Politics, passion, sharing, caring and vanilla
Amy started her vanilla company while on unemployment, as a way to save money so she might make baked good to sell. At the time, we lived in a beach shack paying less then $300 per month in rent. Our earnings, between us, were less than $10,000 per year.
The circumstances leading up to our beach shack moment were hard... But we, as we do, overcome adversities thru creative projects.
Amy's vanilla experiments became one of those creative projects she used to fill her time... With no TV and no real work, it's what we have always done.
Amy's interest in vanilla started long before us ending up on a beach with nothing but our will and attitude... Amy has always loved to bake, it's an extension of her personality, her want to smile and see smiles, to share, and explore what others might have to share.
Amy also has a need to do her best, to bring out the best in others and, to strive for excellence.
In Amy's pursuit of excellence she researched every ingredient she was using to find little tricks to make those ingredients better than what she could buy, she started to grind grains in a thrift store coffee grinder to make flour. Then, she decided to buy a pound of vanilla beans in an effort to make a better vanilla extract... One pound turned into two and then into three and four pounds of beans... And the very small shack we lived in was taken over by vanilla beans from all over the world, in jars of various liquors and scientific notes attached to those jars...
Some 6 months later Amy had far too much extract for any one person to use, especially a person living in a beach shack with a mini stove that could barely fit a loaf pan... An idea to sell the extract like a farmer might sell their bumper crop... Amy again stashed and saved the pittance of earnings she made cleaning vacation rentals, to buy bottles and labels.
As Amy's vanilla hobby grew in demand and became a legitimate business, so did the responsibilities and bills... I can still remember our small co-op organic grocer telling Amy they'd stock her vanilla if she has some sort of special insurance... Again, Amy dug deep and scrimped and saved, while again on unemployment (the beach economy isn't kind), and spent over a thousand dollars on that insurance, that was 10% of our income at the time, only to have the local co-op never stock Amy's vanilla. Why? Only the fella running the show knows.
As Amy played with more and more vanilla, as she researched the history of the vanilla bean, she fell in love and became consumed by that love, she was obsessed and I can recall having to fight off the jealousy of her new found love of vanilla... And she wanted to tell the world just how easy it was and, when she found out about beaver by products being used as a replacement for actual vanilla, she NEEDED to tell the world.
I can remember the first conversations with Amy about starting a vanilla business. Those conversations were rooted in "girl power" and helping young gals from zipcodes like the one she grew up to learn how to brew their own vanilla and that effort and accomplishment might add something to be proud of when overworked and under paid... those first head scratching ideas of making a vanilla business had talk of educating the public on the nefarious nature of "natural products" and the dream of slowing down the harvesting of vanilla for global warming sake, she dreamed of becoming successful and producing vanilla, ethically, for the restaurants of the pacific north west and down to San Francisco while teaching the world how to make their own vanilla and bake their own baked goods. (check ninedaysofpie.com
another of Amy's creative projects, and a holiday in my honor, boosting hundreds of pie recipes and how to's)
In those first conversations of starting this business, her intent and motive were clear to me... It was political and business was there to support her political outreach, to further educate, to help others feel the pride she felt when creating, to help others strive for excellence, if only for a moment.
Her original intent was and is always to make the world a beautiful place.
Fast forward to today and the only thing different from Amy's original intent and goals is she wants to use her vanilla's reputation as the world's greatest vanilla, her over a decade of vanilla research, education and networking and the growing demand for her vanilla and vanilla laced products to create a few jobs in the small town we currently reside.https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1434331827/smoked-vanilla-triple-xxx-vanilla-the-big-launch