Since relaunching The Dessert Place, I often get asked how and why I decided to bring back this business. While I will never forget the exact moment when the idea came together (which happened on this day exactly one year ago), the business is the result of a lot of big changes that happened in my life. So as 2016 comes to a close, I thought I'd take a second to reflect on the last year and share my story with you.
Some of you may be familiar with The Return of Saturn. After approximately 29 years, Saturn nears the same point in the sky as the day you were born. Between the ages of 28-31, it's said that you go through many difficult changes - both personally and professionally - as you enter your "real" adult life and identify the paths you want to pursue. I recently learned of this phenomenon, only after I was in the midst of said changes. All the same, unknowingly and accidentally, Saturn seemed to get a hold of me.
I came home to visit Atlanta last December for the holidays after leaving a long-term relationship. I had been living out in LA, working six+ years in corporate marketing with PepsiCo in NY and CA, and didn't quite know what I wanted for my next step. While out on a winter walk with my mom (she had 10,000 steps to hit!), she told me about a Facebook message that she had received from a total stranger the night before. A woman had tracked her down and asked if she would make the famous Cream Cheese Brownies from The Dessert Place so that she could share them with her friends and family for the holidays. Sheryl didn't even think twice - she was no longer baking for customers, and politely declined as she always did. But I felt so strongly that this woman (and many others who had asked before, as it turns out) needed these baked goods. They were special to her, even twenty years since she'd last had them.
And so began my quest to bring the beloved desserts back to the most loyal and loving fans... I decided to quit my sturdy job (terrifying), move back to Atlanta after being gone since I graduated from high school (I didn't quite feel ready to return), and reopen my mother and godmother's business (a challenge which I was very excited about).
After 6 months of preparation, I officially relaunched The Dessert Place, albeit a bit different with the new e-commerce ways. And while I've worked harder than I ever have before, reviving this business has been extremely rewarding. The phone calls and emails haven't stopped coming in from excited fans who are still finding out that their treasured brand has returned. People continue to share their incredible memories with me, and I'm really only just now beginning to understand how truly special The Dessert Place actually was. The restaurant was a place where people had fun first dates. Where they went after every doctor appointment or on the way home from school. Where they had birthday parties. Where they spent time hanging out and chatting with their elders. Where they went after dinner every weekend and waited in lines out the door. Where they laughed with friends until 2AM after a night out. And where the desserts were really just so damn good...
All of these stories shared and orders placed in the past months have made me realize what a kick-ass business my mom and godmother created so many years ago. As many folks have told me, "To this day, there is still no place like The Dessert Place..."
2016 has been a tough year (for everyone, it seems), with many ups and downs. But one thing that I have absolutely loved is running this business. I feel a closer connection to my parents and godparents by following in their footsteps. While the business is a bit different and created in my own way, I now understand the crazy hours and challenges that my mom and godmother went through at my age. I have a whole new respect for the incredible business that they built so many years ago. And as I adjust to and accept the changes that Saturn has brought about, I'm excited to see what 2017 has in store!
And if pictures are more your thing, here's a more light-hearted review of my past year:
I left my home in beautiful and spunky Venice, CA. Can we all just move back there together, please?!
...and spent some time between NYC and Atlanta while also traveling the world with my bestie (13 countries together and counting). This one was taken in Iceland.
I officially decided to bring The Dessert Place back to life, and spent a lot of time learning from my mom and godmother (pictured below) about the ins and outs of their old business and their legendary recipes.
The day that the website went live, I stayed up until 3AM filling orders. I refused to prepare boxes ahead of time in case no orders came in, but was happily surprised by the result. Thank you to all of my friends for helping to spread the word on social media!
In 2016, I spent countless hours in the kitchen with my mother, perfecting the art of the Cream Cheese Brownie. We had a minor flour explosion in our early lessons. I think I've more than made up for the time we didn't spend together in all of the years that I lived out of state.
We baked more than 13,000 Cream Cheese Brownies in 2016! I think I can officially say I'm a pro. And also officially addicted to CCBs. How are they still so good every single day!?!?
I had a blast sharing the news that The Dessert Place was really back! And hearing from all of the old fans :)
The holidays rolled around, and I had more orders than I knew what to do with! This is the best kind of problem to have in business so I'm certainly not complaining (shout out to everyone who has ordered!).
Friends and family members pitched in to help me make it through my first holiday season (thank you!!!). It turns out, old customers REALLY remembered and loved The Dessert Place and wanted to share the goodies with everyone as gifts for the holidays!
[Pictured below: just a few of those who helped out]
So...peace out, 2016! Here's to a great New Year!
[The photo below was taken after eye surgery. I had to make brownies to keep up with demand, but could hardly see...running a business is not all glamour, but it sure is a wild ride. It's safe to say Sheryl did most of the work baking this day.]