Archive for the ‘the business side’ Category

“Faryn Contest” Ends Today!

October 6, 2009
Geo Marine Carryall and Geo Marine Day Wallet from Saltbox Accessories

Geo Marine Carryall and Geo Marine Day Wallet from Saltbox Accessories

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As I mentioned, within the last two and a half weeks I’ve made the unexpected transition from being a part-time employee at a handbag and accessories company, to being a full-time employee in a casting office.  One of the most difficult parts of stepping into my new job was saying goodbye to the old one.  Over the past (almost two!) years working at Saltbox Accessories, I developed meaningful relationships with the people I worked with.  I have been fortunate enough in my mere 8ish years of experience in the workforce to have walked away from each of my jobs (except for a bizarre 1-month stint working the phones at a wand and party favors company…but I’ll save that story for another time) with wonderful connections and fond memories.  But my time at Saltbox was somethin’ special.  I think it had a lot to do with the fact that the office was all women, which was a new experience for me.  It was just the 4 of us ladies, and it was wonderful.  For one, there was always a stash of dark chocolate when one of us was having One Of Those Days.  And most of the time, coming to work felt more like a little get together than it did an actual 9:30-6 workday. 

Not only did I learn that I like being in an all-women office (girl power!), but I also learned a great deal about the chutzpah it takes to be a woman running your own small business.  Between just the 4 of us in the office, we all brought years of experience in fashion, design, performance, and baking to the table.  And as soon as the girls heard about the launching of Fanny & Jane, they couldn’t have been more generous with their advice, council, and sincere support (on occasion, dark chocolate brownies and Red Velvet Cake Bites were ordered for the office to indulge in)!   

To say “so long!” to the office was a bit of an emotional experience for me, but they assured me that they still definitely wanted to keep in touch (sounds a little bit like camp, huh?), and ultimately we all knew that my new opportunity to work in the entertainment field was too good for me to pass up.

Sooo….

If you don’t belive me by now, here is even more proof of how sweet these women are, and how excellent their product is: as a way of sending me off in good spirits, they interviewed me for their brand new blog (guys, check it out!) and are doing a FREE GIVEAWAY of my favorite bag!!  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention another rad perk of working with Saltbox was all the swag!  I will never want for an 18 oz waxed canvas tote, handbag, wallet, cosmetic bag, or luggage tag again!   🙂   So, here’s what you need to know for your chance to enter and WIN a free set of the Carryall bag and matching Day Wallet.  But ya gotta act fast because the deadline for the contest is TODAY at 3pm!  Come on, my slacker friends, get it together!

  • Here is the link to enter and win!
  • Here is the link to check out my interview

It’s a win win.  The more people that enter the contest, the more likely it is that they will continue to do awesome free giveaways.  Support Saltbox.  They rule.  Their bags truly rule.  Let’s get that good karma flowing, one bag giveaway at a time.

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Our Sweets at an NYC Summer Street Fair!

July 30, 2009

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If you live in New York, surely you’ve either walked by or walked through an NYC street fair at some point during your city exploring.  To me, these bazaars that take over different city streets every week, are famous for featuring a wide variety of vendors.  These vendors range from people selling watermelon juice, to women selling their lines of jewelry, to the “2 for $10 sunglasses” booth, to the guy peddling packets of white socks and undershirts (there’s one at every street fair!).  For some reason, that Fruit of the Loom guy always seems to be the most popular.  I guess people are shopping practically these days.

Among all the smoothie stations, and I Heart NY souvenir booths, I was selling our Fanny & Jane sweets this past Saturday to any passersby with a sweet tooth.  New Yorkers and tourists were out and about, and everyone seemed to be enjoying this west village edition of the Summer Street Fair.  The forecast for Friday and Sunday was slated to be a rainy mess, and Saturday was predicted to be a beautiful, clear and warm day.  And It was a (wonderfully) sunny day, and (not so wonderfully) one of the most humid days of summer so far.  But thanks to a big shader, myself and our delectable edibles were kept nice n cool.

So perhaps not the most practical purchase of the street fair (if you’re talkin “practical”, a 6 pak of tube socks wins), but definitely delicious, our Fanny & Jane booth was hopping!  Our chipwich minis got a lot of attention, and our red velvet cupcakes were the first of our items to sell out.

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Our involvement with this particular street fair is due to my friend (& new Fanny & Jane fan!), the wonderfully talented and generous (& new mother!), Chef Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez.  Heather is the owner of my favorite Indian restaurant in the city, Lassi, and her colorful path through the culinary world has been a great inspiration to me.  She has a vast knowledge of all things spicy and sweet, which has been a huge help to me in getting Fanny & Jane started, and it was she who suggested in the first place, “Why don’t you try sharing a booth with Lassi at an upcoming street fair?”.  And so just like that, we were selling our red velvet cake bites alongside their mango lassis this past Saturday!  I had such a blast, and the pairing turned out to be a winning combo.  I can speak from experience when I say that it is quite a treat to wash down a mini chipwich with a roasted peach lassi.

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Hello cupcakes.  The newest addition to the Fanny & Jane family is our red velvet cupcake.  The street fair was the first time that these little guys were available to the public!  Since we were just testing them out, I only brought a few with me.  Underestimating the power of the red velvet cupcake, we were sold out of them within the first few hours of the fair.  Next time we’ll be sure to bring more, because if there’s one thing that seems to melt the heart of even the toughest New Yorker, it’s a cupcake.

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Like our new display tray?  Since starting this company, I’ve been slowly building my arsenal of adorable platters, trays, and cake stands.  I can’t wait to host a cheese and brownies party – I’ve got my platters at the ready!  (And how cute is this one?  It’s like the cake bite is giving a little “Broo-ooklyn!” shout out).

Thanks to Heather and Colleen for helping everything run so smoothly.  And I must give some lovin’ to Shawna and David, the rockstars of the day.  Since Jen was out of town and I was in charge of setting up and breaking down our portion of the booth, Shawna and David came to the rescue as my Sherpas of Sweets – they helped me haul a cooler and several heavy bags of baked goods and props from our apartment in Prospect Heights to Greenwich Ave. and 10th Street in Manhattan, on one of the hottest and stickiest days of the summer, despite one of them nursing a hangover, and while maneuvering inconvenient subway service changes.  I truly couldn’t have done it with you, friends!

A Weekend So Far

July 19, 2009

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It’s been a lovely sunny (HOT) weekend in New York, and I’ve been making sure to soak up the summer sun as much as I can while also being productive.  Lately, I’ve had a problem relaxing, and I can’t escape the anxious feeling that there’s always some work I should be doing – some e-mail I should be writing, some batter I should be making, some business cards I should be printing… and ever since starting this small business with Jen, the weekends are no longer my own – the weekend is prime time (2 full “free” days!) to run Fanny & Jane errands and bake.  But this weekend I was making it a priority to calm my inner crazy, anxious, mile-a-minute mind, and just let things happen as they come up.  And so far, it’s been quite wonderful.  The crazy thing is that I genuinely enjoy organizing, cleaning up, getting things in order, and checking items off the list.  It makes me feel good.  But, not as good as, say, sitting in Prospect Park with an ice cream cone.  That’s for sure.  So, it’s been nice not to beat myself up these past few days for not being as productive as I feel I “should be” (not always an easy task for me).  I mean, that said, I’m still being pretty busy and productive – I performed with Harvard Sailing Team last night, delivered an F & J order, ran errands for an event on Monday, and made a batch of cookie dough.  But I’ve also made sure to spend quality time with friends, visit a few bars, and see a late-night movie last night, knowing full well that I had to wake up early this morning to get some stuff done.  Oh, and I also bought a new pair of shoes!  

I find that I make the same personal resolution around this time every summer: to take advantage of this great city I live in.  To explore new restaurants, parks, and neighborhoods, and to participate in fun free summer events.  It certainly hasn’t been an easy task with all this Fanny & Jane work Jen and I have been doing (she recently said to me, “I honestly don’t remember what I did with my time before we started this business.”  I couldn’t remember either.  More movies?), but as two people who have the self-awareness that sunshine makes us happy, Jen and I know that “getting out” is integral to our happiness and thus, the success of the business.  So there!          

Now I’m on my way to see a matinee with my friend Marina, produced by 13P, a theater company that Jen and I have worked with, sweets-wise, but more on that soon.  Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!

Our First Cupcakes

July 16, 2009

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Introducing the first Fanny & Jane cupcakes!  Red velvet* with cream cheese frosting, of course.

We were asked to make these cupcakes for a custom order (some people want cupcakes on their birthday…and I don’t blame ’em), so they aren’t an “official” member of our line of sweets just yet.  But I had such a fun time baking and frosting them, that I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw more of these coming out of our kitchen soon!  I’d love to keep playing with cupcake decorating – something simple (no plastic clown heads), but fun (bring on the sprinkles).

I’ve consumed a lot of cupcakes in my day, but I can’t remember the last time I actually made cupcakes, and boy are they just the cutest things ever.  It’s been a lot of cake bites and chipwiches lately, so it was thrilling to see tins of 12 adorable little red individual cakes come out of the oven, so whole and complete and inviting.  I’m starting to remember why New York is so obsessed.

Tempted to keep one for myself, I better be on my way to deliver them!

*And while we’re on the subject of Red Velvet desserts, last night while chatting with Pitizens and selling our sweets at the PIT, Jen and I met, not one, but TWO people who had never heard of red velvet!  What?!  Am I a snob for thinking that everyone has tasted and adored a red velvet baked good once in their life?  I was shocked.  I mean, I know it sometimes goes by different names (Waldorf Astoria cake), but even still.  I felt like giving them our whole tray of red velvet cake bites and telling them to go sit somewhere private, and really take some time to have their very first red velvet experience.  But, then again, I’m also a legitimately crazy person when it comes to sweets, so…

Sweet Revenge

July 15, 2009

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Look, I always love a little something sweet, but sometimes I crave sweets more than other times.  It’s funny, Jen and I decided to venture down the “let’s bake together…and make a business out of it!” path in the first place because of our mutual love and genuine appreciation of eating sweets.  But ever since we started Fanny & Jane, my appetite for sugary goodness has waned slightly.  Ironically, the one thing that might cure me of my insatiable cookie monster ways, is to start a business revolving around cookies and cakes and brownies and chocolate!  I’m just around it so much these days, that I find I’m more likely to reach for that bag of pita chips, whereas before it would have been a tub of Trader Joe’s sea salt brownies.  It’s an interesting lesson for me to learn, that once you decide to turn something you love into your work, it starts to resemble…work.  And it’s not that I’m necessarily harumph-ing my way through baking mini chipwiches, but when I’m staring down the nose of a long night of baking, I wouldn’t mind not seeing a chocolate bar for a few hours.

All that said, I still love me some scrumptious desserts.  Jen has often written about it on her blog (especially since she’s started her delicious Daily Dessert feature!), that one of the many great things about living in New York is that there are so many wonderful one-of-a-kind bakeries and cafes.  In my little pocket of Brooklyn alone, two brand new cafes have opened in the past couple of months!  It’s all so very exciting and inspiring.

One bakery on my long “to visit” list was Sweet Revenge.  My friend, Natalie, gushed about their to die for cupcakes a few months ago, and I’d been meaning to give them a taste.  On a recent sunny afternoon, I happened to be in the west village neighborhood running Fanny & Jane errands, and I had a sweet tooth and a few extra bucks, so I told my boyfriend to meet me and we made a thing of it.  Of their Signature Cupcakes, we decided to split the “Pure”: Mexican vanilla cake with mexican vanilla buttercream.  It was delish.  Moist and flavorful and somehow very light, despite all the frosting.  We enjoyed it sitting on bar stools at their big open window in the front of the shop.  There are many reasons I am itching to go back for more – the design of the place is super cute and I would love to spend some time there with a book (with all the free time I have), they do cupcake wine & beer pairings!, everyone working there was super friendly, and their namesake cupcake, the “Sweet Revenge” is peanutbutter cake, and ganache filling with peanutbutter buttercream.  Whoah now.

I Passed!

July 9, 2009

As of  yesterday afternoon, I am officially allowed to handle food in New York.  That’s right, I passed the exam to get my Food Handlers License!  Naturally, I was nervous as hell before the test.  Not only because my excellent knack for procrastination found me studying for the test for the first time on the 35-minute subway ride to the Health Academy, but also, because being nervous is just in my nature.  Ask any of my friends (Jen), and they’ll tell you that I’m nervous 3/4 of my life – before every Harvard Sailing Team show (and during most rehearsals), if I get a call from an “UNKNOWN” number, when a friend casually explains the plot of a scary movie – it really doesn’t take much to make me nervous.  I haven’t always been this way, so easily nervous, and I’m not really sure when it started becoming such a predominant part of my personality.  I used to be the cool kid.  You can ask Elisheva Netter – she can vouch for the fact that I was definitely a part of the Cool Clique in 6th grade, at Pressman Academy Private Jewish Day School.

But just as I’m quick to get nervous, it also doesn’t take much for me to get over it…at least that’s what I’d like to think. 

Take this Food Handler’s Exam for instance.  It was a pretty nerve-racking process.  There I am, in the middle of the day, on 100th street, in this bizarre NY Health Academy building, joined by 60 or so other strangers who are also there to take the test.  And these people are alllll over the map – you got your hassidic guy, your hipsters, your sistahs, a maybe homeless guy, and then a smattering of people who speak only Chinese.  And we’re all sitting in this classroom from the 70’s, with our number two pencils, anxiously eyeing each other. 

But before we can take the test, we all have to go upstairs to have our photos taken.  Tensions are high (or maybe that was just in my head), and the only sound you here is the droning voice of the bored lady snapping each person’s photo, and then exclaiming, “NEXT”.  If nothing else, the rhythm of this ritual was comforting – click NEXT click NEXT.  Then it’s my turn.  I take my place in front of the white backdrop and, instead of “NEXT”ing me right away, she pops her head out from behind the camera and loudly shouts, “Hey, has anyone ever told you that you look like Bette Midler?  You do!…NEXT”  Thanks?  Despite my feeling of embarassment at the fact that she yelled this loud enough so the whole line of my new food handling peers could hear, I also felt a bit relieved.  For some reason, that one bizarre and unexpected comment added some levity to the whole situation, and just like that, all my nerves went away.   

Okay, so maybe that’s a bad & weird example of how my nervousness can easily dissipate, but still a funny story, no?          

Who cares.  I passed!  And so did Jen!  You can read her funny experience here.  Now we’re really official, you guys.

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The above photo has nothing to do with the Food Handlers License exam.  It’s actually an outfit I was required to wear for a catering job once (a nice departure from the usual tuxedo pants and navy blue nehru jacket uniform).  I think I look ridiculous and fat (they only had XL shirts left), but it was the most Food Handlers-y photo I could find. 

Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls

July 7, 2009

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A few weeks ago, a chef friend of mine, Heather, asked if Fanny & Jane would be interested in donating some sweets to the Willie Mae Rock Camp For Girls.  Every summer, a handful of chefs and local New York restaurant owners have an annual tradition of donating whatever they got – a tray of food, a pan of brownies, whatevah – so that the campers get 1 day of a free lunch.  Chef Heather mentioned that this lunch is something that the girls and staff of the camp have really come to look forward to every year.  I had never heard of this camp, but I imagined it was something akin to a real life version of Jack Black’s “School of Rock”…and I really liked that movie.  So the decision to participate was a no-brainer!

As I perused the website and read up a little bit about the camp, I became increasingly excited to be working with this particular camp.  It quickly became clear that the mission of this camp very closely aligns with Fanny & Jane’s own ideas to do what you love and seek your sweet life!  I think this notion is best expressed in the Statement of Purpose portion of their website, which reads as follows:

The organization brings together girls and women from diverse communities and encourages them to explore self-expression through music, hone their critical thinking skills, build meaningful alliances with other girls and women, develop confidence in making healthy choices in their lives, and effect positive change in their communities and in the world.

Rock on.

If you would like more information on this wonderful organization or how you can donate, please visit their website.

They picked up their order of Fanny & Jane cookies this morning.  I secretly wish that I could be a fly on the wall of the lunch, just so I can see these littler rocker chicks.  : )

Enjoy the chipwiches, ladies!

photo from Ladies Rock Camp website

photo from Ladies Rock Camp website

Our First Flea

July 1, 2009

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I don’t know what’s worse – that it’s taken me this long to post pictures from the Williamsburg Flea on Sunday, or that I only took a total of 4 photos from the whole experience.  To be honest, the entire process was a very long and tiring one, and it left me feeling quite exhausted, with no desire or energy to do anything extra, like take pictures.  Since this was our first experience participating in a flea, there were a lot of to-do lists to reconcile with, a lot of numbers to crunch, and a lot of items to buy.  And that’s all in addition to the baking that needs to get done – which sometimes happens waaaay past Jen’s and my bedtime.

The dork in me got a great kick out of planning the logistics and display set-up of our booth.  Call it my love for design, or my unhealthy obsession with organization, but I was happy to take on this role.  This meant  shopping for things like tablecloths, mason jars, and the (failed) search for a chalkboard.  All things said and done, I was pretty proud of our little set-up.  Simple, with a few frills, and the sweets themselves were really the stars of the show.  And now that we have one flea market under our belts, I have more ideas for how to make the set-up for our next flea even better!*  While we aren’t scheduled to participate in the Williamsburg Flea this upcoming weekend (even bakers gotta celebrate the 4th of July, y’all!), we definitely hope to stay active in the flea market circuit and are planning to share our sweets with other locations.

Thanks to all of our friends who came out to indulge their sweet tooth!  It made us so happy that you were there.

*Get an umbrella or canopy.

Fanny & Jane @ Williamsburg Flea!

June 28, 2009

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The rain let up, and the sun decided to grant us this day of warmth and sunshine.  Thank you, sun!  Not to complain, believe me, I’m grateful for the clear skies, but maybe next time not so warm, sun?  Something in the 70s with a breeze would be nice.  Sincerely, Faryn.

To celebrate this sunny Sunday, come join Jen and I at the Williamsburg Flea Market!  This has been an exciting week for Fanny & Jane: Wednesday we debuted carrot cake cake bites at the PIT, and today, we’re rolling out our cart of sweets and selling brownies, cookies, bars and  cake bites!  With special guest, our good friend and fellow blogger, Marina, selling a refreshing watermelon beverage.  So, if you’re in the New York area today, come out and play!  I hear this flea market features bocce ball, musical performances, and sometimes puppets.  ‘S all I’m sayin’.

We’ll be at:

Wythe Ave. between S. 2nd and S. 3rd Street

10am-6pm

www.williamsburgfleamarket.com

photo from williamsburgfleamarket.com

photo from williamsburgfleamarket.com

Cakebites To The People

June 27, 2009

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This week has been pretty nuts preparing for a busy Fanny & Jane weekend (as I’m writing this, I’m actually covered in flour and cookie dough – not really, but funny image, eh?), so I haven’t had the chance to post these photos until just now.  The wonderful and dessert-craving people of the PIT helped make our Fanny & Jane public cake bite debut a huge success this past Wednesday night!  The comedy theatre was packed throughout the evening.  It was fun to meet new people and introduce them to our cake bites, and the friends who have been following my and Jen’s blogs were excited to try what we’ve been writing about.  We even had our own unsolicited barkers promoting our sweets, “Cake bites!  Getcher cake bites here!”, like in the ol timey days.   Jen and I were quite spoiled – our Fanny & Jane public debut, and our customers were some of the funniest people we know.  Thanks for all the support, PITizens.  We plan to bring more cake bites to the theatre this Wednesday for round 2, but we’ll share time & flavor details soon!