The Prep Behind the Pop-up
We've hit quite a milestone here at SneakerBaby. This past Sunday, we had our first ever pop-up at Sandwich Hag in The Cedars neighborhood. The festival was equal parts celebration of the Lunar New Year and World Down Syndrome Day, and it was a lot of fun for us to be a part of a community event. Josh and I have grown so accustomed to going to our usual spots and seeing our friends, but participating in the festival put us face-to-face with so many people that we've never met before.
That was both exciting and terrifying for this introvert, let me tell you.
Fortunately for me, and our little fledgling business, I had Josh there, unflappably friendly and welcoming, so he took lead in drawing in the crowds to our tent. While he introduced our business to the people walking by, I made sure to keep refilling our little samples stand, take payments, and to hand our sampler packs from our cooler (naturally, the day of the pop-up was an unseasonably warm 87 degrees...).
If there's anyone out there who thinks these events are easy for anyone involved, he or she is sorely mistaken! I have so much respect and awe for the other vendors who were there with us, and most of all for Chef Reye and the Sandwich Hag crew for coordinating it all. So many moving parts, but I can't adequately express how amazing it is to be surrounded by hardworking people who are forging their own path, and having so much fun while they're sweating through their shirts in the sun and the humidity, all the while, still graciously producing delicious food for people.
Then there was me that day like, "Look, we got new shirts to wear for the event!"
It's funny. I had a brief conversation with a fellow festival vendor, and he mentioned that he had no idea it was our first pop-up because we were so organized, had a snazzy branded set-up, and we were laughing and dancing most of the time while we were there. I thanked him for the kind words, but assured him that all of our stress manifested during the three days leading up to the event.
Macarons are different from the other foods that were offered during the event. We couldn't make them to order (They'll be ready in a quick eight hours, thanks!), and with the warmer temperatures, we couldn't even keep them out on our table because they were guaranteed to melt before our very eyes.
Our prep work started the Thursday before our event. We'd decided to go with a Lunar New Year theme for our 3-macaron sampler pack and did the necessary shopping for all of the required ingredients. Since we'd never done a pop-up before, we weren't sure how many packs to make so we took a shot in the dark and went with an even hundred.
AKA three hundred total macarons. Three flavors. One oven.
On Friday morning, I prepped and piped out 150 macarons onto 10 baking sheets. With this Texas humidity, they had to rest and dry for at least six hours before I even entertained the idea of putting a sheet in the oven. By Friday night, I was confident that the cookies wouldn't crack when I baked them, so one by one, they went into the oven. The last baking sheet came out around 10pm. Once all of my baking sheets were cooled, I prepped and piped out another 150 macarons' worth of cookies to let them dry overnight. Josh and I went to bed around 1am.
On Saturday morning, I baked off the remaining cookies and left them to cool. I went home to check in on the kitten cats (Pocket and Socks) for a few hours before making my way back to Josh's to start making the three filling flavors (toasted coconut cream, green tea buttercream, and vanilla bean buttercream with a Yuzu marmalade center). We were getting closer to having fully assembled macarons! One the fillings were piped out, the complete macs sat out to cure and set until Sunday morning. That's when I put one of each flavor into the sampler packs and wrapped them in ribbon and placed the finishing sticker on the front.
And after ALL of that was done, I took this photo:
And after that, I went home for a long, hot shower to wash off the blood, sweat, and tears (Kidding! Kind of.) before heading to the venue to set up and do last-minute tablecloth ironing. And naturally, since we finished set-up early, we had to hit up Shoals in Deep Ellum for some pre-event shots and cocktails to calm the nerves.
But ultimately, we made it through our first pop-up without a hitch!
Shout out to Josh for making sure I always had clean equipment, a cleared sink, all of the ingredients I needed, food and water in my belly, music to listen to while I baked, and that I got enough sleep. You da real MVP.
'Til the next one, I'll try to be better at updating our progress on here, but hey, give me a break. Trying to running a business here. ;)
Talk soon, friends.