When I am not in the shop...what am I doing?

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If i have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times, " I stopped by your shop the other day and you weren't in there."  I looked in your window and you weren't in your store."  "When are you open?"

It is time to clear the air and get all of this straight!  It seems to me (and my husband) that I work all the time.  But if I am not physically there, what can I be doing?

I have never had a business before and had no idea of the behind the scenes time it takes to run one.  First of all, there is My Web  Site.  I say this with capitals because doing a website is a very frustrating and time consuming task!  Yes, I have a web company who built it.  But through the few years I have had La Dolce Vita, I have needed to make updates and change things.  My website is built so that I should be able to do all of this myself.  HAHAHA  It is not for the faint of heart!  To upload a photo, it first must be uploaded from my camera, or whatever photographic equipment I am taking it with and put on my computer.  Then it must be proportioned to size to fit the specifications of the website and loaded onto their (my) site.  It must be given a title so I know what the heck it is later when I want to add a photo, like I should have done more of here, to make this post more interesting.  Then I must write the post or class or whatever, using my "web editor" program and add the pics where I want.  This is what happens...I write the classes, and I think, "I could use a good photo of baguettes."  So I spend 1/2 hour searching my camera, uploaded I Photos, phone, I pad who knows what to find one.  (yes I have I Cloud, but you know as well as I do that not everything transfers.)  No luck, so I decide to get one off the web.  I try to put it in My Downloads, then transfer it to my website, but it is watermarked so it won't transfer.  So I start over.  now I have spent 45 minutes fooling around with a silly picture and the dogs need to be walked, a shower must be had, and I need to get my day going!  When I have a problem (when don't I?) making changes to the site, I must email them and  wait for them to contact me back.  I used to get a techno-language filled reply, which might as well be Mandarin, and had to write back and forth a million times to get a tiny answer.  Finally, I have my own web person who can actually speak English as well as Techno.  I recently hired someone who is reasonably priced to help me out and be the go-between.  I also write a column for the newspaper every other week.  The News-Sentinel has given me my very own byline, Drop Dead Culinary, so there!  My husband picked the title.  Isn't he super groovy?  To write a column takes quite a bit of time, actually.  Several hours for each one to be almost exact.  I really like to write and I am thankful they want to hear what I have to say.  I have also been doing several t.v. spots, which are fun but a tres amount of work!!!  The food must be made ahead of time and ingedients must be bought to make it again on air.  So each show requires double the amount of food.

 I spend a lot of time doing is talking with clients and vendors.  To plan an event for someone, we often meet in person and go over various ideas, china, linens, etc.  Then I write up a few menus for them to choose from.  They, in turn, choose this or that from each one and we tweak out a great menu for their event.  So if, say, I am doing three showers in one month, as I am in March, then many hours must be spent carefully planning these important days for the clients.  After I receive the guest list, I must hire the correct amount of staff for those days, order the food, shop for the other groceries at a couple of different stores, and begin planning on what day we will make what. If there are other events in the week, such as culinary classes, then those days are off the books and for prep, as they are given over to the classes.

And then there is Uncle Sam.  He must be fed.  Now it is all ONLINE,  Mon Dieu!  Another 45 minutes sitting in front of the computer, filling out forms.  And I must pay all those pesky bills, like water and electricity and vendors, to keep things in the 21st century!

Some recipes are very messy and spurty.  I am talking roasting chicken as an example.  When we made the 200+  chicken pot pies, we roasted all that chicken by hand. You know that pretty French oven in my shop?  It may be gorgeous, but it is not self cleaning.  So we roasted all the 120 lbs of chicken breasts in my home oven, so i could use modern technology and have it clean itself.  (Whoa, which it really needed, FYI!)  On those days, we were working, but not at the shop.  Sometimes if a party is going to be held at my house, and we have done that for certain clients, we might as well make all the food there, instead of transporting it back and forth.

Lastly, I have finally made the decision to carry home making products in the shop.  So to Atlanta I went with some fun friends, spending three days there deciding what to carry and having quite a bit of fun as well.  Now it is trickling in.  Some vendors are more communicative than others and often times I feel I am pulling my hair out to get them to hurry up and send the things I ordered almost 3 months ago!  Some of it is so fabulous!  I am super excited and hope to find out soon from a particular vendor if I am approved to carry something wonderful and lower priced than the Williams Sonoma prices!  I will be able to post about this in a week or two.