Yesterday I announced the start of Sweetheart Summer: a new program that allows you to enjoy different Sweetheart Vegan Bakery treats delivered to your door each week this summer.
In my video explaining how the program works, I mentioned that I’d follow up with a blog post explaining the inspiration for this program and some of the behind-the-scenes work that’s gone into it so far. It’s important to me to communicate with my customers and community and keep you in the loop on the development of this tiny business that YOU have helped build from the ground up over the last year.
So here are the reasons behind Sweetheart Summer:
- Less is more
Let’s start with the biggest one: My menu has just been too big up until now. And I’m learning that this just isn’t sustainable. It’s not possible to do so many different types of pastries and baked goods at the same time and do them all really well (at least not without sacrificing sleep and sanity). It’s honestly been really exhausting to try and do that, and it makes me less excited to get up in the morning and do what I love doing, which is baking. While I never went into this business expecting to make money, I have depleted myself trying to keep it running up to my standards. I’m NOT a fan of grind culture, and while I admire the small business owners who are able to put their heart and soul into their work 24/7 (or at least make it look that way on social media), I’m just not up for that.
- Too many choices in life
I’ve also learned in conversations with people that sometimes customers actually PREFER having fewer choices. Life is overwhelming and fraught with constant decisions, big and small. Sometimes being offered a smaller, curated set of choices can be freeing.
- Finally showing some love to the single cat ladies who just want 2 muffins
One of the biggest limitations of Sweetheart Vegan Bakery so far has been that customers have to order full batches of items. This is related to what I think is one of the business’s biggest strengths: that everything is made fresh to order. But it also means that I haven’t been able in the past to just sell you one or two cupcakes or cookies if that’s what you want. You’ve had to buy a full batch because I didn’t have a way of selling the leftovers from that batch.
- Summer is weird
People keep different schedules during summer, they go out of town, and they don’t really behave as consumers the same way they do the rest of the year. It’s also a time when bakers are at the mercy of weather conditions. Sometimes it’s just too hot and humid to make certain treats (like chocolate!). If you’ve ever watched the Great British Bake Off, I’m sure you understand…and while I don’t work in a tent barely sheltered from light, idyllic English rain showers, I also don’t bake in a perfectly temperature-controlled environment (it’s just my apartment, after all!). So I think summer is the perfect time to try something new, offer more flexibility to customers, and really celebrate seasonal flavors.
- Experimentation is good
As a young business, I think it’s really important not to get locked into the first business model I tried (especially since I don’t have any type of business background, lol). Something I learned from the awesome students I worked with in my past life at Olin College of Engineering is that experimentation is good. Continuing to do something just because it’s the way you’ve always done it is rarely a good idea, and there’s no shame in continuing to work on and refine your process over time.
So basically that’s what’s going on! In addition to Sweetheart Summer, you can also find me at the Belmont Farmers' Market every other Thursday, and I’ll also offer a scaled-down special order menu for your parties and special events this summer. I have no idea how this experiment will go, but I appreciate everyone who’s along for the ride!