Today we sampled a Bacon Dutch Apple pie to customers who visited PJP Buttonwood. Overall, the reactions varied from "OMG...Yes, Please!" to "Meh" and everything in-between. Jeanne has been on a bit of a creative streak over the last week, working on new ideas for fall pies. And while this will likely make you jealous, I'll tell you that we had an AH-MAZ-ING chicken pot pie for dinner tonight that she made this afternoon at PJP Buttonwood. Our goal is to offer savory pies sooner rather than later and well, we needed to sample on ourselves first, right? If we were pie billionaires, Jeanne would likely spend her days in the PJP Test Kitchen (housed inside the PJP Logistics building where coffee and white wine flow like water). She would create and test new recipes for the possible addition to the PJP product line. And while she measured away in her slung-up, no-dollar-spared commercial kitchen, I would spend my day writing for the blog, for a PJP cookbook, for a PJP memoir (tentatively titled "Who Is Hashtag Again?" Collected Stories of Working With Your Mother), and for all things PJP social media while listening to The Avett Brothers and enjoying freshly brewed coffee prepared and delivered to me by someone besides myself.
While the test baking, the blogging, and the social media interaction is happening on a regular basis now, it certainly isn't our main focus each day. The main focus is how to plan, prepare, and bake enough pies to stock PJP Buttonwood each day...and that focus is relentless. We feel the constant battle between our creative forces and the realistic demands of having enough pie in store to make our customers happy and our bills paid. And none of this really means anything in particular except that it is notable that we are recognizing this tension...I think it means we are maturing in some way, no matter how small.
It would so very easy to make PJP our real-life playhouse of whatever we like to do all day...Jeanne baking and my writing until content. Without question, falling down the rabbit hole of doing our favorite things in the name of doing them for the business is a temptation that is never far away. Likewise, on the other end of the spectrum, baking pies with absolutely no focus on our creativity is a path just as dangerous. And so like so many other things in our world, finding the right balance is key.
So how exactly do you strike the right balance?
Seriously. I have no idea. We could add more staff and that staff could bake for the store while we pursued creative endeavors. But more staff requires more payroll. And more payroll requires more money. And more money requires more sales and less expenses. And less expenses requires less payroll. And OH MY GOSH, I'M OVERWHELMED AND HAVE GIVEN MYSELF A HEADACHE AND I'M SHOUTING AT YOU.
So, I don't have any answers. I just wanted to give our musings some validation by giving them words and sending the out into the great void of the Internet where they will live on until someone reads this and understands exactly how we feel.
Imagine if I had all day to write about this.