Thursday, September 25, 2014

Changes! Changes! And...More Changes!

If you're reading this, welcome back! Our blog site was down for about a month while we were updating both design and content. This. Took. Forever. Most days, when I had put aside a few hours to make a dent in what needed to be done, something came up. It never failed. Murphy's Law. However, it's finally done. Well, almost. Enough so to go public.

As mentioned on our Bodacious Biscuit Love Facebook page, we've been diligently working on some changes. Our 1 year mark is approaching next month. Already. Time flies. With any new venture, the first year involves a great deal of trial and error. By the end of year one, the foundation is laid. You have a fairly solid ground to stand on. What works. What doesn't. If it works, enhance it. There is always room for improvement. If it's not working, tweak it or filter it out.

That's exactly what we've been doing...

1. Our Blog Site - I'm my own worst critic. It's both a blessing and a curse. In the case of our Bodacious Biscuit Love blog site, it helped out immensely. In short, the content was getting stale. When I had originally launched our blog site, the goal was to give everyone a peek behind the scenes. After all, we're real people, living life, working jobs, tending to our daily routines, etc. However, as time went on, things were getting redundant and posts were duplicating our Facebook updates...a lengthier version of sorts.

A lot of that had to do with a "writer's rut" I often get tangled in...writing for the masses. In other words, I didn't want to say the wrong thing, piss anyone off or "stir a turd." When that happens, I lose my voice. If there's one lesson I've learned in my 22 year writing career, it's to write in my own voice. The best compliment is when someone says, "When I read that, I could hear your voice reciting every single word."

It was time to spruce things up a bit. Get out of that rut. Instead of a peek behind the curtain, why not just let people in?!?! Hell, let's just tear the useless curtain down. We're human. There are good days and some where the F-bomb is dropped more times than we care to admit. I trip going up the stairs and my wife still has trouble rolling biscuit dough to the right thickness. It was time that people got a 360 degree view.

2. Our Biscuits - What I am about to say may disappoint a lot of people and for that, I apologize. However, after a great deal of deliberation, taking a close look at the pros and cons, going through all four seasons, we've decided that we're going to only offer our peanut butter biscuits. They hold up without any issues regardless if it's 10 degrees or 100 and our swizzle adhered to this flavor the best. We were also able to use any cookie cutter with the peanut butter biscuits.

Our other flavors were temperamental. The sandwich cookies had an extremely narrow temperature margin. The filling couldn't get too cold or too hot. The runners up were our biscuits containing dried fruit and vegetables. Each of these items (bananas, carrots, blueberries and cranberries) all held a certain amount of moisture that required us to adjust our baking and drying times. The weather outside also played a key role in bake & dry time calculations.

If we had a commercial kitchen, this probably wouldn't be an issue. However, we don't. We work with 1 oven. Attempting to get everything "just so" was extremely time consuming. At times, it cut our biscuit output in half. This meant less biscuits. Our mission is to spread as much biscuit love as we can to shelter, foster and rescue pups. Less biscuits counteracted our efforts.

In addition, our peanut butter biscuits came out the winner as far as preferences with both pups and "hoomans." That was important to us and a key factor in our decision. And, with focusing on only 1 flavor, we're able to offer more sizes and shapes. We've had requests for larger biscuits, smaller biscuits and everything between. We can do that now! And yes...we still swizzle!!

3. Updating Our Labels - Our labels were handwritten for almost a year. We wanted to maintain the charm of our favorite country store that's been in business for 228 years. However, in order for us to get registered through the Department of Agriculture, we needed to add a couple of things to our label. The obvious became inevitable. There was no way around it. We needed to design a printed label. This was a process (thanks to my indecisive brain), but we kept it simple and clean. We're still getting used to it. I will admit, I don't miss hand writing each individual label and I had no idea how time consuming that actually was until we started using our new labels. It's the little things.

You'll also notice that we altered our name slightly. Maybe altered isn't the right word. We've referred to ourselves as both Bodacious Biscuit Love and Bodacious Biscuits. For some, that was confusing. In the end, we went with Bodacious Biscuit Love as it describes what we do rather than what we provide (Bodacious Biscuits).

4. Events - We've had a blast doing events this year. Not only have we met some great people, expanded our Bodacious community and made dozens of new connections, we were able to get the word out about our mission. Often times, people think we're a business and we sell biscuits for profit. Most are surprised to find out that's not the case. This generates interests. Conversations start. That's a beautiful thing!

This year, we've done quite a few events. Some were geared towards animals. Others were for the "hoomans." Some events, we delivered the goods and relied on people to run the show. Overall, it's been a wonderful experience and has given us insight into the type of crowd that we get the most response from. It's definitely the events catering to all things animals. Next year, that's going to be our focus.

5. Fundraisers - In addition to spreading the biscuit love, we've done quite a few fundraisers. Typically, we'll offer special biscuit packages for a suggested donation and with that money, we purchase food and much needed supplies for local animal shelters. Or, we'll have a food drive and give out bags of biscuits or "hooman" cookies as a thank you. Each have been equally successful.

Animal shelters have limited budgets and this is something we've seen over the past year during our visits. This has sparked our motivation to raise the funds so we can assist with those needs. Whether it's wash cloths, cleaning supplies, blankets or food, every little bit helps out. In the year ahead, we plan on launching more fundraisers so we can help as many animal shelters as we can.

The past year has been incredible for so many reasons and we're going forth with our mission to spread the biscuit love to as many shelters, foster and rescue pups as we can. Making the changes we did will give us the ability to extend on that that next year.

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