Magazine article Working Mother

Making Holiday Dough

Magazine article Working Mother

Making Holiday Dough

Article excerpt

My story: At holiday parties, people will say, "Oh, Trish, I thought I smelled you!" I laugh, because it's hard not to give off the distinct scent of gingerbread during the three and a half breakneck weeks before Christmas. This is the season when my baking company more than doubles in workforce, bakes 24 hours a day and takes in 35 percent of its total annual revenue.

Each December, I think that we're ready for the onslaught, that we've solved all of the things that went wrong the previous year. But something always comes up, like the graveyard manager gets sick, and there I am at midnight packing cakes and tying ribbons. As an athlete, I'm used to running marathons. As a businesswoman-I have an MBA from Yale-I know that running a holidaydependent business is a body-taxing race to the finish line. If I want our employees to be dedicated to our all-natural, fresh-baked, artfully packaged gifts, then I have to go that extra mile, too.

My penchant for pitching in is what got me here in the first place. In 1994, my ex-husband, Ayis Antoniou, and I invested $20,000 in Dancing Deer, which was started by our housepainter's wife, baker Suzanne Lombardi. Even though I'd given up business to pursue a career as an artist, in the fall of 1995 I realized that Dancing Deer was about to be swamped by holiday orders. I jumped in to manage operations and handle the marketing-temporarily. I thought I'd finish the portrait I was working on just as soon as we installed more ovens in the old pizza parlor that we were working I out of and recovered from our Whole Foods Market order (which started with holiday cookies and turned into a year-round relationship). …

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