Today I woke up and thought the thing that everyone else has been thinking since we started this crazy talk: why don't we start SMALL?!
You guys, I don't know why I didn't automatically start there. Honestly. Something's off in my head, you know that right? I think part of it was/is my commitment to the PHYSICAL SPACE of this bakery, that being the major selling point for me and the most exciting aspect of its creation. The SPACE where people will GATHER. "Starting small" meant basically starting without a space and that was... not inspiring to me, I guess. The other thing is that a year or two ago I helped Katie investigate whether she could start selling product at farmers markets and discovered a whole slew of bureaucracy and red tape. It was seriously disappointing, frustrating, and balloon-popping. Basically you couldn't sell anything edible unless it was made in a commercial kitchen. And since hardly anyone has a commercial kitchen at home, you'd have to rent space, which meant finding the money, committing to a schedule, and finding childcare. HAR HAR, WASHINGTON STATE! Way to encourage small business!
Then the Cottage Food Act was passed this summer, allowing people making and selling "low risk" food to make those products at home in their normal person kitchens. I KNEW about the Cottage Food Act. I was AWARE. And yet I still didn't think too much about it because: THE SPACE! This was originally a coffee shop in my head, all about the moms needing a place to go when it's pouring down rain and the option to buy a kid-sized muffin instead of a massive M&M cookie. (Although we are still going to have M&M cookies. You betcha.)
So this morning, when I drove myself over to Katie's and announced "WE SHOULD DO THIS!" Katie was all, "Uh, yeah, that's kind of what I suggested a while back"... which makes you sort of wonder why she has potentially gone into business with me in the first place. I apologized for the amount of time my brain requires to wrap itself around something. At least I know how to make spreadsheets, right? She DOES need me.
Honestly, I think it was processing everything with you guys here, and people saying "why don't you start small" in their various helpful ways over and over and also whoever it was who said "and then you'd have a customer base when you're ready to launch the Kickstarter campaign!" I don't know. It all clicked. Or maybe not "clicked" so much as "got me pumped" when I wasn't before. Maybe it was getting sunk in the Omg This Opening A Store Thing Is Really Overwhelming or the impatience of wanting to start SOMETHING already. It's not a separate idea, it's the path to the Main Idea. (You: DUH. Me: I KNOW.)
WHATEVER THE REASON, this is now The Real Deal. For reals. We are doing this. We may not have a space or a storefront and may not have one in the near future (or ever?! perish the thought!) BUT! Katie quit her half time job baking for someone else and now she's going to do it for herself. She's been baking on the side for a while anyway, but now she'll be doing it with a company name, business cards, a website, a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a business license, and a sister who makes up for her lack of know how and common sense with massive amounts of optimism and enthusiasm.
So of course today I dove headfirst into logos and business card design and brushing off the web design skills (all two of them) and then hit my head on the bottom of the LLC and business license pool. BLARGH. We did an LLC for the Blathering and I forgot how much it cost us. I am not up for spending THAT much money quite yet. Applying for a Cottage Food license is $230, but before I do that I have to apply for a business license ($15) and before I do that I have to figure out our ownership structure, which is definitely an LLC, but starting one of those is looking like an extra $400 or so shelled out to Legal Zoom. HOW DOES ANYONE START A BUSINESS OMGGGGG. This morning I was all, "We will get it all figured out and aboveboard and pay our taxes and it will be PRACTICE!" and now I'm all, "Um. Cash only?"
Can I just print business cards and start a witty Twitter account? Can't I just do that part?