Have you ever been driving and you are stuck in traffic (if you are a Sydney-sider – of course you have!) and the vehicle is on a slight incline so you put on the hand brake and take your foot off the brake pedal. Then you “feel” yourself moving, sliding slightly backwards? So you quickly look down to check the hand brake is actually on.
You realise that it’s not actually you that’s moving – it is the rather large and ungainly truck beside you, edging forward! A moment of pure relief, that your vehicle hasn’t had a catastrophic malfunction – but you flick your eye between the truck and the hand brake anyway.
A trick of the eyes? A blip in the grey matter? I don’t know.
But sometimes, that’s how I feel with Luscious. I keep checking to see if the hand brake is on.
At a darker time I was going to call this post “Fight or Flight”! When I began to write it was at the end of a very long day, at the end of a very long couple of days! At the end of a very long month! I was down in the dumps. I hadn’t been sleeping very much and I hadn’t felt very hungry either (very unusual for me). I’d just picked up two new wholesale customers and then a rather large customer stops ordering all together – no explanation. Won’t return calls.
Is the hand brake on?
Some days, I feel like I am just peddling away, but not getting anywhere – like when you are on an exercise bike!
Frustration, I have found, can be my worst enemy!
But I do ask you. How long do you fight, before you take flight?
I was having a chat with a chap that wandered into the shop early one morning. He owns a café not too far away and he told me I had dropped some samples in for him to try, in the hopes that he may become a wholesale customer.
So I asked him point-blank, what did he think? You know what he said? “They were alright”.
Alright? Alright? I was annoyed. Hurt. Insulted.
But then I thought hang on – you asked him ya ninny! Not everyone is going to love my lamingtons – I get that. He also went on to say that they make all of their own products, because then they know what is in them. Was that a veiled insult too? What does he think I’m going to put in them? Cyanide? Rat bait?
I am a proud woman. If I didn’t make a good product – I wouldn’t be able to hold my head up! I wouldn’t be able to look in the mirror in the morning!
But I did get upset. Do I take it too personally?
How can I not take it personally when I have put my heart and soul into the creation of Luscious! How can I not take it personally, when it is my efforts, sweat and yes – tears, that have gone into my creations (not literally in the cakes I can assure you)! How can I not take it personally when I have put everything else in my life in second place to Luscious?
Is that my hand brake? Ego?
Pride goeth before the fall they say…but it’s not pride like “I’m so freaken’ good”. It’s more like – if I wouldn’t eat it, then I wouldn’t sell it!
Every week I am out there pushing my wares. Every week I drop off samples & talk Luscious until I am pink in the face. Every week I am trying, trying & trying. And yet… is the hand brake on?
So, I return to my original question…how long do you fight before you take flight?
If you don’t fight, how can you ever win?
Friday the 6th April was a year to the day since I “launched” Luscious on the unsuspecting people of the northern beaches. It was at the very popular Beaches Market at Rat Park on Good Friday. I remember the day vividly, as it was a crystal clear day and hot for April – 28 degrees by 10am!
I had a cracker day and was completely exhausted by the time I sold my last lamington. It wasn’t until I got home that I did a tally of the sales for the day and the end result made me think I was on to a winner! Sadly, those kind of sales have only ever been repeated around Australia Day this year.
To keep the dream alive I’ve sold all my gold jewellery. I’ve “cleaned” house and sold many antiques & “retro” items I had at home. I’ve nearly cleaned out my personal “retirement” fund and I am now looking for a part-time job (if anyone needs a baby sitter – let me know).
I so very much want to show my nieces and nephews that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve anything. This is the way Mum & Dad raised me & the way my sisters raise them. Plus the concept for Luscious came from Lucy! How can I not make this work for her?
Sometimes I try to imagine my life without Luscious. But it would be like losing part of my personality. A personality lobotomy if you like. My alter-ego. She affords me so many liberties! She allows me to be as creative and outrageous as I wish. She allows me flexibility to keep my own hours. She allows me to run my hospitality business as I have always wanted to – my rules. My way with a very personal touch.
I had imagined that being our original Aussie sweet treat that my lamingtons would be popular and that by now, I would at least have a barista and maybe a delivery driver. But maybe that’s just it. Am I thinking too big? Am I thinking too small? Am I ahead of my time? Am I behind the time?
And so it goes…Is the hand brake on?
I am approaching the twelve-month mark of having set up shop here at Brookvale. It seems like the number 12 has been indelibly imprinted on my brain – will things be easier in the 13th month? Or the 14th? It is like if I can get over that 12 month hurdle, things will be a little easier. Will they?
A shop customer – also a local small business owner, once said to me that many small Aussie businesses fail because they give up too soon. I tend to agree. I am not about to give up – that’s not my style.
Two weekends ago, it was pouring with rain. Cats and dogs pouring, coming straight down. It has been a strange couple of weeks, following the Easter long weekend and school holidays. There is no one about. Luscious is empty.
It is times like that when I feel an inconsolable sadness as I look to my carefully handcrafted wares sitting in the display cabinet, just wanting to be tasted, savoured, devoured…
Retrospective glance please Kiki.
I gasp! Look back at where you’ve come from girl! Two years ago, you were miserable, stuck in an office job, in a negative environment, punching upwards all the time, fighting and slogging for “the man”.
Now – I am “the man” – still fighting and slogging, sometimes winning, sometimes loosing. But! And here’s the important thing, perhaps the crux – loving what I do. There is that.