Something happened to me when I was a senior in college. Suddenly, every time I stepped into a cafe or a gift shop, I had this nagging desire to open my own establishment. I wanted to open a little cafe that would be part coffee shop, part gift shop selling handmade and artisan products from my favorite Etsy sellers. I wanted to host special events like trivia nights, or jewelry-making classes, or a book club. I daydreamed about the idea and romanticized it to no end. I told my mom it was something I wanted to do: work really hard and save up money, then quit my day job, open a cafe, and work for myself. Long story short, that's how Hester & Pearl began. My mom wanted to sell her baked goods and I wanted to run a business.
I graduated college. Within several months of the Commencement I got a "real job" that pays me a livable salary and gives me health benefits. I started thinking about moving out. New York City was (and still is) beckoning me back into its loving arms. All of these things were happening while my mom and I were building Hester & Pearl into what it is now: a profitable home-baking business.
As for me, I was experiencing inner turmoil every day. Over the past year and a half, I had worked so hard to build H&P, and a part of me still held on to that dream of being my own boss. But I also really wanted to move back to the city and be near my friends and not waste twenty hours a week commuting to work. I felt guilty. I felt that if I told my mom what I was feeling, what I really wanted, and how my dreams had changed, I would disappoint her. But when we were approached with a handful of opportunities to take H&P to a whole new level, we sat down and talked.
To my relief, my mom was feeling the same way. We had dreams of moving into a commercial kitchen before the ultimate goal of opening the cafe. But here's the thing: the more we grew, the more we both realized that maybe we loved the idea of having a business more than actually running it. We realized that we couldn't handle any more growth. We didn't want to handle any more growth. My mom, who has been retired for two years now, realized that while she likes to keep busy, she wasn't willing to sacrifice all of her free time.
Will I one day run a cafe? Will one day my Etsy shop take off in a way I never imagined? I don't know. I'm not sure where my life is going to take me. What I do know is that I'm very happy setting up a table at the farmers market every Saturday, and enjoying some sun.
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