The Frosting On The Cupcake
It has been two years already since the grand opening of The Frosting On The Cupcake cupcake shop and I am still pinching myself. Pinching myself because I simply can’t believe I went down this road. The building is everything I dreamed it would be with its pink and white striped wallpaper and well lit dining area. The crystal clear display case shows off our well-stocked cupcake flavors for the day, and the sweet scent of cupcakes fills the air, constantly inviting me everyday with a new adventure.
But the adventures are not always the good kind like I had imagined when I opened this shop two years ago.
This was my dream job for as long as I could remember. I have been baking since I was a little girl, always dreaming of owning my own cupcake shop someday. Two years ago I made the crazy decision to quit my good paying government retirement job to pursue my dreams of entrepreneurship. Most everyone in my family encouraged me to do what I love, and I love baking. It made perfect sense to take that next step. Some people told me I was being foolish by opening a business without the proper educational background, but I figured it couldn't be that difficult. I am a relatively smart person and I know how to bake. I had taken the time to visit several cupcake shops to see how they ran their businesses and it seemed pretty straight forward.
But running a business is slightly different than shopping in someone else's business and sampling their dry, tasteless cupcakes. You do not get to see all the behind-the-scenes activities going on in the back, like ordering the right amount of supplies and figuring out what you do with leftover product if it does not sell. I guess I didn't account for all those things when I left the work world behind.
My staff is minimal. It is myself and two other lovely women who also enjoy baking. But as hard as they try they just do not have the perfectionist technique I strive to provide for all my customers. The frosting looks a little lopsided and sometimes the cupcakes come out a little wonky in shape. So in other words, I end up doing mostly everything. Everyday.
And it is getting tiresome.
I have come up with so many new and exciting cupcake flavors over the past two years that I don’t think there are any other flavor combinations to create. And now I’m bored with the same old same old flavors that everyone loves. I can’t even eat them anymore because I’m tired of my own treats. Baking doesn’t bring me the same sense of accomplishment I used to feel when I baked for my family and friends before the shop opened.
Don’t get me wrong. Everyone loves my cupcakes, except the people that leave poor reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor. I know better not to take those reviews to heart, but I’m human and I want everyone to be pleased with their delectable dessert. Some people are just plain mean. If you don’t like cupcakes to start with, why would you go to a cupcake shop and order a flavor you don’t even like? It makes no sense to me. Did they think their taste buds were going to magically change when they ate my cupcakes? So stressful.
And I’m getting worn out.
My family has supported me in every way and I certainly do not want to disappoint them by throwing in the towel, but I’m not sure if this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
And by the rest of my life I literally mean the rest of my life. I have no health insurance and no real retirement anymore. Two years into this and it is starting to seem like a really bad decision to go out on a limb and pursue my dreams. I only wish someone would have warned me that my passion for baking would become more of a chore than a joy when it was needed for my personal survival.
The way I see it is I have a few options. Of course selling the shop and returning to the real work world is an option, but I’ve already done that. I would look like a failure to so many people who have supported me through all of this. I could keep the cupcake shop open and continue doing what I’m doing until I die of boredom. Literally.
Or I could find another limb.
What if I turned the cupcake shop into one of those cute board game cafes? Customers can pick out a fun game to play while ordering their favorite cupcake. Maybe I can even add other items to the menu to bring in a different crowd. I do make a mean brownie. Oh, there are so many ways to dress up a brownie! That would mean a little more work for me but I’m sure I could do it. I could reach more people that way.
By jove, I think I’ve come up with a solution! It’s time to shake up this little cupcake shop with a bit of a facelift. It wouldn’t take much work and if I can find some more help to run the store I can get back to a more normal lifestyle.
That will probably work for a little while at least, I’m sure of it. People like entertainment and I will definitely benefit from doing something a little different in my life.
And then perhaps in another two years I will have come up with another way to shake up the shop. Wait a minute. I think I already know what else I want to add: milkshakes! Who doesn’t like a good, hearty drink while relaxing with friends around a classic board game. Shakes, cupcakes and a good dose of brownies. That sounds like a good business plan to me.
Dream jobs have endless possibilities. You just have to find the right one. Maybe one day I eventually will...
Debra Sue Brice