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5
August
2006

Sun is Shining

Today is a new day for Amai. After much hard work, laughter, tears, discussion, debate and negotiation, Kathryn and I have ended our partnership in the business. Kathryn will move on to new projects, while I will remain as the sole owner of Amai Tea & Bake House. This is an incredibly exciting day for me and I am looking forward to continuing to bring my ideas for Amai to life.

While this decision has renewed my dedication and energy, it also leaves me feeling scared and sad. Kathryn and I have both worked tirelessly over the last 8 months to make Amai what it is today. Thanks in part to Kathryn’s efforts, we entered stores I would have never dreamed of and created a company that has already had a huge impact in its relatively short lifetime. I will always appreciate Kathryn’s dedication and contributions, which set Amai down a path to great success.

Separating a business is hard, even under the best of circumstances. It has consumed my heart and mind over the last few weeks, and without the support of Andrew and my family I don’t know how I would have made it through. There were times when I felt completely crazy and like I had lost my direction, but then I would get a message from a great friend or a note from a Lovescool reader and be reminded of why I’m doing all of this. The other day Andrew said, “When you’re squeezed, what’s inside comes out.” This may seem like a rather straightforward statement, but I believe it highlights the simple truth of situations like this. I am so relieved that this decision has been made, and I can go back to creating instead of negotiating.

Many of you have written me and asked for more information about what it’s like to start a business. I also get many notes from small business owners about their struggles in starting their own venture. It is this reason that I talk about my experiences (good, bad and indifferent) on this blog. Some question why I talk about internal struggles, rave about other company’s products, etc., rather than simply promoting the great things about Amai. Doing that would defeat the purpose to me. Amai is a new kind of company, or maybe it is just going back to the way it was originally supposed to be done. I believe in sharing knowledge, being honest and working hard, and I will continue to use Lovescool as an outlet for it all.

So, what is it like to start something new? From my experience, it takes everything you’ve got. I mean this in terms of money, time, and energy. It also takes total commitment, and the ability to focus on a goal and clear a path to achieve it. The pressure is now even higher to do this with Amai. There is a ton of work to do. Here I go again…



8 COMMENTS SO FAR...

Malini says on August 5th, 2006 at 6:21 am:

Yippy…..So happy for you, Kelli. Whew! finally its over and you can get back to your life.

Wishing you all the best and looking forward to reading and discussing all about it.

take care.

Ray says on August 5th, 2006 at 12:47 pm:

Happy Independence Day! How sweet it is (pardon the pun). The stunning packaging of Amai products initially attracts you, but it’s the wonderful taste that brings you back. Believe me, I have personally experienced the incredible reception your product demands. This is the winning combination to the padlock of business success. Good luck!

Kristin says on August 5th, 2006 at 1:14 pm:

Yay for Amai! Let me know how we can get Amai going in CA and I’ll be all over it! Congrats!!

Nahal says on August 6th, 2006 at 1:02 am:

YAY!!!!!! I AM SO HAPPY TO HEAR THIS NEWS ;)

Dave says on August 6th, 2006 at 3:01 pm:

I have a lot of empathy for you. I went through the very same gut-wrenching split with my business partner about 9 months ago. Sadly, she felt she needed to go a different direction, but our product/service will always be far better for her contributions to it.

She continues to be sorely missed.

Mariko says on August 6th, 2006 at 3:31 pm:

Woohooo! I’m sorry about all the hell you’ve had to endure the past few months, but I’m also very glad that you get to continue Amai and that things ended on good (I hope) terms. Hang in there, and you know you have lots of support out here in the blogosphere!

Amy says on August 10th, 2006 at 6:27 pm:

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am in the very early stages of a food business — some days I am psyched, others, not so much so. One thing I do know, every time I read one of your posts, every time I talk to my food-biz friends, (esp. Alison, here in SF, who turned me on to Amai) I know this is my passion. Here’s to the new business model of honesty and openness…and cleaning up after yourselves at food shows (my! I had no idea!) Thanks again.

MasPinaSarap says on August 12th, 2006 at 9:44 pm:

Rock On, Kelli!
I’m so glad it worked out for you, and Amai will live on with it’s creator.
BTW your need for part-timers is all too tempting!! lol
Take Care :)



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Lovescool is the documentation of a journey to discover what sweet things are out there, why people love them so much, and perhaps what it takes to start something new.

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An interest, that turned into a blog, that turned into a career. Kelli Bernard is now the owner and baker of Amai Tea & Bake House.

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