I think the self assurance that I can do anything that I put my mind to came from my mom when I was a little boy. Ever since I was young though, I’ve always been a dreamer. I enjoy dreaming about what the future can hold. I love doing this so much that I sometimes plant one foot into the future, and I forget to fully plant my feet in my own present.
Bread making has been a bit of a whirlwind to date. Ordinarily I’d be really comfortable with things moving quickly. This just means that I’m getting to my future plans soon, which means I can begin dreaming about even farther out future plans.
This past week I’ve been daydreaming about the future of Bread & Justice. As a little home based bakery, things are moving very quickly. The feedback that I gathered from last week’s survey was eye-opening. Thank you for taking the time to share candid feedback. It is clear that demand for handmade, naturally leavened bread is much higher than I previously anticipated.
As a new business owner I am very grateful for the interest in the bakery. And since we exist for a mission, it is profoundly encouraging to know that so many of you want to learn about and directly help to support social justice focussed organizations.
I feel like I’ve already spent countless hours dreaming about what kind of bakery business this could become someday. However, I don’t want to skip past living in the present this time. Part of my own personal journey to be a more healthy and balanced person involves being more willing to live in the present. So I’ve slowed myself down enough to spend time deliberately thinking about what kind of business I want this to be in the near term.
I started Bread & Justice to cultivate a community, to feed a community, and to strengthen our society.
In order to simplify the ordering process, I’m moving away from venmo for ordering bread and I’m adopting an e-commerce online ordering system. This enables me to manage our small weekly inventory more efficiently. The goal of course is to not have to send an emergency email again to a few hundred people informing them that we’re sold out for the week.
Of course switching the ordering process alone doesn’t address the fact that the bread sells out very quickly. To date I’ve been baking and selling my small batches once per week. This month, in order to accommodate more people, I’ll be adding an additional day to the weekly bake schedule. (Probably Tuesday… but stay tuned for that.)
There have been a number of you who have very generously offered to make your oven available, to help find a commercial kitchen, to donate equipment, or to invest in our growth. I can’t explain how humbling it is to have so many people step forward with a willingness to ensure that this business is sustainable. Thank you. It is a beautiful feeling to know that we’re in this together.
I am committed to patiently and sustainably growing this business. Someday I know that I’ll be ready to ask you to help me dream big and grow faster. But for now, I believe strongly that our collective impact will be maximized if we take the time to organically grow together. So even as I’m excited to begin growing capacity, I’m also prepared for the reality that bread will continue to sell out quickly.
As for this newsletter, it seems that we’ll be adding a third theme to this community. These letters will continue to be a home for my reflections on racial and social justice issues, and a place to reflect on learnings about bread together… but this will also be a space to document the process of slowly and intentionally growing a black owned business.
Let’s donate some profits!
As you know, Bread & Justice is a philanthropic enterprise. As such, all profits from the sale of bread are donated to organizations working towards a more just society. Each month we select a different partner to donate to. For the month of January this community joined together to support families who are struggling with food insecurity. Between all of the bread that you purchased and all of the generous donations that were made, we are able to donate a total of $465.33 this month to Second Harvest Food Bank & Feeding America. Thank you for being a part of this.
Now… for the month of February, I’m excited to announce a new nonprofit that we are supporting together. This month Bread & Justice will be donating our profits to The Center for Black Excellence and Culture. If you aren’t familiar with this space that is being developed in Madison, I invite you to learn about this transformative space envisioned for the celebration and advancement of Madison’s Black community. I look forward to sharing with you how I became familiar with this project and why I’m personally excited about it… but for now go check out this article articulating the vision for ‘The Center’.
P.S. If you didn’t catch it in the body of the email – there is a new process for ordering bread :) Click here now and order bread for this Thursday. Hurry, as our small batch will sell out quickly again. I will also be adding a second day to the schedule next week, so if you check on the site later this week you may get lucky and be the first to see more bread for order.