From May 2013

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market madness

Here goes my very first Sweet Pistachio Blog post! Please be patient with me, as it’s been quite some time since I was writing rather than baking all day!

Big developments in the world of Sweet Pistachio! About 4 years ago I bought a domain name as a kind of side hobby of holiday bakery sales and hopeful future business venture. Since then, I have travelled through about 3 full time Pastry Chef jobs as well as moved across the country from NYC to San Francisco. After the conclusion of each job, I would tell myself that was it and I was going to go full force into creating the business of Sweet Pistachio. Well, I’m finally there!

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I left a cushy 9-5 M-F job as the Pastry Chef of 2 boutique French macaron shops and have been steam rolling myself into starting a custom pastry design company. It’s been nearly 6 months! It’s similar to the feeling one gets when they are promoted to management in any company. You think it’s glamorous and all you have to do is tell people what to do. In the end, you become the paperwork person, the one people turn to when something gets messed up and the one who has to deal with organizing everything. Being an entrepreneur is similar, except there is even more paperwork and there is no one to yell at you except for yourself, oh, and the health department.

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I won’t turn this into a novel for my first post, so I’ll get to the fun, colorful stuff! Sweet Pistachio has been making its rounds in some local markets the past couple of months, which is exciting and a good lesson on products, marketing and ‘customer service.’ In March, I began selling some items through a new and exciting start-up called Zaarly . It’s a unique online marketplace where you can buy handmade artisanal goods from local vendors who post a profile and storefront on the site. They also offer free delivery within the city, which is pretty awesome. They asked me to be a part of their Bazaar in March and I was delighted to have the opportunity to start selling my treats to the masses! The Bazaar was a real whirlwind of over 400 people in a rather petite room of myself and 20 or so other vendors.

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I sold some pretty unique flavors of French macarons and some of my mom’s famous oatmeal pies. I’m the kind of person who is convinced that I am capable of doing anything and everything on my own. It’s a good thing I gave into a worrisome boyfriend and some eager friends, because I would have really flopped if they weren’t there to help!

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A couple of weekends later, Sweet Pistachio had a booth at the Treasure Island Flea, which was a completely different kind of event, but just as fun!

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This time, there were more like 300-400 vendors and it lasted for 2 whole days. I think it takes throwing yourself into these kind of things in order to figure out the best way to organize for next time. It’s the obvious things you forget to think about like a tent to keep you and your baked goods from melting or multiple tables to make space for sample cutting or rubber gloves or sample bowls. Oh, sample cutting. Everyone loves a free sample…or 8! I’m used to slapping greedy servers’ wrists for coming back to the kitchen to scavenge my dessert leftovers. When I’m in front of hundreds of potential customers, I’m going to have to work on my willingness to give them everything they need in order to want to purchase my product. Luckily, I have one of the best teachers by my side, my insurance salesman of a boyfriend! Despite my poor sales techniques, we sold out of nearly everything that I had made including the extra pies I made in between the two market days!

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It’s funny how daunting the ‘starting a business’ seems in the beginning, but now that ball is rolling and I’m excited to keep it that way!

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