Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wha, little 'ole me??

Just as the shop is celebrating 3 months in business, I am completely amazed and dumbfounded by the amount of awesome (and free!) press that's circulating about Calf & Kid and the rest of the Melrose Market.

Recently we've had dozens of highlights among local food bloggers, local rag blogs, etc. Last week the whole market got a nice little writeup in the Thursday edition, then lo and behold, the Sunday Times featured a lovely bit about yours truly! The online piece doesn't feature a kickass photo of myself with a hearty wedge of Woman of La Mancha from the esteemed Gothberg Farms. Also hailed in the article (among others), was Black sheep Creamery's Queso de Oveja. I am beyond plussed at how many people have come into the shop after reading the article demanding Black Sheep's cheese! As some of you may know, I spent a short stint at their farm/creamery last summer in the spirit of learning the in's and out's of cheesemaking first-hand, so their cheeses have a very special place in my heart.

This little piece of press has brought people into the shop from all over, clamoring for the cheeses I mentioned, and I couldn't be happier! It's one thing to embrace the popularity of my shop, but it is quite another to have people come in asking for the local cheeses that I so dearly love. I know that the cheesemakers are feeling the trickle-down effect of this with my weekly orders for more, more, more cheese!
Major kudos to you, Seattle and beyond, for jumping on this bandwagon de fromage.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summoning HR superpowers

First off, I must apologize for the lack of posts. I've been busy! This is a very good thing, duh, but it also means I opt out of the things I should be doing for my dear readers, all 4 of you.

The past few weeks have been full of amazing cheeses that I've been posting regularly on my Facebook account, which is automatically linked to my Twitter account. That's where you can find almost daily updates of what's hip-hop-happening at the shop.

In the meantime, I've been consumed with the lovely ordeal that is scheduling. I remember so many other jobs I've had where the people in charge of such a beastly task were constantly complaining about "the schedule", and I often thought, "how hard can that possibly be?" Well, now I'm eating my words along with my daily cheese intake, and I have more sympathy with my former managers than I ever imagined I would (and that was a lot to start with).

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am incredibly lucky to have the amazing employees I have. They are a large part of what has brought me the very nubile success I have, and I love them to death. However, I know that I can't pay them enough to be completely committed to just me, and understanding that I have to work with them to accommodate the other jobs they have that essentially afford them being able to work for me. So it turns out that I need to have many a part-timer willing to sling cheese alongside me.

I've been on the hiring end of many different jobs in the past and I always hate it, the whole Human Resources part of being Mrs. Bosswoman is my least favorite part by far. But it has taught me over the years that there are a few things I personally need to take into consideration when hiring people. First, I hire based on personality almost entirely. I can't count how many times I've watched my employers wave off amazing candidates because they don't have experience in an entry level job. So, so stupid. How do you get experience at entry level without being hired at entry level? Anyway, I'm much more concerned with how I'm going to get along with someone personally than how much they know about cheese, learning what's available in the deli case and beyond in an ongoing process that will never end. One of the best ways for me to gauge how I'm going to get along with someone is with humor, so I employed an old tactic that got me hired as a baker at one of my all-time favorite jobs ever a million years ago: tell me a joke. You can tell a LOT about a person by what they're willing, or not willing, to reveal in a joke. I know it's kind of flippant but I don't even read the emails or the resumes unless the joke makes me laugh out loud or snort.

So there you have it, my golden rule for hiring. So far, so good.