The night before I opened up the doors of my new shop I wasn’t all that nervous. I had some butterflies because I had sort of jumped into having a retail space out of the blue, and I always feel kind of shy and awkward putting myself out into the world but my previous retail experience made my shop feel like a piece of cake…or pie, actually.
A few years earlier I had an illegal pie cart in San Francisco called Pie Fridays. I had started making pies as a bartender and it became so popular that I quit the bartending thing and took my pies to the people. I hand built my little red cart and wheeled it out every Friday and Saturday at five to the corner of 18th and Valencia next to a late night deli.
It didn’t take off right away so I’d bring layers of warm clothing and as the sun went down and the wind got stronger I would add a sweater, then a vest, then a jacket, then a blanket on my lap as I waited for my late night customers while sitting on the ice chest filled with fresh whipped cream. Gosh, it’s so embarrassing sitting around in public, waiting for someone to buy something, trying to stay positive as people walk by, not buying anything.
I’d bring a little lantern for light to cut my pies by but it provided no safety from the bitter cold and wind, my fear of being robbed or the police rolling up as I was selling my pie slices and busting me. It was very stressful to out there, actually, even though I tried to never let my stress show. At the end of each weekend I’d breathe a big sigh of relief and pack up, grab a burger form across the street and allow all the cash I had collected warm up the chill in my bones.
When I first started, some nights were very slow. Over time a trickle of people would come along and give this weird lady sitting by herself at a kooky little cart a chance. They probably stopped out of pity, other times just out of curiosity or an open mind, but they always came back after that first slice. Slowly word began to build and one afternoon I rolled my pie cart out to a few people waiting for me with their Tupperware containers in hand. A few newspaper articles and online reviews later and I’d sell out in an hour with a line around the block.
My pie customers were so awesome. They were so welcoming, protective of me and supportive. I’ve written all about it before on here so you can read those essays if you want more details. But I’m bringing them up because I feel like even though I just opened, the people of Pacifica have been just as supportive and warm and welcoming to me and I’m so grateful and feel so much love from all of you.
Sometimes when you make things that go out into the public, you can find yourself picturing the meanest things that people could say about it. You picture them laughing or whispering to each other judgemental things about you or your work. The cool thing you learn is that almost no one is mean, dismissive or cruel. Almost 100 percent of people are curious, excited and welcoming.
My Pacifica shop is no different. Just like Pie Fridays I’ve handmade all my crooked little wood display pieces and no one cares that the edges are uneven and mis-measured, you guys just find it charming like people found my rickety pie cart charming. I hand make all the art for my products just like I handmade all my pies and whip cream. My pies never had perfect, fancy crusts, they were rustic, I guess, and no one judged what they looked like, they just liked them. At the shop people are so open just to see what’s in there and enjoy my imperfect art and imperfect displays and everyone gets it that it takes time to build up inventory and no one cares that half my shop was empty at first. You came in anyway to check it out and maybe buy something and I’m so grateful for all of you!
So ya, the night before my shop opened I was a little nervous but I knew there was nothing to be scared about because I’d be indoors, in a warm, safe, well lit little shop with a bathroom and no police raids or robberies. What was there to be worried about? I said to my husband that night, and I was right.
Love you guys! Come see me at 164 Eureka sq next to the shopping Center in Pacifica.