Planning is underway and has been for weeks. I've been through cupcake trials, cake pop trials, trials for frosting, trials for paint colour. Being currently unemployed as I am (by choice thankfully) I have possibly spent a touch too much time turning this whole market thing into a far far bigger deal than it actually may be. But that's because I am crazy excited about it.
I mean, this is me, putting myself out there, selling my wares. I'm saying to people 'hey, look at what I made' and THEN I am asking them to handover money for it. I am basically stating, in a very sweet, innocuous way, that I can make a better cake than you...which in this country jam packed full of well-practised bakers with very specific and steadfast palates is a really cocky thing to do. And I'm not a cocky person. Maybe it doesn't show on the outside but I am a girl who very much gets herself into a tangle of fears and anxieties. I genuinely don't believe I can make a better cake than you. But I have decided that I am going to try really hard. Because I love baking and want to be really good at it.
Starting up my own business - oh hang on! News flash! I've started my own business which has been keeping me rather busy. So busy that I haven't posted about it. Shame on me. It's called Spongedrop - but let's hold those details for another post.
Starting my own business is (surprise surprise) a really personal thing to do. You're backing yourself. And you are asking to be judged. And judged you will be. I feel a lot of pressure to be perfect straight off the bat. I need to keep reminding myself that this is unrealistic.
Now, everytime I bake, I feel as though people are expecting so much more than they used to. Before they would just appreciate the gesture but now it has to be something truly great. Which, in all honesty, it's not always going to be. I have to test recipes. And I am really not a food waster - I can't bake something and then bin it if it's not right. So forgive me people if every now and then, something just a little average comes your way. I hope I don't charge you for it.
I recently baked cookies to take to a friend who had just given birth. Being disorganised I had lost the recipe I intended to use so tried a new one. Unchartered territory. I gave those cookies to my friend thinking 'God I hope she doesn't judge all my baking on those'. If I step back from the situation, she was probably just happy to have something that wasn't hospital made and, given that she had just had a baby, I'm sure she had other things on her mind.
Another fear lurking about, is that there is a group of mahjong playing ladies who have written my cupcakes off without a fair trial.
These are the things that whirl about in my head. They make me scared. They make me unsure. But they also make me feel challenged. And after some mulling, more determined. It's common for me to feed my insecurities by picking up on tiny criticisms and taking them so much to heart that I can't see the benefits that could come from them. I'm trying to change this. Self doubt is natural, and something I am naturally inclined towards. What I need to remind myself is that I am not trying to be, nor will I ever be, 'perfect' - no matter how skilled I get or how many cakes I bake there is always room for improvement, for new techniques to be learned, flavours to be tasted. There will always be people who don't like what you do, or just plain don't like you. I just have to do my best and keep learning along the way. I am not a trained professional baker but that doesn't mean I don't have the heart, the wherewithal and the tenacity to learn to be a great baker.
What I do know is that I will be my own harshest critic if I don't try.
So... emotions aside and back to the point of this post! Spongedrop will be launching with a great deal of enthusiasm, passion and a healthy dose of nerves this weekend so PLEASE, come rain or shine, pop by, say hello and try my cakes. I do believe they are good. Not perfect, but definitely good.