In another life, I worked in a bakery. It wasn't my bakery, but I wandered in shortly after they opened. It was started by two friends. One was the business end, one was the decorator. They made birthday cakes and wedding cakes. There was a case filled with frozen, fresh baked cookies and a dessert called Cake Dippers (more commonly known as cake pops by Bakerella). It was an interesting use of leftover cake and chocolate. Yum. I worked there for probably 8 months of Fridays and Saturdays and whenever else they needed me. I also got certified as a Wilton instructor and taught others how to make and decorate cakes.
And then, one day, I finally landed the job I have now. I stuck around and helped out whenever they needed.
There were days, weeks at the bakery that I came home, my feet hurting from standing for 12 hours. My right hand cramped into a claw from piping teeny tiny detail on wedding cakes. My shoulders hurt and my hair always held the faint sweet smell of powdered sugar.
I was right there, in the thick of it. We tried the gourmet cupcake route (even before Cupcakes on Kavanaugh was around). I made up flavor combinations: layered ice cream sunday cupcakes, Almond Happiness, Lemon Bliss, Chocolate Overload. You name it, we tried it.
It was fun. But it wasn't mine. And when it was finally over. I felt like I had tried. Like that part of me was done. That I didn't need to bake or own a bakery anymore. I closed the books on my dream bakery where there was a cute black and white checkered floor with tiny rod iron tables and chairs for two scattered around. Where I would have a fancy coffee machine and serve espresso with cupcakes on the most adorable plates I can find.
And yet, some days, I sit at my desk and think about cookies. I wonder how many cookies I would have to sell to equal my salary now. (For the record, it's a really high number.) Do I want to do cakes anymore? I'm kind of obsessed with tiny treats. Bars. Cookies. Cupcakes. Mini Cakes. Tiny bunt cakes with chocolate glaze and candied orange sprinkled on top. Cheesecakes with flowery swirls. And piles and piles of whipped cream on everything.
Except I've been down that path. I watched as the bakery closed. I saw two friends ripped apart, a business close and witnessed first-hand the cost – both emotionally and financially of owning ones own business.