On finding my voice as an entrepreneur…

The journey of opening a restaurant brings new lessons every day. Through every step, I am learning about the actual process of getting the doors open as well as learning about myself and who I am going to be as a business owner.

It’s hard not to think “no one is going to take me seriously.” I am a twenty-something female entrepreneur, I look younger than I am, my cheeks turn a ridiculous shade of pink/red when I’m flustered or uncomfortable, I shy away from confrontation and I find it challenging to not have all of the answers.

What I’m learning, is how to use these qualities as an asset, not a crutch. The build-out process has forced me to double and triple check my research on every aspect of this process and to always trust my gut. When speaking to vendors, I absorb all of the information they are giving me, do some follow up research, and apply that to future conversations with those vendors or others.

There’s a balance between trusting the expert and knowing what questions to ask when something doesn’t seem quite right. This takes confidence and broadening my understanding of everything from HVAC and grease traps to flooring and the permitting process. By nature, I’m calm and not aggressive, which makes it difficult to push back when something doesn’t seem right or isn’t delivered on time. However, I have a very clear vision for Vanillamore which forces me to have the difficult conversations to achieve my end-goal.

This entire process is forcing me to be patient with the things that are out of my control, and focused on keeping track of all of the moving parts. Here’s to hoping our permits will be issued soon (sending positive thoughts to the Town of Montclair), so that we can start construction and continue to work hard everyday to get our doors open!

On another note, it’s been so much fun picking out finishes like paint colors, lighting, chairs and tables. We’ve also been combing through catalogs of plates, glassware, flatware and what seems like a million other things we will need for FOH and BOH operations!

Also, can’t complain about the coffee and tea tastings that we’ve been doing:

Stay tuned for the next blog post… I’ll introduce you to Vanillamore’s manager and take you behind the scenes on menu development and recipe testing!

xo, Risa

“Don’t you dare underestimate the power of your own instinct.” – Barbara Corcoran

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