Who would have known that I would still be laying awake sleepless and excited at the thought of going to work in the morning?! I can still remember planning what to wear, what I was going to say, how I would fix my hair… I definitely haven’t worried about how to fix my hair in three years, but I do still get excited to go in to my bakery and create whatever I want. It really is an honor to get to do what I do every day.
A new development is that my entire family basically works with me now! And thank God literally, because I would never be where I am if they hadn’t quit their own jobs to help me. They still drive from HOUSTON every freakin’ week… if that isn’t love I don’t know what is, and now my fiancé is here… it definitely is a family affair, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know when I first bought the place, the old owner told me “you NEVER want your family working in here, trust me it will drive you crazy”… so I tried to stray away from letting them help at first.. but I have come to accept the crazy, and I realize that it’s either they drive me crazy, or the customers they deal with FOR me will drive me crazy. hahah I choose family.
I guess this means y’all are probably waiting for me to dish the dirty details from behind the scenes.. I don’t know if anything can really beat year one, but here goes… if you are thinking of buying a bakery, here are a few tidbits you may want to dwell on…
1.Give a man a job and you have an employee. Teach a man how to shift blame and you have a manager.
… haha kidding. Managing staff from day 1 has always been my biggest challenge. I am not a confrontational person… like at all. I hate it. I turn purple and shake. I’ve kind of learned to turn that off, but for the most part, that is why my family is there, my momma wont take no sh!t! LOL. The best employee confrontation of the year was from a new hire who called in sick after her first day of work. We said whatever that’s fine, see ya next week… she then called in every day for the next week… finally after 8 days we asked her for a doctors note which she refused (it was also halloween weekend so her instagram documentation of partying was readily available)… we told her we didn’t think this position was a good fit. She came in to pick up her one days worth of pay, where she told me “I hope YOU get sick this winter and can’t move or work and puke for a week!”… my response was “heck me too, then I’ll get a day off!” For real though. I would take a real sick day lol lucky for my business I have the immune system of a champion hah!
One of the greatest employee’s I have found this year has become my first ever bakery manager! Lisa is the greatest. She started as barista and now she’s a bossy lady who knows every aspect of the bakery, she really is a blessing. One of my favorite lisa stories was when she had to go interview a boy… which is rare at a bakery… and she said “man, I don’t know that I can interview a guy with a beard.. i just want to stare at it. This must be what guys feel like when they talk to girls with boobs hanging out”… HAHA I seriously can’t even. Laughs for days.
Sometimes we get so tired from the occasional all nighter, or clopening (closing shift followed by an opening shift the next morning), that once I went through the drive thru at chick-fil-a and ordered the “pomeranian” sauce instead of the polynesian… true story.
2. Interviewing is an art..
I feel like I actually get more nervous before an interview than the actual interview-ee. Especially if they follow us on social media.. mostly because people tend to think we are way cooler than we are. We get a lot of “this just seems like the happiest place to work ever! Everyone is always SO happy!’….. crickets. hahahah my fiance would say “we work really hard to make it seem that way”… lol While most of the time, we really have worked damn hard to make sure our team is freakin’ clock work, awesome-sauce, friendly, team oriented and badass amazingly talented all at once.. but people dont see that our work space right now is like… an 8 by 8 foot box. HA! We crank out more cookies than most factories in our tiny space and some days a decorator will walk in and say “no one talk until 10..” hahaha bakery truth. But the great thing is it forces us to become a tight knit group of friends. You dont want to talk till 10? Fine. but after that it’s fair game for us to bombard you with questions about your boyfriend, your mom, and the period you had last month until you are happy again… wish I was lying on that one.
We also like to participate in things such as the BFTC competitions… stands for the “Boyfriend text competition”. This year at valentines day, me, lisa, and Meggles were decorating into the night, it was at least 9 or 10 and we started wondering when our boyfriends/husbands were going to ask where we were. I think it was Meggles who won with the first text being “So can I eat without you?” hahahah men.
We get such an oddball mix of people, and what can we say, we ARE in Austin, Texas… but the best employee paperwork I ever received… On their I9 under “special instructions” they wrote “Don’t feed after midnight”. Now there’s a good hire if I ever saw one.
Working interviews with new Decorators is Kind of like asking a lady if they are pregnant. “OOh I LOVE that frog, how cute!”….. “that’s not a frog, that’s a tree”… ooooh… 😡
Once I posted an ad, looking to hire “top tier decorating talent” and received just a one line email stating, “I’ve covered a cake in frosting before, please give me a shot”.. part of me wanted to delete it, yet part of me wanted to give this person a shot! lol, that’s about as wild and adventurous as thehayleycakes gets these days.
3. Customer Service is a terrifying yet hilarious mix of emotions.
I don’t want to rant too much about some strange customers, because lets face it, my customers are the greatest bunch of people. Seriously, I am continually amazed at how some of them have stayed with me through YEARS of change and I can’t even put into words how THANKFUL I am that they have supported me this far. However we can all get a few laughs from the mis-haps of the year…
-Christmas can bring out some stress, we do understand. the best quote from christmas this year was from a last minute order, a woman had forgotten to order cookies and needed some for the next day. I believe the voicemail we received after we told her we could not fit her order in said something like “ I dont think you understand that SANTA is coming to my house tomorrow!”… well… you are correct, I did NOT understand that… if it is for THE santa.. I’ll do it.
– Graduation is a BIG deal y’all. Like huge. Even bigger deal is the graduation cake… We had an order for a graduation cake with a 3D graduation hat on top. We had it ready but when the customer came to pick it up she said she “Literally hated it. The entire cake.” Some specifics were that the hat on top was too small and she wanted stripes instead of dots. We said we could re-make it for her and she could pick up in a few hours… Get ready. Best story ever…. She shows up a few minutes early and we still had the old cake in the display fridge. She walks in and shouts “OMG ITS PERFECT!!!! Ya’ll outdid yourself, I love it thank you!” … and for real for real.. walks out with the original cake. Yup.
-Female business is a business. So nasty as it is, someone ordered some lady parts… to give to her gynocologist. Seeing as we make plenty of weiners for bachelorette parties, we figured it was only fair. So we did it. However when she showed up, she said “these just don’t look right… the craftsmanship just isn’t where it should be”…. I had to stand up there, next to my vagina cookies, and tell her “I don’t know what yours looks like… but I stand by my work here”… HAHAHA kid you not. Once I packaged them in pretty pink ribboned boxes the problem was fixed… presentation is key ladies… take note on that one lol
-Speaking of female business… we have to laugh because anytime one of the girls, even my mom, tries to handle a customer service issue, the customers want NO part of that. As soon as Mason, my fiancé steps in, it’s nothing but “oh mason thank you so much, It really is no big deal I just wanted to tell you guys so this could be fixed, I just love y’all”…. Really? Because a second ago you literally just called my manager satan. lol
4. Reality is…
After you have slaved over 4 billion cookies and making one more seems impossible, when you make too fast of a turn and hear a loud plop on the floor, your first thought is “Oh thank GOD that is just my $400 phone and not that cookie!” hahahah
I really couldn’t be happier with where the business is now. We are working on finding a bigger space, I know this next year things are seriously just going to explode even more. I know I touched on my family a little, but they really don’t get the credit they deserve. I remember growing up, my oldest brother Chase was ALWAYS drawing, my mom would always talk about how artistic he was and I would try to be just like that. We painted my room one summer and I kept asking chase to pleaseeeee get some black paint and draw his doodle flowery-vines around the top of the room. Finally he came down stairs and looked at what I was sketching on a kitchen napkin and said something like “I don’t know why you want me to do it, yours are just as good.” I’ll never forget, i felt like a million bucks. Now he is married, and his wife still lets him come help me every week. The middle child, Hayden, is busy working on digital stuff for us, and is constantly on call when we need him. He had a sweet baby, Hensley, who usually is eating sprinkles from a gallon jug anytime they are around. My dad is usually at home in Houston telling me not to fire everyone, asking me why I haven’t gotten their employee handbooks returned and sending out paychecks. He is the strategist, and the mediator lol! Lastly my beautiful mom… She has taken a few beatings from unruly customers, a lot of things that were my fault. I have walked up front and seen her holding hands and praying for customers. She will do anything and everything, whether it’s finding me something healthy to eat so I don’t get stuck with cookies for lunch, or helping package a 10,000 cookie order for shipping late into the night. SHE is my gift from heaven.
Finally I just have to say THANKYOU to everyone who even reads my posts, on this or any other form of social media. and THANKYOU to my staff and team who this year have actually kept me sane.. lol. I would make cookies overnight for the next ten years if it meant that I could stay as happy as I am right now. Here’s to many many many more years to come.