The bakery has been closed way too many days this holiday season. And it's been cold. And I truly don't want to get dressed and go do something. Like function. So I am making lists. Of five new things we will do in the bakery this year.#1 -- A New "Winter Cookie."
We started making snowflake cookies for Christmas a couple of years ago. They were unglazed shortbread stars, decorated with white royal icing and dipped in sugar. Very pretty. A nice white accent to an otherwise green and red collection of cookies. This year we started making them in different colors. Red -- to go with the Alabama collection. Black -- just because they looked cool. And my current favorite -- sky blue medallions with funky white snowflakes. They go with Christmas, but extend into "winter" (that very short season between Christmas and Valentines Day).
#2 -- New T-Shirts
The last time we had t-shirts made we were a different team. How do I put it nicely? Well, we averaged large to extra-large. Now we average medium to large. And we are low on clean new t-shirts, which are the uniform at Mary's. We've also been asked by many of our younger customers for shirts in youth sizes. It would be fun to offer a free t-shirt to our summer cooking campers that didn't look like a sleep shirt. So new, smaller, funner shirts are on the agenda. We're thinking of changing the back of the shirt from our logo (which will still be on the front) to one of the very cool drawings by Suzanne Gray that are in our cookbook.
#3 -- New Labels
There is a very cool bakery in Atlanta. They make only two items -- cupcakes and macaroons. Minimum purchases and delivery only. That's not what I like about them. It's their letterpress label that really turns me on. Of course, with minimum prices of $20 - $30 per order, I could afford to spend a dollar per label too. But what about the other 90% of our customers? That is what is so cool about Tuscaloosa, compared to Atlanta (other than the absence of mega-traffic). We have a book arts program at the University of Alabama, where students learn about letterpress printing, paper making, and all that neat stuff. We hope to be able to work with them to create a cool new label or gift card for Mary's. I'll keep you posted.
#4 -- Saturday Cookie Throwdowns!
Starting right after our winter break (January 10-20), we'll host a Cookie Throwdown! on Saturday afternoons through March. I am talking Bobby Flay style as in a competition. We'll pick a theme, such as Gardening or The Wild, provide cookies, glaze and royal icing, and see who can come up with the best design... It will be a free and fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. We'll have judges, and the winner gets a t-shirt, and bragging rights to your very own item at the bakery. Afterall, football season is over and it's too cold to be working in the garden. Details and announcements of the weekly Cookie Throwdown! will be posted on our website, on Facebook (become a fan of Mary's Cakes and Pastries) and in the shop.
#5 -- New Cake Books
Yes, we have a website. Yes, our most recent cake photos are posted there. And yes, I know this is 2010. But yes, we need to update the books of cake photos in our shop. Many, many customers come in and ask to look at photos of cakes -- and seem a bit put off when I suggest they go to our website. Wouldn't you know that iPhoto on my new Mac has an app that creates a PRINTED AND BOUND PHOTO ALBUM that I can put together and just click "create ibook." I learned this from one of my customers and have already spent hours and hours organizing my 1000+ photos into three books -- "Wedding Cakes," "Celebration Cakes," and "Not Just Cakes." My goal is February 1, 2010.