My Only Idea Is to Drop Everything and Open a Bakery
“Any ideas?” you ask.
No, not really. The main thing that keeps coming to mind is to drop everything and open a bakery. I’ll think further on your ask, though.
Oh, have you ever piped an almond croissant with pink cream cheese frosting? That’s an ask I have for you.
Because, you see, I used to have regular ideas — a lot of them. I used to wake up in a sea of contemplations and contradictions. I used to write down ideas, mold them, scrutinize them for their viabilities. I wondered if my ideas had the legs necessary to take me anywhere I wanted to go. I had ideas about the strength of those ideas. But now I’m just a little caught up on this bakery thing. There’s a waffle pop-up down the street and they sell out every day.
I’ve often been paid for ideas. That’s been the arrangement for as long as I can remember. My first job was teaching tennis lessons. One afternoon the boss asked me to develop retention strategies. I was sixteen so my ideas weren’t too good.
But yeah, now I’m whatever-years-old and the requests for ideas (RFIs) are still piling in, but I’m really kinda locked into this bakery space.
My idea was simply not big enough. (Worth noting that ideas that were too big were also pitfalls at that job!)
I don’t mean actual space; I mean mental space. I mean all I can think about on this Zoom call is bakery-related things: bundt pans and mixing bowls; brownie batter and icing roses; mochis and mudpies; German chocolates and Chilean sea salts; butterscotch puddings and boysenberry cream tarts; neat and tidy wedding-tiers dripping in raspberry ganache.
Hold on, I gotta make sure I’m on mute. OK, yeah I’m still on mute.
This isn’t an idea, but more of an anecdote: In college I worked a job in which I had to push a single button at a certain cadence for hours at a time. (When I told a I felt guilty getting paid for doing something so unequivocally menial as pushing a single [read: not multiple] button, my friend advised me, “Don’t question it. You push for it.”)
Anyway, the manager at the button-pushing gig asked me to think about ideas on how the button-pushing could be improved. I offered some at the time, but now I can’t quite remember what they were. I know I’m sounding a little redundant, but I think there’s something to this bakery idea. I’m thinking instead of having the ideas for you to sell, I might sorta switch things up and just do baking.
Too many rounds of revisions make the receptors go numb. How does a creative manage not to blow out their own candle when so many people are blowing on their idea?
There are these Instagram accounts in which people in Denver or Nashville or Tribeca build blood orange brownie-blondies and micro macarons. The feed tumbles with sugar. Every multi-tier pistachio lava cake towers yea-high and every marshmallow chocolate chunk cookie jiggles in a boomerang.
Manifesto: Baking is the only creative form, and the only place to buy real estate is the suburbs of Austin.
Again, I used to have ideas. I used to process everyday stimuli as if they could unlock empires. My mind bubbled with the morning breeze, the signage on the train, the potential enlightenment waiting around the street corner. In my prime I brimmed with curiosity, ignited by the slightest hint of a mental in-road, perpetually paving way with newer, more nuanced ideas. I was in my professional prime. I was 24.
Hold on, I got a Slack.
Anyway, where was I? I remember early in my career as a creative marketer I was once brokered into a meeting with a group called “The Big Idea” team. They let me submit an idea and then asked me to return to my normal work. My idea was simply not big enough. (Worth noting that ideas that were too big were also pitfalls at that job!)
Baking is coloring inside the lines yet sprinkling atop them. It’s ingredients, and content pillars, preheated ovens, and key stakeholders. It’s pitch decks for plum blackberry friands.
A big idea I have is that if I open the bakery next to a Philz Coffee people will have to get the baked goods once they get the Philz. The bakery could smell like rye bagels.
I don’t know when the shift happened, exactly. I was once brimming with ideas; now the bakery is the only thing I’ve got going on upstairs. Perhaps working “in the system” has really struck me down. Too many rounds of revisions make the receptors go numb. How does a creative manage not to blow out their own candle when so many people are blowing on their idea? Too many rounds of revisions make the receptors go numb, right? Too many ube-inspired birthday cake balls and the taste buds go bananas.
Sorry, that last sentence was because of the bakery obsession again. (Too many rounds of revisions and the receptors go numb).
Since we’re on the topic, I should make clear that the bakery idea is both omnipresent in my mind and somehow wildly underbaked. I have no idea what I would actually sell or why.
I hear people sell cinnamon rolls from home now. There’s an idea. Cinnamon rolls from home — voila!
Nah, that feels much too salesy. People wouldn’t like that from me.
The people want what they want and what they want is a baking heroine. They want Juliette Binoche in Chocolat, Amy Adams in Julie & Julia, Vanessa Hudgens from The Princess Switch. They want ambition. They want tactility. They want buttery meltdowns of meaning. The art and the science hybrid: that’s what they want. That’s what makes baking the mental stimulant. Baking is coloring inside the lines yet sprinkling atop them. It’s ingredients, and content pillars, preheated ovens, and key stakeholders. It’s pitch decks for plum blackberry friands.
Thank you for bearing with me. I am now cooking with gas.
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