One Year

One year ago I started Matchbox Kitchen, the business. I applied for my first craft fair and excitedly (and nervously) got in. This was my first time ever selling food to a complete stranger and I was diving in head first. Sometimes I can’t believe how I got by with so little knowledge, but sometimes it’s better that way.

When I stop and think about how much I’ve done in the past year I can’t help but feel a little proud. But at the same time I know how foolish and naive it was (and still is) of me to start a business without prior knowledge. I’ve never worked in a bakery, in a restaurant, or for another small business. Every mistake I make is a learning experience that costs me money. They say you should work under someone else to make these errors on their dime, and they weren’t kidding.

To say this past year has been fun and rewarding would be glossing over all the stress this business has put me through. It is not easy to wake up every morning not knowing when or where you’re next paycheck is coming. It’s not easy knowing that every decision you make can potentially make or break your future. In fact, I pretty much have a break down every other week wondering if this is what I should be doing or if I should just get a job and work for someone else.

It’s only been these past couple of months that I’ve truly felt the stress of having your own business. I am my own worst critic and can be extremely hard on myself. But I have to remember, I’ve only been doing this for a year! I’ve only been baking cakes since April! Cakes have been such a big part of my business yet I am still so new at it. It’s hard to have perspective when in the back of my mind all I can think about is “how am I going to pay my bills?”

Even after all of this, I’m not ready to give up. I am just about putting my all (emotionally and financially) into Matchbox Kitchen but it is scary. Like everyone else, I am scared of failing. But how will I know if I don’t try? Here’s to risking it all to pursue what I love.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Oni October 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Keep going! I hope some day to taste one of you cakes. I feel you about starting your own business. I have been taking small baby steps to going full hog but haven’t done so yet, so i admire you for your bravery!

cheers
oni

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matchboxkitchen November 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Thank you so much! I honestly don’t feel brave at all, mostly stupid ;)

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rachel October 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm

woo! congrats on one year. (and I agree that sometimes it’s better to do things like this without much prior knowledge… you learn the most from mistakes!) wishing you all the success in the world, sara.

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Debbie October 26, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Oh Sara! Your cakes are beautiful, as you already know. I, too, am feeling the same thing you felt a year ago and continue to feel today. I want to pursue my artistic endeavors on a larger scale, but I’m so afraid of failing. I feel like people only like my work because they’re being nice to me. I’m still doing the 9 to 5:30 right now, and I feel like I’m constantly trying to swim for the surface. I felt so happy for you when you finally made the leap and quit your day job. I’m hoping to do the same too. Money is always the deciding factor, though. I have no safety net, no back-up plan. I plan to start soon though, at least just with an Etsy store. Okay, this is running on too long for a blog comment haha. Peruvian soon!

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matchboxkitchen November 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Debbie! I am not trying to be nice to you (haha) I really do enjoy all the work you’ve been posting on instagram! Please open your Etsy store soon, I have no doubt that you’ll be successful. Just keep on at it!
And about the whole money thing…I worked retail (aka paid in peanuts) and seriously scrimped and saved for 3 years, without a real plan of knowing what I was saving for. After I moved out I couldn’t save as much anymore, but did the math and realized I was putting in over 65% of my paycheck into savings. Not only did it give me a safety net but helped me transition into a more thrifty lifestyle that’s necessary for me right now ;)

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la domestique October 26, 2012 at 5:59 pm

You have so much to be proud of Sara! Congrats on 1 year down, and here’s to much success on the road ahead! Your entrepreneurship is a huge inspiration to me. :)

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ami October 27, 2012 at 2:14 am

Congrats on your one year! I think you are very brave for taking the leap.

I can definitely relate to your struggle, as September marked a year since I left my full-time job. I also have many days when I ask myself if it really is all worth all of the stress and sleepless nights thinking about how I’m going to make it work long term. I’ve given up almost everything for my business, and sometimes I want to bang my head against a wall because it feels like I’m not making any gains.

But I do make gains, and like you, because I’m so hard on myself, I often forget to remember them. I don’t think I could ever have imagined that it would have led me down such an at-times heart-wrenching road, but at same time an insanely fulfilling one too.

I, for one, am rooting for you. Your creations are beautiful, I know that you will make it all work somehow. I just know it.

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Dyan October 27, 2012 at 6:16 am

hi sara, this post was so special and inspiring to read. :) despite all of the blood, sweat, and tears, are you doing it! congrats on matchbox kitchen’s anniversary!

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Natasha October 28, 2012 at 9:49 am

How inspiring! I love it, I am in awe of you, and it is amazing that you’ve built up your own business, from nothing, in the past year. Congratulations! You should be brilliantly proud, and I wish I could do the same thing :-)

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Mallory October 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Congrats on your one year anniversary & surviving all the stress and making it through, Sara! Super-super-congrats.The most important thing is that you’re TRYING. I haven’t really been trying to do the things that I really want, and it’s the worst. Sitting around thinking about the possibility and high probability of failure probably feels worse than actual failure would – at least then I would’ve tried! I need to gather up some courage and do things. Like you! Conquer my version of cakes.

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Jenny @ BAKE October 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm

congratulations!! you’re a real inspiration! I wish I had your nerve, but you’re products are beautiful so you’re bound to succeed!

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margaret October 30, 2012 at 4:21 am

The first year of anything is the hardest. You’ve made it through the worst! Keep on, keeping on :)

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katie October 31, 2012 at 12:01 am

sara, congrats on your one-year anniversary!! I agree with the ladies above that what you’ve done is really brave! I’m completely afraid of failing…and have had my fair share of disappointments when it comes to creative endeavors… but the best things happen when risk is involved, right?! i’ve tasted your fantastic cookies & marshmallows but hope to order a cake someday! keep working hard & learning– you can do it!!

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Angela October 31, 2012 at 1:58 am

Sara! I’m so excited for you! Happy one year MatchBox Kitchen. I bet it’s been a crazy rollercoaster of a year, but I am glad you’re doing what you love!

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shannon p November 1, 2012 at 9:04 pm

i found the box that you put my birthday marshmallows in last year and for this year you made me my mickey cake that was amazing! you have come so far and we are sooo proud :D keep going and dont let anyone say otherwise.

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