Wherein I willingly subject myself to needles in my ears
It's not you, it's me

An update on that crazypants bakery idea, oh yes

Were you wondering about the status of Katie, Formerly Known As The FPC, and Maggie's Mom-Friendly Cafe? (Just say yes.) Well, we're still thinking about it. And talking about it. And not entirely sure what to do next. 

We've tweaked the vision a tiny bit. Based on the fact that all the play cafes I know about either charge to play or have gone out of business, I suspect it's not a super great way to make money. We are NOT charging to play in our space. The end. Other things we don't want to do: tout our playspace as educational, host child development workshops, look like a preschool, etc. What Katie wants to do is own a bakery. What I want to do is be a welcoming community space. And eat baked goods. 

So now I'm looking at straight up bakery business plans. A bakery with space to play. It would have to get by on being a bakery, but it would (hopefully) be KNOWN as a great place to go with your kids. I think we're dialing back the cafe aspect - the lunch menu and all that - but ramping up the treats, the special orders, the quality. It might not be as BIG as I once envisioned (I've been looking at rents!) but it would still be a space that obviously and cheerfully welcomes little kids - I'm still hoping for designated play areas, as well as kid-sized tables and chairs, art supplies, books, puzzles, train tables, all that. 

A lot of the local cafes with designated kid space get their baked goods elsewhere. We would be ALL ABOUT the baked goods. And Katie and I are both surprised at how many local bakeries/cafes don't make an effort to be PRETTY. We would concentrate a lot on display. We aren't into the "adorability" factor, a'la a certain local cupcake shop, but we like their bright cleanliness, their devotion to a Look, the way they get you to pay up to $10 a cupcake (NO LIE) because of the LOOK.

I'm still mulling over what exactly our brand would be, but something bright, modern, clean, consistent. We'd want people to feel like they're in a special Land of Deliciousness when they step into our store. It's not a cutesy cupcake shop, it's not a froofy vintage storefront where the barista is wearing an Anthropologie apron, it's not a serious coffee Seattle coffee shop, it's not a no-frills all-we-do-is-freaking-amazing-cake shop, it's not a birthday cake orders machine - it's... I want it to be like your best friend who makes amazing creative birthday cakes for her kids and doesn't mind getting out the poster paints. She's classy, busy, on the ball, smart, organized, has excellent taste, her scones are to die for, and she totally doesn't care if your kids destroy her house during a playdate. She WANTS your kids to have a good time. And she wants you to have seconds and pours more coffee while you tell her all about the preschool drama. Do you get the feel I'm shooting for? Yes, that table right there is for your kids to go crazy with stamps and markers and why don't you stick your toddler in this little enclosed area and here's a plate of puffed pastry amazingness and a giant latte because you deserve a break. And why don't you order that baby shower cake while you're at it? (I'm practicing for my business plan. (Ha. Have you looked at business plans? I'm not sure most of the ones I've looked at are even written in English. INTIMIDATING.))

For locals, I think I want a North Seattle bakery that could easily slide into a U Village retail spot. But won't. Because it loves North Seattle and all its friends live up there. Like, that's how you feel when you walk in. "Oh, this is so cute! AND IT'S NEAR ME!" I THINK. For now. The vision, it is fluid!

I suppose other people would concentrate on the baked items. That's Katie's department. I'm just sitting here thinking about FEELINGS.

Also, I suppose all of you are thinking, "THIS is never going to happen!" That's what I think most of the time too. But then sometimes I think WAIT IT JUST MIGHT.

I am reading an EXCELLENT war book right now. I'll tell you about it later. I have no business reading anyway, seeing as how I have nine million things to do before we (drum roll) get on a plane to Mexico Saturday morning. (And as soon as we get home, like, THE NEXT DAY, we are having long term-ish house guests. Oh dear God. I need to be doing All The Laundry.)

 

 

Comments

Steph

This is so exciting! I really need to find something for myself that I can get excited about. I'd love to visit a place just like this! I hope it all works out.

mona

If you build it, I WILL BE THERE, EATING ALL THE GOODS, likely forgetting my kids are there, but you'll have a playspace so they'll have something to do while mommy is EATING.

Emily

I just wish I could be in on it! As you know, however, I'm an IDEAS person and not a FOLLOW-THROUGH person. (Major downfall.)

I don't see where this could go wrong, honestly. You work hard, you have a seriously capable brain and a seriously capable to bake sister. Can I borrow $20 when you strike it rich?

Katie

Wish I lived in Seattle, sounds amazing and just the thing a SAHM would looooove spend time at to break up the day and get some socialization for me and the kiddo.

Beth

I know someone who has written for Red Wagon in Seattle. If it gets up and running, I can send her your way.

katie

Your bakery sounds SO dreamy for the mom with child under 18 mo. or over 4yrs. Once mine hit the 18 mo. mark they almost never sat still, instead climbing on everything, opening and emptying cabinets and defiantly shouting NO! NO! NO! - Right now we're having daily battles with wrestling Mallory into her highchair to sit for 5 minutes and eat dinner with the rest of the family. (when all else fails we ply her with chips and ice cream for dinner)

So here's an idea: what about looking into renting space near or even inside a park? Moms can pop in and grab a sweat treat to nibble on while the energizer bunny toddlers run/climb to their hearts content. Maybe its a Milwaukee thing, but the Milwaukee Parks System is low on funds just to keep parks properly maintained. One source of revenue has been renting out a small portion of park land to small businesses (like coffee/ice cream/burger/kite shops).
And if that's not feasible, perhaps look for space close to a school? Moms can stop in before/after drop-off/pick-up.

Jennifer

There is a café by our house that is mostly coffee shop and also sells pastries and sandwiches (not sure if they bake the pastries). It has a little play area that my kids love -- but seriously, really small. It's got like a little half fence around it and is in a little nook. They have a wall painted with cute kid quotes and a bunch of toys (kitchen sets and bins of toys). It has been in business the whole time we've lived here (8 years). It's connected to a bank. Like in the lobby space sortof. Anyway, just a thought. This is outside Kansas City. LOVE your vision :)

HereWeGoAJen

This sounds like the best thing ever. I want to go here.

Pippi

AWESOME idea! We had a place like that where I live in Vancouver. It was a cafe run by a pastry chef with the best muffins I have ever tasted. It was constantly busy. The only reason it didn't succeed was because the landlord jacked the rent up 300% -- no joke. Be careful when you're negotiating that stuff. But the entire community pulled together when they announced they had to close and I think we've convinced her to reopen in another location. Your idea is golden. Go for it!

Rich

There is a place by us that does this, it really works well

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