Your Support Has Been Overwhelming
There isn’t much more I can say than, “Thank You.”
Well, there’s a lot more I probably should, and will, say, but it will likely come out as a jumbled mess. I’m channeling my wonderful cousin/writer, Micha, in writing this blog post and I’m hoping when I’m done it makes some kind of sense.
I’m incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support I received by you. I’m pretty sure there were people voting for me that had never even tried my baked goods. They did it because they…liked me? I don’t know. I would walk the halls of the school where I teach high school students how to make movies and cafeteria workers would stop me and ask, “Do you know how your bakery is doing in the competition?,” and when I’d respond that I had no update, they’d respond that they’re voting for me every day. I can’t describe what that does to my heart. I struggle to understand what I did to deserve that level of goodness, but there it was. I have several stories and examples of that goodness and it means the world.
Running a business is HARD. Harder than I could have ever imagined. There are so many days that I just want to give up. Sales are hard to come by when you’re a small business. Sales can feel impossible when you’re an online small business with an advertising and marketing budget of $0. More often than I’d like to admit, I want to quit. When I told my counselor/therapist this recently, she looked at me in disbelief. It’s easy to focus on the negative. You know, like how hard things are. Like the numbers, or lack thereof, in my business bank account. Like the weeks that sometimes go by without an order coming in, but that’s why you have people around you.
You see, my counselor reminded me that in the fall of 2017, just one year after incorporating my business, I was shipping thousands of cake slices to Amazon for their Surprise Sweets Box. She reminded me that almost 2 years ago to the day, I was driving down to Austin to be in the pilot of a baking competition television show for Food Network (something that I didn’t apply for, but somehow the casting directors found me). She reminded me that earlier this year, I assembled a menu and applied to be a vendor at the Texas State Fair. Ultimately, many of those things ended or fell through and naturally, I felt a measure of disappointment and/or failure. What I couldn’t see, though, was the progress that each of those events showed.
I was getting noticed. People were validating my hard work. And now, unbeknownst to me, someone nominated me to the Dallas Morning News (a major freaking newspaper!!) as the best bakery in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Me?! The little guy from Miami?! I don’t even have a brick and mortar store. There’s no sign. No storefront. Just me baking and driving and shipping. I teach during the day and bake at night. I don’t even know how someone noticed me to nominate me. As I looked at the list of bakeries I’m “competing” against, I felt like an imposter. I’m sure there are businesses on that list that sell more in one week than I sell in a year. And yet, there I was. Christopher’s Bakery. And I was voting for myself. Everyday. From 4 different computers.
When I got the e-mail that I was in the Top 250 businesses in votes out of 3,000 (Top 10%!!), I was in shock. How am I even competing?! Do I really have an army of people behind me? Slowly, the reality set in that yes, I do.
And that is humbling. I’m so incredibly grateful. Thankful. Appreciative. To know that there are so many people who want to see me succeed. It will be months before I find out who won. Life will move on and anxiousness will give way to focus on new bakery orders and the wonderful students I see every day.
But no matter what happens, please know that I already feel like I’ve won. This has been an incredible success. I know that giving up isn’t an option because there are too many people who want to see me win. I can’t say thank you enough.
I STILL don’t know who actually nominated me, but to whoever you are, I’m eternally grateful.
Owner, Christopher’s Bakery