I love summer dinners at home– sitting down to a long leisurely meal with friends (when its still light out) feels so luxurious. The creeping light change every week reminds us that it won’t last, but it makes me hopeful we can try to eat more dinners at an earlier hour in the coming darker months, to try to hold to that summer feeling. After a full July of takeout, meals out, picnics and travel, meals at home this week have felt very comforting and restorative. We recently tried out Turntable Kitchen’s summery corn and peach salad, paired with some seared salmon from Siren and Becky’s green plum tarts with honey and black pepper.
Slow down July! We’re nearly through this month, and I’ve had very few moments to sit down and reflect on the last few weeks. We’ve had brushes with real summer weather and even made it up to the Russian River for a day to nap and swim and picnic in equal measure. We came back with pink thighs (both of us) but recharged after a short, but full day without cell phone service.
I’ve been almost entirely focused on growing my business and being a grown up this summer, doing things like: Getting insurance! Renting a production space! Hiring my first employee! All of these scary-exciting developments have been sped up by some new large wholesale orders that I’ll be sharing more about soon. Moving all the production from the sidewalk and garage to an actual production space was a long-needed move, one that I was afraid to make. Hiring a production assistant was something I’ve been wanting to do for a few months as well, so I could free up those long production and sanding hours, and reinvest that time and energy back into the business.
Long story short, it is really exciting, and also terrifying in a mostly wonderful/OK way. Although, for some realness on the internet, I’ll admit that I’ve had endless worries and anxiety about building up my wholesale orders AND keeping up with online sales and often wake up in the middle night worrying about it. I’m a micromanager and worrier and its been a continual challenge to let go of some details (like sanding and packaging) so I could tackle other bigger projects (like oversees distribution?!).
This week we’re flying to Seattle then Portland for a family trip + work trip combination, with a little air travel and train travel thrown in FOR FUN! We’re going to visit Intern’s family for a family reunion, plus I’m tacking on some Seattle retail shop visits to promote the wholesale collection. We’ll be stopping in to see my family then hopping on the train to spend a few days in Portland, visiting a few friends, a few more retail shop visits, and hopefully do a little fun-relaxing-exploring before we fly back to San Francisco and kick off another round of wholesale order production.
I used to feel guilty when I neglected this space, but now I think I am too busy to feel that guilt. I’m also aware that most of my posts in the past few months have been primarily about how busy I think I am. Even I’m tired of reading that. I’m really neglecting a much longer list of things, hobbies and interests and the blog happens to be one of them. I’ve started to find it harder and harder to write about anything personal beyond work and work-related worrying, but that could be an excuse I’ve invented to keep the blog on the back back unlit burner for now. Intern and I are both in a very work-y place personally, a phase that fits well with where we are right now in our lives. I know we both won’t always be working this hard, or feeling driven to work all the time, but we also know we may not have another phase of our lives where our attention isn’t split, so now might really be the best and only time to work this hard.
I’m a little slow to announce a summer sale in the shop this month, as well as the new option to purchase gift certificates in the shop. Gift certificates are now available in many increments, from $50 on up. For all summer orders this month, take 15% off at checkout using the discount code SUMMERSALE at checkout. The offer ends July 29th, when I’ll be closing up the shop for a week and heading out of town for a little summer adventure.
June quickly turned into July this year. We’ve been bouncing along between warm days and fog-wind days, which are more often than not, the norm for San Francisco summer. We’re deep into summer produce from our Eatwell CSA– stone fruit and squash are on the menu for the next many many weeks. Our garden is almost 90% neglected and unplanted this year. The drought made that decision for us this season, though even if we weren’t in a severe drought, I can’t imagine having time to garden right now. Our artichoke plant produced a lot this year, nearly all of the artichokes were left on the plant to flower. Our big beautiful and productive lemon tree was hacked back to nearly nothing by our landlord for unknown reasons, so we’ve had very few meyer lemons for the past 6 months. The only thing really thriving in the backyard is honeysuckle and lots of volunteer nasturtiums planted last year or the year before. The squirrels and wind have done a good job of moving the seeds around to different parts of the yard.
Yesterday I released new summer products in the shop and launched a big site design overhaul. Over the past few weeks I’ve been gearing up for a big shop update, though the actual launch of this update was pushed back for several weeks due to a number of ever-changing factors. Since my initial shop launch back in November, I’ve had multiple requests from customers, asking for more 7″ vinyl record options — I’ve been sitting on these designs for a few months because I wanted to release them after I had the chance to update the overall design of the whole shop. Two birds, one stone, that whole thing. In the meantime, I’ve been gloriously busy with wholesale orders and keeping up with online sales.
With the steady increase in sales and wood purchasing, I started having a trickier time sourcing a reliable quality wood that I liked– the quality overall seemed to be going down at my usual suppliers. No one seems to have a reason for this– thats just “how it is”. Alternately, they try to convince me that the wood hasn’t changed at all– its exactly the same, even when I have samples in hand that say otherwise. I could go on and on about wood here, about all the things I’ve gleaned from phone calls, lumberyard conversations, the internet, real life splinters, prototyping and all kinds of frustration– but that is interesting to very few people. I’ve visited many lumberyards, called many more, and received more splinters than I ever planned or hell, anticipated ever. I’ve learned that most lumberyards are weird, their systems and attitudes are old and outdated. Frequently (not always, but frequently) the men that work there try to treat me like a lady-hobbyist if they’re willing to grudgingly give me the time of day at all. There is nothing more frustrating than being discredited upon arrival, just cause I’m a lady.
I’ve learned that my lumberyard credibility goes up with my increasing knowledge of the appropriate lumber vocabulary, that and walking in like a confident boss, who takes shit from no man. I feel like the only woman in a land of lumber-dudes, though I am sure I’m not the only one out there. The truth is, I’m still a novice when it comes to this new weird world of wood, but its a real boys-club and that is bullshit. Know what else is a boys-club? The audiophile/vinyl/music world! I’ve inadvertently stumbled into two male-dominated industries, simply because I’ve been interested in doing something new for myself, and I like being my own boss. All the recent articles and conversations around women and confidence and inequality and gender everything, man! I feel down about it all. Perhaps my lumberyard lessons are good life lessons– to feign confidence and bossiness always, but it is a fight sometimes. I actually like the word bossy, and don’t have a problem with anyone using it. I’ve been quietly reading along with the blog My Husband’s Stupid Record Collection and the constant noise around her reviews (HOW DARE A WOMAN REVIEW MUSIC AND ETC!) and find the conversation interesting and insanely frustrating at the same time. I recommend a good dig through this conversation, if you’ve got patience.
I don’t see an end here– at least not to these issues or this blog post. I’ve been writing and un-writing this since yesterday and its now officially time to break.