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.