

Today marks the 3 week anniversary of our store opening at 560 Columbus Avenue.  We have been testing out the new oven (hate it!), figuring out the neighborhood (everyone is so nice!!!), and trying to just get the flow down.

In some ways, opening this new store has been easier.  We have Nicole, our new store manager, helping us hold down the fort.  She has been beyond amazing with her cheerful personality, and more importantly - strong organizational skills.  This opening could not have been as smooth without her.  I cannot even imagine what would have happened without someone like her to lead our great team.  Now that we have two stores, we can't devote our entire energy to the new location.  Simon and I are splitting our time between the stores.  I start uptown to bake at 6 am and then make my way downtown to our kitchen in order to help with our regular production.  Simon spends half of the day driving back and forth between the two locations while trying to tackle every challenge one step at a time.  The three of us are exhausted, but so pleased with the outcome.  Today is the first day that Simon and I have had off since we opened and I'm really happy that we managed a day off before the 1 month anniversary.

Expanding is a very scary thing to do.  On one hand, we took the scariest plunge of actually opening a business.  We've made it this far, but we could still fail.  We're not made of money...we took what we could from the first store to invest into opening a second because we believed that it would be worth it.  We reached out to our fans and asked them believe in us enough to donate to our Kickstarter (we got the espresso machine!!).  If the UWS doesn't work out, then we're out a lot of money and time.  People assume that it's easy to expand once you have one location down, but every additional location is another risk.  We're obviously in the very early stages, but I have a good feeling.  We have a really nice landlord and while we're a little north of the regular beaten path of the Upper West Side, people have been bursting into our store to let us know that we're a welcome addition.  The funny part is that they do this without actually tasting a single thing.  I guess we picked a good spot if people are so excited that they'll declare their love without actually testing it out first!

For me, the most stressful part has been the menu.  It's hard to guess what people want and I have to hope that they eat like I do.  I love my food rich and with a lot of texture.  I want my brownies to taste like deep chocolate and my croissants to have a crunch to it.  We had to add many new items to the menu to accommodate an earlier schedule and while a lot of it was fairly easy, part of me knew that adding more savory additions would be a wise choice. I eat a lot, but I don't have a savory background and I don't cook.  We have a few pieces up there like a pesto pretzel, chipotle scone, and morning bun.  Our neighbors have asked us to make more, but it's a tough thing to do right now.  I still schedule myself into our kitchen production for 6 days a week so it's hard for me to pull away to test new things out.  I feel like I'm burdening the team if I don't put in my share of the daily tasks so I tend to do my other duties like paperwork and recipe testing either really early in the morning or after everyone leaves.  With the long days we already have, I don't really want to stay too long in the kitchen.  I know it takes me a while to unwind when I get home before I can go to sleep and sleep is precious. The good thing about a menu is that it's always a work in progress.  It's never done.  We just have to keep going, keep doing, and see what makes sense for us.  I like the idea that this is an open-ended task that everyone participates in.  I got the hard task of coming up with an opening menu down so once we figure a few more things out, I think I'll have the time to keep testing and tasting. 

No one ever asked us why we opened another shop.  Only our attorney asked us if we still liked each other enough to do this.  Simon thinks we're crazy that we opened another shop without ever setting ourselves up to have at least 2 days off a week.  My parents keep calling to tell me that they think it's exciting that we're taking risks because they were always too timid to do so in their own careers.  His parents are still reeling from the risk we took by getting such a large original space, but still incredibly supportive when we told them of our wishes to open another.  My original business plan said that we did not want more than one store.  It just happened organically.  Obviously, it's a scary thing to do when you don't have everything figured out perfectly, but who ever does?  It's like saying that you're not going to have a second kid until the first one turns 18 and you've already learned what you need to do in order to get that child through to adulthood.  We had a good feeling about our business and the direction of our company and we went for it.  I wrote a new business plan and we all agreed that it made sense.  I think that we were starting to get really comfortable with our first store now that a lot of the kinks have been worked out and we needed more challenges to keep us at the top of our game.  We're certainly pretty tired from all of this, but I think it'll all be worth it in the end.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Secret's Out! We're Coming to the UWS!

It's been hard to keep it a secret for the last few months, but we're opening a second location in the Upper West Side.  Starting next month, you can find us at 87th and Columbus.

I'm really excited about this new store.  It's easy to believe that we could just do the same thing in the East Village in the Upper West Side, but that's not true at all.  Every neighborhood comes with its own personality.  The East Village has a really cool downtown vibe, great evening crowd, and a lot of tourists.  Simon and I suspect that we'll have a lot of people in the morning and during the day in the Upper West Side so that alone sets it apart.  I'm not sure about all the other differences yet, but we'll find out when we get there.

To accommodate all of those differences, we get to produce a modified menu for the different stores.  While we cater to the after dinner crew in our first store, we'll have something we've never done before - a morning crowd - at our new location.  We'll have breakfast pastries!!  That alone is super exciting!  Our sales team is thrilled to learn that we're getting a new espresso machine for the new store, too.  Starting next week, they're going off to Blue Bottle to train on an espresso machine and learn the Blue Bottle way of life. 

Our new store is quite a bit more expensive than the first place.  You would think that since we've already done this once before, we would have figured out a way to do it for less.  Here's the thing, we cut enough corners the first time around that we got the work done for the budget we had (this is also why we never got an espresso machine downtown).  Our new location is smaller, but our space didn't come with the same character as we have for our first store.  Our Saint Marks Place store has these beautiful brick walls and the original wooden beams are exposed on our ceilings.  The building is over 100 years old and you can feel all the history when you walk into the store.  The new store came as a blank empty canvas and while it was amazing to not have to repair termite damage in the ceilings or discover collapsed brick walls behind the drywall, it also meant that we had to build in the character.  We bought reclaimed wood for our ceilings.  We brought in tiles from the first store.  We looked for ways to add texture to the space while keeping it clean and ways to invoke the same feelings at the different locations.  Also since the space used to be the lobby for the building and was recently converted into a storefront, we had some challenges with bringing in plumbing and heating/AC (this part alone accounts for 2 months of headaches!!).  Each new space has its own quirks and trying to create consistency isn't cheap!  Even though we didn't have to build out a kitchen, we somehow ended up spending more on it than we had for our entire first store.  The last few elements are our display case and espresso machine.  Deposits are down on both so we're halfway there, but we're raising the rest of the funds through Kickstarter.

We set up a Kickstarter to help raise money for all the last minute things at our store.  We have the location, we're done with the majority of the build out, but we still need help.  It was a hard decision to ask for additional funding through Kickstarter when we already have one store open.  If we were going to do this, then we probably could have raised a lot more if we did this before our first store.  We chose not to then, because we weren't sure how we felt asking for funding we didn't necessarily desperately need.  Last time, we didn't pay ourselves for 6 months while we got the store off the ground, but we can't make those same sacrifices this time around because we have responsibilities to our employees and vendors. Now that we have actual employees, payroll, insurance, etc, and all these other constant running expenses while we're preparing to open, the way we value money is different.  As we reach our crunch time, we're feeling the effects the wacky weather had in slowing down our holiday sales.  We were fortunate enough to have beautiful weather the previous holiday seasons, but the holiday shopping season last year was a week shorter and the weather was much colder than we would have liked.  We're reaching out to you because we need your help.  We're 90% there, so we just need a little push to get us those last 10%.

I also feel better about being able to actually produce on our rewards.  In the months before we opened our first store, we were still working on developing our packaging and shipping methods for it.  We were unsure about the format of the classroom and it still took me several months to actually have my first class.  Our menu wasn't fully done yet.  There were so many variables up in the air that I would have been too nervous about putting up rewards on Kickstarter that we may not have been able to follow through on for several months.  Now that we have a store that's been open for over a year, I'm very confident on our ability to deliver!  I think our rewards are really reasonable in terms of price and value.  We hope you can participate in helping us get our espresso machine and get this new store open!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Open for over a year?!

We've been open for over a year now.  The past year just flew by and I can hardly believe that we're once again finished another holiday season.

So much has changed since last year and they're all good.  I can't believe I own a store.  I can't believe I own a store with my husband.  Most people can't believe we're still married to each other.  For us, marriage is easy.  Even owning a store isn't as bad for us as it seems to be for some other people

For the first 8 or so months that we were open, I was at the store from before opening to after closing.  Thankfully, I don't have to do that anymore.  We have such a good team in place that we don't have to be there all the time.  It happened just in time, too.  I think I finally reached the bottom of that endless well of adrenaline that I had when we first opened.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  It just means that my body is saying, hey, take care of me!  Simon's well still seems full, but I know he's exhausted and sometimes all the things going on seem overwhelming.  We have so many things to worry about that it's easy to forget that we're just human.

I'm really proud about what we accomplished this past year.  I worried that we would sacrifice quality in order to produce quantity.  We're producing more weekly than we ever had and for a second, we slipped on quality.  Some macarons that normally wouldn't pass my test somehow slipped through the cracks.  We never changed ingredients, but the product didn't look as good as I wanted it to look.  It made me realize how easy it is for a company to cut corners.  I don't want us to make money off of something that I wouldn't want to pay for.  While our team has grown, I've had to reassure each of our employees that I think it's more acceptable to throw away a bad macaron than to try to sell it (or if you're lucky, bad macarons that make it as far as the display case are given away).  I'm proud to say that our store has been open for a year and while I'm sometimes a little sad about how many macarons we had to get rid of, I still care a lot about the quality.  It means a lot to me and I hope that we are able to maintain this level of quality throughout the years.

I also cared a lot about being more than a macaron shop.  I wanted us to be a place people could go to daily, even if it's just to say hi.  I wanted us to have a menu that we could be proud of and I believe we accomplished that.  I'm proud to say that we're a friendly neighborhood bakery now.  A lot of it has to do with our staff.  Being a boss terrified me.  I wasn't sure if I would be able to manage a team.  We started by hiring really well and we have an amazing kitchen team that I look forward to working with every day.  Our sales staff include some of the nicest and funniest people.  I'll stay at the shop later to hang out with them when I'm not too busy.  There's still a handful of things that I'm having a hard time handing over, but they and I are getting there.

As we work on trying to figure out what the next steps are, our team is growing.  I had worried a lot about how we would find good staff.  In my mind, I was afraid that we would have difficulty finding people who wanted to work at a small bakery.  I didn't have to be scared because we found such a nice team of people.  The people in our kitchen work really hard and I believe we do really enjoy working together.  We gossip while filling macarons, or talk politics while piping them.  We talk about cats while scooping cookies and show off the latest new meme during lunch time.  Simon is amazed at how well we all get along and how the team has grown.  When we have a lot of work to do, no one complains and we all just put our heads down to get things done.  For me, it's always been important to show them that I'm not just hiring people to pass work off to, I want to work beside them and with them and I think they can see that.

Meanwhile, our sales staff hangs out in our store when they're not even scheduled to work.  We can't figure it out, but they seem to just wander in on their days off to just hang out, do homework, or wait for their friend to get off work before heading out.  Simon and I joke about how they volunteer to show up without us paying them, but really, it's a huge compliment.  They hang out with each other outside of work, text us pictures of things that remind them of us, and write us notes about funny things that happened after we left the store that day.  How could I not be happy with them?  One of our team members told us that she's never worked at a place before where no one had any real complaints.  Sure, there's a few things that could be better (ok, a lot of things), but at least we know we have a team that will be with us to get there.

During the holidays last year, we were working 14-16 hours a day in order to keep up with production.  We were panicked about our packaging being stuck in a warehouse and we had actually run out of boxes for our macarons while playing phone tag to coordinate delivery.  Simon had to work the counter for the majority of the day because we didn't have enough staff.  We were half as stressed this year even though we're doing two markets, our menu is twice the size as it was last year and we took on a huge wholesale account.  That's how I know we're doing well - we're handling growing with less stress.

Since last summer, Simon and I somehow became cat ladies, but it's made a really big difference in our lives.  We went from treating going home like it's just a part of our day to being excited about going home because three little faces will greet us when we opened the door.  I never pictured myself as a cat person, but it's been really good for both Simon and me - for our relationship and our sanity.  I didn't think about how important it would be to be motivated about balancing work and our personal life.  I think anyone who opens a business needs to remember to find something that they like doing outside of work.  If I didn't have a reason to go home, I would probably continue to spend a ridiculous number of hours at work.  When Simon and I found Mr. Socks outside of our apartment building, we started working faster, cleaner, and more efficiently at work so that we could get everything done and then run home to play with the cat.  Motivation is a big deal.

It gets easier with time.  Simon's family comes from a place where they don't understand how we could let other people open or close the store when we aren't there.  My father is the only keyholder to my parents' store and if he's not there, then the store is closed.  To us, we couldn't be a good business or good bosses if we didn't put a little faith in others.  People step up to responsibility if you show them that they're important to you.  So far, everything has been great and I know that the future holds more exciting things.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Macaron Classes

We finally launched our classes last Friday.  We had been promising classes for years and it just never happened.  In the beginning, we tried having classes at the Hester Street Fair, which would have involved lugging out a toaster oven and Kitchenaid stand mixers, but they never quite happened.  So many things went wrong - either not enough people signed up to make it worth it or it poured and the idea electrical wiring in the rain terrified us.  For a while, we didn't have a kitchen that was accessible enough for the public to take classes in.  So, when we decided to open a store, we designed it so that there would be a classroom space built in.  When we first opened the store, we were so overwhelmed with having a new store that I pushed it off for January, thinking it would be slower then.  While it was slow in January, I was so exhausted that I spent the entire month just trying to recover. 

After being open for about 11 months, I finally felt comfortable about a lot of things.  We were in a good spot with our production, we didn't have a lot of things going on, and we had a restful week in the kitchen.  So it was time to stir things up and start teaching classes - finally.

I remember how difficult it was when I first started making macarons.  Trying to figure out how to make them without any baking experience and without any idea how to make meringue was a mess.  It wasn't until I took the professional class that I started to get an idea of how the whole process works.  Getting the opportunity to see them made in person was really the stepping stone to learning how to make them myself.  Taking the class was so valuable to me that I was nervous about making sure our class was good enough for our students.  I know a lot about macarons, but would it be enough?

Since then, I have helped teach all of our employees how to make macarons.  Even our sales team has spent a few hours in the kitchen learning how to make macarons.  So far, all of the macarons have turned out.  After teaching a dozen people how to make macarons, my kitchen team and I were ready to get started.

I'm really happy with how our first class turned out.  We were able to be super comprehensive and our students made some beautiful macarons.  Each student got to go home with over 60 macarons and hopefully they're able to make their own macarons at home, too.

So, we offer classes now in our kitchen at 111 St. Marks Place.  We can fit about 4 people comfortably for some hands on instruction with a great student/teacher ratio (4 students, 2 teachers!).  We get to teach our students how to make French & Italian meringue macarons and a handful of fillings.

Click on the photo of the macarons we made from our first class below to sign up for a class.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Growing Up!

We started in 2010 - around the same time as many of our other food friends.  We started at a single weekend fair and expanded to other markets, online shipping, and now a store!  But when we first started, we worked all of the events ourselves and we made all of our friends at the markets.  We brainstormed issues with our friends who were going through or just went through the same things.  We lamented on the weather and how much it sucked for sales or high-fived each other over being mentioned in the same article.  Our businesses were small enough that we had the free time, but not enough money to go on a vacation.  We bonded over the many things we had in common.

Walking through markets now have a different feel.  We see the names of our friends' companies, but we often don't recognize the person working there.  Sometimes I feel sad that I didn't get a chance to see my friend, but mostly, I am happy that it means that their business is doing well enough to not be there.  We've all grown - some have stores now, some have cookbooks out, and more importantly, they all have staff to help them grow.  I can't think of a single friend we made who decided to quit his/her company.  I've seen some start up companies appear at markets and disappear.  I have shared kitchens with people who had bad attitudes and wasn't surprised to see them close shop after a few rough weekends.  I've watched stores under construction for 5 months, only to go out of business within 3 months of opening.  So, I'm proud to say that the food friends we've made over the years are now stronger than ever.  We can now afford vacations, but have the difficulty of planning them due to how busy we are.  We're quitting our corporate jobs to make our business our full time job.  We're navigating the world of payroll and healthcare for our staff and on the prowl for bigger and better opportunities.  Our businesses have grown and we're now proud business owners.

I think what really helped us was having each other to rely on.  We were lucky to start around the same time as dozens of other businesses - people who found an opportunity to take a leap of faith at a time that the artisan food scene was exploding in NY.  We met our friends by spending long hours with them, sharing stories about our struggles, and gossiping about where we felt the food scene was going next.  We had late nights at our commissary kitchen during the holiday season where we chatted about how much we were looking forward to having a day off in January.  We borrowed employees from each other and shared information about vendors and potential wholesale clients.  It was important for us to make those friends and to have those friends to count on when we needed them.  We got our first wholesale account through Scratchbread, and one of our biggest from Robicelli's Cupcakes.  Talking to Liddabit about their holiday plans two years ago made us realize that we were thinking too small and that got us to imagine the big picture.  If these people weren't so generous with their information, where would we be now?

It's important to have a good attitude when you start up a project this big because there's going to be a tough road ahead.  That good attitude will lead you to other people who also have good attitudes.  Having the strong network really helped us grow.  Since I'm an introvert, it also really helped to have a friendly husband help make those ties.  It's hard to strike out on your own and not ask for help and it's a mean thing to not help others when you can.

I had fantasized about opening a business for years.  In college, I pictured myself owning a tiny bakery and just being happy.  Back then, I didn't know how to ask for help and I didn't know what it would take for me to get there.  As a reflection, my dream was small and probably too small to be sustainable.  I was lucky to meet Simon at the verge of my career change - just 2 months before starting pastry school - because he had dreams about a bakery food truck so it made sense for us to work together as we fell in love with each other.  He helped me make connections and grow my dream until it became sustainable.  Today, Simon and I work far harder than I ever imagined and together, our business is greater than what I dreamed of when I was alone.  I really believe having friends with big dreams has helped inspire us to push for more and to be bigger.  We and our fellow business owners use each other to assess where we are and where we could be.  Without realizing it, as all of us grow, we bring our friends with us through recommendations, good gossip, and by taking their lead.  The success of our friends is a big win for us as a group and we all dream of being able to say about the other, "I remember when..."  I truly believe that one day, we'll be able to say that about one of our friends and I hope that they will be able to say that about us.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Difference As An Owner

I am a store owner now.  For the first few months, I thought nothing of working 90 hours a week.  I didn't mind working 7 days a week and being there from 9 am to 2 am.  However, no matter how much time I put in, it just felt like there was more work to be done.  Simon tried kicking me out a few times to go home and get some rest, but I would always find something else to do.  I could prepare stuff for the next day!  I could make a small batch of macarons so we could have 21 flavors the next day instead of 20!  In my mind, there were plenty of things I could do and even though I was physically tired, mentally, there were a million things going on.

I complained about a lot of things.  Most of them were complaints about the results of good problems.  I whined about getting a last minute order for 500 pieces the next day and how we would have to stay past 2 am to fulfill it.  Since we were so broke from all the delays related to our opening, we needed the money and it had to be done.  We were buying breakfast, lunch, and dinner for our employees b/c we were working so much.  I was gaining weight from not leaving the store.  Simon never slept.  Our home became a mess and we never saw our friends or family.  There were plenty of things that a lot of people would complain about.

But my complaints were only superficial because they weren't really gripes.  The truth is that I complained just to complain, but I could do it because so many things were going well.  I wasn't complaining about a lack of sales or a fear that the business wasn't going to work out.  I was complaining about things employees complain about.  They can complain about the long hours and the loss of their personal life, but none of ours did. We tried what we can to try to minimize these sorts of issues on our staff because even the best employee is nowhere near as tied to this business as we were. 

I went through an opening before, as an employee.  I was very committed to the work for the first few months and I worked crazy hours to fulfill all the demand.  I was very proud of what I was accomplishing, but I burned out.  That didn't happen when it was my place.  Even when I felt burnt out, there was an internal well that I could tap into and suddenly, it wouldn't be as bad.  But even though I didn't burn out this time around, I knew that no one else, besides Simon, had that same internal well.  So we were careful with our staff and asked them if they could just do us a favor by working some overtime because it's Christmas, or it's someone's birthday so they requested a day off, etc.  We made the environment fun so even when they got tired, they understood that it's not our intention to run them down. 

Simon and I have our lives invested in Macaron Parlour.  Even when we were tired, it was do or die for us.  We had to do it, first because we were in the business of doing well, and because if we didn't do it, how could we ask someone else to help us?  Our future success depended on working through the difficult issues for the first few months and so we were willing to go through it.  As owners, we had to be the first to do the dirty work and we had to guide our staff to help us.
When we first opened, we had a very lean staff because we didn't have a large budget for payroll.  I am so thankful for the people we did have who helped us get through such a tough time.  We made it through Sandy, we made it through the holidays, we made it through a lot and no one really complained about being tired or miserable.  We hired well and everyone understood that we were going through the bumps of opening.

Yet there's still so many bumps in the road.  I guess it's never-ending.  It's funny that even when I couldn't pull myself away from the store, there were still so many things that went undone.  We had a black pole in our store that I used as a measure of how overwhelmed we were.  Our store is mostly white, but for some reason, we had this pole that was 1/4 black only at the top and I hated that it was unfinished.  No one noticed it, but I stared at it every day.  It was one of those things where I said that I would tackle the pole one night after all the customers left.  This didn't happen until about 5 months in and it was only because I was in the alone store one night after Simon went out to dinner with some friends.  If I didn't have 2 hours to kill, and only 1 hour of work to do, the pole would still be unpainted today.  Now that the pole is done, I planted a peach tree in our backyard, and I bought a new flour bin, and etc etc.  There's only going to be more and more things to tackle.  I guess since it's my place, I stare at it a lot and wonder about how to make it better.  I like to think that I'm not so overwhelmed anymore because I tackled that pole.

I had never felt this way before, not in any jobs I had.  I liked the fact that I could leave to go home and specifically not think about work.  Unpainted poles weren't my problem.  I cared about my jobs, but I didn't lie at night thinking about whether our neighbor chained his bike to our railing again or if I ordered enough ingredients for the next few days.  My heart goes out to all the small business owners out there, who've been through a lot of difficult days and nights, wondering if they've really made the right decisions.  It's really tough when you've got your entire life invested in something and you have no promises that it's going to work.

So, 8 months in, Simon and I had our first day off.  We didn't go into the store for an entire day.  It felt really strange, yet it felt so good.  It almost felt like we had grown up.  I'd still work 7 days a week, 14 hours a day to help the business work out, but being able to step back and say, "I don't have to be there all the time," feels incredibly good.  It took longer than we thought it would, but I'm proud we finally did it.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Parents and My Business

I don't think my dad has ever been on vacation.  As far as I know, he's never been on a plane since landing here from Korea over 30 years ago.  The only passport he has is from when he was a young man and even though he became a US citizen a few years ago, I don't think he's had a need to get a new passport.  He's not a man of many words and every now and then, I get a glimpse of the kind of person he is.  A man tried to mug him once with a knife and my dad kicked him.  He did not get mugged.  He taught me how to ride a bike and accidentally helped me be one of the best free-throw shooters in my middle school, even though I can't dribble a basketball.  I learned how to draw under his guidance.  I remember testing out slides with him for the two-story playhouse he built, complete with monkey bars and a sandbox.  He did all this while working 6-7 days a week for the past thirty+ years.  He hasn't taken any sick days, not even when he got stung by over a dozen bees or when he got bit by a spider and his entire back turned black.  Some people my parents knew decades ago stopped asking about him when I was in my teens and I wonder if it's because they were afraid it was a delicate subject since they stopped seeing him around.  My dad just works a lot and works hard and has helped give us a wonderful life.

In the meantime, my mom has been by his side, helping hold down the fort.  They own a business together and while my dad holds down the business end, my mom had been juggling the business and the kids.  The idea of taking a maternity leave probably blows my mother's mind.  I remember how tired she was after having both of my younger sisters and how she would wrap up the babies and take them with her to work.  She'd spend all day with a baby tied onto her back and no one in my family found that unusual.  She used to drive home in the middle of the day to pick us up from our various after school activities, drop us off at home or at Kumon or at piano lessons, then go to pick up my dad.  Now that we're all older, all adults, I hope that one day, they can go on a vacation together.

I think about this a lot as a business owner.  I think about the sacrifices my parents made and Simon's parents made for us to get to this point.  My parents always took the responsibility of their business upon themselves and were reluctant to trust others.  They saw employees they cultivated over two years disappear and reappear with their competitors.  They heard stories about friends who taught the business to their most trusted employees, who then opened up the same business next door, but with better prices.  They heard too many horror stories and worried about it happening to them.  As a store owner now, this, too, makes me so reluctant, but I know that we can't run the business by ourselves.  We did that for two years and believe me, Simon and I work great together and we can hand-pipe thousands of macarons in a day without saying a single word between us, but we can't do this forever.  I think working so much has started to take a physical toll on us and on our relationship.  We've hired some great employees, but even now we realize that if we ever want a day off, we need to be able to put our trust in more people.  I would like to be able to take a sick day if I were to get bitten by a spider and I don't want to have to rush back to work within a week of having kids and baking all day with a baby strapped onto my back.  I'd like to take my parents on a vacation and force them to do something crazy to them - sleep in and not work.

It's time now, to expand our team even further.  So we're hiring more members.  We need both counter staff to help with managing the many macaron fans out there and kitchen staff to grow our menu.  I promise that we really do have a lot of fun at our store.  Even when we're really tired, or it's been a bad day, it's still a better day than a decent day at some of the other jobs that I've held.  At the end of the day, we bring strangers onto our team that become our friends and that's what makes it such a good environment.  We're going to spend long days together, so we need to all like each other and be in a place where we can encourage each other to better, both in the store and out of it.  If you're a good person, who's friendly and willing to put in some hard work and you're looking for a job, or even an internship, we're looking for you.  Help Simon and me take my parents on vacation!

So send us a message through our website: or email us at macaronparlour(at)gmail(dot)com.  Hopefully you can understand that email address.  I just know that there are weird robots out there looking for someone to post their email up so they can send us spam.