I often replay moments and milestones that have shaped our business into what it is today. As I think back on 2019, it all seems to have gone by so quickly that I can hardly sift out the big events from the little ones. One of my new favorite things to do for Nicole Macaron is to write our ‘Year in Review’. As we grow older each year, it sheds a light on such a different perspective than what I see on a day to day basis. This reflection exercise is so sweet because it shifts my perspective from needing to do more (can any Type A’s relate?) to being thankful for where we’ve been. After looking back on all that we’ve done this year, I feel that the best is yet to come in the years ahead.
First, we want to thank all of our sweet customers that have been so incredibly supportive of our new small business. We could not do what we do without our macaron fans that support local, small business, and handmade products. We know we aren’t the only macarons around and we thank you for choosing to support our small business and beliefs around how macarons should be made - the clean way (without artificial ingredients or preservatives). So thank you <3
Last year, I posted our ‘2018 Year in Review’ and we had very clear milestone events as new small business. We made the usual progressions from starting in a tiny NYC apartment kitchen (like most bakeries do) to then move into a commercial kitchen and so on. 2019 has felt like the trial by fire year where we threw everything at the wall to see what stuck. This year as I look back, I realize that our Nicole Macaron family has so much to be grateful for. We have exciting new things on the way and we can’t wait to reveal them to you as we guide you through our year.
One big change in 2019 has been our increased presence at pop up events. Pop Up events are a new concept to some people. Essentially, pop ups are events where vendors set up a temporary shop for the day/weekend/week and display their products or services for customers to come shop and stroll around the venue. We’ve popped up at some of the most amazing venues with the sweetest hosts.
This past summer, we had the blessing of being invited to pop up at the Magnolia Silos! It is probably our favorite event from this year. The Magnolia Silos are owned by Chip and Jo who have created a magical place were guests can relax, play, eat, and disconnect from the craziness that is life sometimes. The best way to describe it is a Disney World for adults. Magnolia has their Magnolia Silos, a food truck area (Alabama Sweet Tea and the Magnolia Table truck are some of our faves), a garden, Magnolia Table (their new restaurant that is AMAZING), the Magnolia shop (a home goods shop), and so much more. We love getting to visit Magnolia and see all the pretty things but more than anything we love getting to know their staff and guests that visit from all over the country/world. We’ve met some of the sweetest people in Waco and we hope to go back year after year.
Another highlight from 2019 was participating in the Big Fake Wedding (BFW). The BFW is exactly what it seems like! A big fake wedding. It’s one night of experiencing a fake wedding where engaged couples can experience a wedding in “real life” to see what their wedding could be like when it comes to be their special day. We had so much fun designing Strawberry Rose French Macarons for this special event in macaron tower display. We also had the opportunity to meet some of the sweetest vendor friends and newly engaged couples around the Central Florida area.
Pop Ups aside, we opened a physical macaron cafe shop! Designing the shop was such a fun project. We started with a completely empty room that had been a kitchen previously. We painted, built furniture, and designed the space to be colorful to match our branding. The shop has been such a sweet place to host events and guests. Some events that were especially sweet were our Tea Time with Princess events. We’ve had Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Anna, and Elsa visit our cafe. We’ve also had the opportunity to collaborate on themed events with local business such as Firefly Yoga Company, Huckleberry Farms, Nutrition Awareness, Abari Studio, lit.ter.a, and many more.
Another big milestone this year has been hiring our first employee, Raivyn! Raivyn has been such a great asset to our Nicole Macaron family. She manages our shop and has gone above and beyond by planning monthly tea talks. Tea talks are a monthly themed small group for young women to enjoy tea, macarons, and fellowship. We know that we met Raivyn for a reason and we could not have run our shop this year without her help and leadership. Fun fact, I met Raivyn when I was doing a pop up at a coffee shop and had no idea that she would one day end up working for Nicole Macaron. It just goes to show that you never know how who you meet can have a big impact later on.
On top of having a physical shop, we rent a commercial kitchen space where we handcraft all of our macarons! In mid-2019, we moved our commercial kitchen space from downtown historic Longwood to Altamonte Springs to be closer to where our customers are. We love our new kitchen space and we even invested in our own Blodgett oven! Working at the new kitchen has definitely been a team effort. I could not produce hundreds or thousands of macarons in one day without the help of my mom. My usual schedule is going to the kitchen after the shop closes around 4 p.m. to bake macarons. My mom gets off work at 5 and meets me at the kitchen and we bake macarons together into the night. It’s been a huge help to have someone in the kitchen baking with me. Nicole Macaron has transformed from being a single owner business into a small family business.
Another fun highlight from 2019 was being in rounds of interviews for a cable TV show! We have to keep the opportunity a secret and we still can’t share too many details as we have not heard back yet. The producers loved the story about how my mom dreamed of opening a bakery when she was my age living in the Philippines (where my mom is from). She decided to choose her corporate career over her bakery dreams. It turns out that my mom had not told me about those dreams she had and I ended up opening a macaron bakery and leaving my corporate career (doing the opposite of what she did). Interviewing for the show showed us how patterns can play out generationally. I had never seen my mom bake nor did I know that she had dreams to pursue baking when she was my age. I feel that fate is why I ended up following that same dream that she had decades ago. Now we are both baking together almost every day and we’re both pursuing the same thing - growing a macaron business to be bigger and bigger one day at a time.
We also started to participate in styled shoots this year! Styled shoots are when vendors come together and stage a photoshoot to be published and used as promotional content. We were in three styled shoots this year! We are so excited because we were published in two big publications, Pop Sugar and Tacari Weddings.
We also had some fun travels! From Texas to New York to Tennessee, we have traveled across state lines for pop ups and events. Our favorite event this year was The Great Chefs Event in NYC. We were invited to be guest chefs to raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). ALSF raises money for children and families suffering from pediatric cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. We feel so blessed to be able to raise money for such an important cause that is near to our hearts. The Great Chefs Event was such a fulfilling and fun event. Check out ALSF and their Great Chefs Event to see if you have one coming to a city near you :)
Last but definitely not least, we started a new partnership with Foxtail Coffee Company! This has been our highlight partnership of the year. We are now at all Foxtail locations and are so excited to be growing with Foxtail. Partnering with Foxtail has been a goal of ours for quite some time and we are so happy to finally be partners with such a sweet company that is growing so quickly in the Central Florida area. We understand why though, their coffee is just that good.
We are so thankful for everything that 2019 brought. We see a lot of good changes happening in 2020 and we are so ready :)
Cheers to 2019 and can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store!
Nicole Edelstein (Chief Macaron Maker) + The Nicole Macaron Crew