As far as I can tell, the goals of the first year of running a business and the first year of parenthood are one and the same: survival. My daughter is almost six months older than our brick and mortar shop, and over the past 365 days, there have been highs, lows, smiles, laughter, tears, and countless kisses and neverending cuddles.
Over the past 365 days – 525,600 minutes – I practiced the art of multitasking; I also tried harder to be present in the moment. 525,600 minutes flies by, and each moment with my daughter, with my husband, or by myself dipping truffles, is precious. I took part a lot of business meetings while breastfeeding, or with a waving, smiling, sometimes crying infant; or more recently holding a toddler giggling: “Mama, more.” Often these meetings led to beautiful collaborations or partnerships, such as the one with Living Roots, (who joined us for our anniversary celebration on Saturday!) This past spring, a series of meetings with three infants and occasionally an attorney resulted in a life-changing partnership with Karla and Allison: my friends, my village, and now my business partners.
Over the past year, I have dipped thousands of truffles, taught hundreds of people about the story of chocolate and how to make chocolate; I’ve met countless customers, moms and babies. I’m learning how to say no when it’s necessary and I push myself out of my comfort zone every day.
One year ago this week, with the invaluable support of my husband, family, co-worker (turned business partner) and the community, I was frantically preparing for a grand opening of a brick and mortar shop and aiming to save the world with chocolate. I had no idea what I had jumped into, and was unaware of all of the ways my world would change in the course of one year. I am so proud to have founded this business, and (now with my incredible partners) own a business that truly works each and every day to save the world with chocolate with our toddlers on our laps.
Entering our second year, we have amazing things planned. We are continuing to stand by our morals and values, and our high quality. We are launching new Bean to Bar Chocolate workshops, bringing in international guests and perspectives to Rochester, and reaching out to the community in new innovative ways. We are also planning travel for new chocolate adventures and education!
One year later, we are doing more than surviving. Both parenthood and running a business are getting easier – either that, or I’m becoming more comfortable in my new roles. That, and I have a village supporting me. There are new challenges, and I am confident that I will rise to the occasion, progressing Laughing Gull Chocolates, and continuing to be the best mom I can be.