A new start

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by w.debord, Jan 18, 2003.

  1. w.debord

    w.debord

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    I'm back from vacation and excited to start my new "job". I mentioned I was going to work toward becoming a partner in an existing small/new bakery. I've always wanted to have a bakery .....but I KNOW I can't do it alone and really don't want to do it alone! My hubby wasn't supportive of my previous attempt, so I stopped it before I made any investments. (May sound weird to some of you. But I respect my marriage and hubbys thoughts...we don't make investments or go down life changing paths unless we're BOTH in agreement) This time, going in with an existing business brings reality and opportunity into focus for him and I believe he's on board with the plan.

    The imediate plan: work with Cindy (who started this bakery) for a couple months to see if we work well together before we draw up any contracts.

    It's a risk for both of us, opening up to each other and putting forth our best efforts knowing that nothing will remain "your own". My recipes will be hers and visa versa. My contacts will be hers, her contacts will be mine, etc...

    I have nothing to loose. I retain my job experiences and ability to seek future employement if this doesn't work. It gives me the opportunity to put some of my dreams and thoughts into action and find out if I can do what I think I can do. Let's me chase a dream with a partner who can contribute and hopefully will be strong in the areas I am weak and let me help in areas where I am strong and she is weak.

    Why write this? For feedback, thoughts, wisdom from those of you that have ventured down a similar road. Tell me where the landmines lay and how to approach and pass them with-out stepping on them.... I know partnership is something most of you frown on.....for many reasons. BUT if you did have a partner, what would you tell me to do so that this works successfully?
     
  2. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Wendy,

    Congratulations and good luck!!

    My grandfather owned a few bakeries,almost 70 years before he retired.

    He started on his own,and as buisness grew he took on a partner. Although I was much to young to remember how this partnership worked,I do know that my grandfathers bakeriers where always busy and they where the best around.

    If you ever have children,remember to let them fill the jelly donuts (thats a job I still cherish to this day with my grandpa)

    Mozet Tov
     
  3. catciao

    catciao

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    Congratulations Wendy. I totally understand and admire the idea of both spouse being in agreement on major life/career changes. It sure makes things easier. I just presented my new business prototype/model to my husband and he finally got what I was trying to explain to him verbally. He is as excited as I am and that just makes me feel even more committed to pulling this off. I, too, am looking at partnering up and although you can spread out certain risks by doing so, partnerships don't always work out. I checked this book out of the library and gave it to my partners as a prerequisite for us to read before we started our business planning phase. It's called, "Let's Go Into Business Together; 8 Secrets to Successful Business Partnering" by Azriela Jaffe. I'm telling you it opened up our eyes quite a bit and made us consider issues NOW before they crept up later. There are also many other books listed in the resources section of the book that you may want to reference as well.

    Good Luck!!
     
  4. momoreg

    momoreg

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    The partner vs. sole proprietor controversy is a very individual thing. Your current opportunity seems to be exactly what you've been after. Even if it doesn't work out (knock wood), what you'll walk away with is a definite idea of what's good and bad about having a business partner. I do hope you have a wonderful, fulfilling, and lucrative experience, with enough free time to stop by here, to let us know how it's going.:)

    The book that catciao recommends sounds helpful.
     
  5. thebighat

    thebighat

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    Have only one question...What's a vacation?

    Actually I have been wondering where you were. I hope this works out for you. I changed jobs a couple of months ago and it is working out in that I have a place to go to earn money every day, but it certainly isn't what I was hired to do. But we're working on that. Good luck.
     
  6. angrychef

    angrychef

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    Wendy, sounds like this is the opportunity you've been waiting for. I do wish you the best in this endeavor----and am crossing my fingers that it will work out for you. It is good and wise that you'll be "testing the waters" before signing the contract. And I'm glad your husband is in full agreement---I wouldn't do it any other way.

    Godd luck and let us know how it develops!
     
  7. panini

    panini

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    partnership! OMG! You are the best!
    The most important part of a partnership is how it will desolve when it's over.
     
  8. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Best of luck Wendy.
    Although I have you in my mind as a "solo artist", I hope that it will turn out for you the way you wish. :)

    Of course I couldn't agree more with what Panini says.
     
  9. m brown

    m brown

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    Sounds groovy! Having opened my own place this past fall and being on my own I can tell you it is tough but rewarding. My advertising is mine, my product is mine, my mistakes and misteps are mine and my good fortune comes from many areas, people and things.

    Partnership is something I looked into and was discouraged by people who did both, partnership and sole propriter and they felt it was better to fly solo. I have backers and advisers, friends and wonderful staff so I don't feel alone. (at 2 in the morning when the butter cream was made with substandard ingredients and had to be passed through a fine chinois, then I felt alone! PS never never never by ingredients that are not 100% even if the price looks good. Lesson learned month 3 in new business.)

    I don't know what the future brings, I have some very nice accounts and more coming this spring so the business is growing each week. Partner, I don't know, maybe a partial??

    I am keeping things low key, by appointment to the public and upscale wholesale. Brides design the just right cake and we make lovely holiday special cookies/favors and truffles.

    In general we bake when a client calls!

    Best of luck to you! If you are both of like mind you will do fine. Go with what you know and do what you do best, don't fear change and embrace new ideas just put your spin on them and soar!
     
  10. isa

    isa

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    I'm sure your bakery will be a success Wendy!


    Congratulations on your new partnership!
     
  11. anneke

    anneke

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    Wendy, congratulations! This is wonderful news, especially for those of us who live vicariously through you. We're rooting for you girl!
     
  12. momoreg

    momoreg

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    Wendy,
    Just curious...What's been happening with your new venture?
     
  13. w.debord

    w.debord

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    The partnership venture failed awhile ago. It only lasted about about 6 weeks. I'm long onto my next venture.

    What happened: (lots of little things daily) and a couple bigger flags.

    Anyway the final blow was over me wanting to continue my relationship with my last employeer. After I left the last club I was at, the owner asked me if I'd continue making her sweet tables and desserts for their major events (about a dozen or so thru out the year). I definately want to! So I'm doing their Easter Buffet this week and they're my first "freelance" job.

    So what I'm on to now is marketing myself as a freelance pastry chef. I work in their (anyone who needs me) kitchen using their ingredients. I bring my own specialty baking equipment. They hire me as a part-time employee paying me an hourly wage. I do anything pastry-wise from making their banquet desserts to consulting, teaching and some graphic arts work. (Obviously there's more to this, but that the basics). I won't get any benifits this way, but I'm asking for a higher wage to compensate so I can provide these for myself.

    I've been waiting for this Easter week to happen before I actually do market myself. I want to see if I need to make any adjustments before I make promises.

    I do my best to adjust.........sometimes it's frustrating but when life gives me lemons I do my best to make lemon sorbet :D .
     
  14. panini

    panini

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    Do you travel?? I've got 10 bucks an hour burning a hole in my pocket.
    Sounds like a good idea. I think it would be kind of fun to get a couple of properties or restaurants and maybe go in one or two days a week. Good luck.
     
  15. angrychef

    angrychef

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    Wendy, I wish you the best on your freelance pastry career!
    I am sorry the partnership thing did not work out. Would you be able to elaborate on key points why it didn't work out? PM me if you'd like. My husband and I are currently taking a small business course series----hopefully sometime in the fututre opening our own little pastryshop. I like to hear the pros and cons of partnership(specially from people that have been through it).
     
  16. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Well, I started to write a reply but it's hard to write with-out offending or placing blame........I'll try, but obviously it's got a HEAVY slant seeing how it's only from my perspective.

    She had a physically established business. It all worked for her, since she set things up. But there were areas I felt needed some serious help. She wasn't cool with the smallest sugestions for changes= conflict. We each had a different list in our minds as to what was "a priority".

    I didn't really know her, how she handles stress, how she spend her money, how she handles employees, how she handles her family life, etc... Yes, we talked about things ahead of time, but we only knew what the other told us about their views (if that makes sense).
    For example: I knew she'd been married before, but it wasn't until after we tried being partners that I found out this is her 4th marriage. How that relates: to me it's a BIG factor (tells me alot), to her that's a unrelated detail.

    What I think is fugal is not what she thinks if fugal, etc.......
    What I thought was wise wasn't what she thought was wise.
    Ultimately we weren't at all able to comunicate then compromise with each other. We thought we had similar goals but the reality was completely different. Example: There were left over bananas one day and I picked them up and said "oh let me make you my banana cake, it's auesome" she replied "why, I'm never going to make a banana cake from scratch" and that was the end of the conversation. We both want "quality" products but we didn't even agree about what fit that description and how we needed to approach production vs quality vs sales vs profitablity.

    She was comfortable writing me a list of products to make daily, then she'd go work in the office. Eventually I had to verbalize that I was here to try out how we work as partners not to see if i could be her employee........I'm sure that offended her, everything we did offended the other.

    We never crossed over into acting like partners. If failed from the first moments.
     
  17. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    Partnerships are difficult at best and get worse from there. As I have said before the only way that a partnership can work is if both partners are incapable of doing it alone. Otherwise, why have a partner. No one in their right mind would give up control of their business optionally. If the person you were working with really needed a partner, she would be stuck with you regardless of whether you agree with them or not.
     
  18. momoreg

    momoreg

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    At least you were aware beforehand that this possibility might exist, and you didn't make any commitments. I was hoping that it'd work out for you, but it sounds like you're content with your current arrangement. It's basically the same thing that I'm doing.

    The place where put in all of my work time is currently in the midst of selling the business. I'm hoping not to lose my position in the process. It's good to have a few gigs at once for that reason. My former boss also went out of business, and I'm hoping to get some work from the person who bought her facility.

    Good for you for not burning your bridges with the club, W!! Who'd've thought they'd come back to haunt you in such a good way!!
     
  19. anna w.

    anna w.

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    W.-
    Just curious- do you think the fact that she had already set it up that you were coming in from a disadvantaged point vs. if you'd have started from scratch together?

    I have to agree with you- the 4th marriage thing says a lot- such as "I'm not so great at being a partner".

    The freelance pastry chef maybe the perfect compromise between being an owner and an employee-
    you still have a little control over your life. Good for you- can't wait to see how it goes.
     
  20. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Anna, I don't think we'd have worked well together from any stage. We're too different in some regards and too similar in others.


    Momoreg, have you ever marketed yourself to places where you didn't have any previous ties? I actually think there should be a huge market for this. What's your opinion and experience?

    I'm really stuck on my wages. When I showed my non-food business freinds my brocure they thought I was priced too low. But I'm think I'm probably asking too much (18.00 per hour)! I'd rather start low and be able to raise my prices eventually vs. turning people off from the start.......you can't retract a brocure and come in lower if no one responds. It would be cool if I could post my brocure and get some feed back, but everytime I try to import it from e-mail the whole program seems to remain attached and it's such a big file it won't work. If anyone can help me, I'd be happy to share what I'd drawn up?????? I'd love some feed back before I stick my neck out there!

    P.S. Thull if your messaging me what we talked about in private messages before, I think it's cool to post in this thread. I'm curious about what you think and I can't get my mail box empty.