First Year Reflection

First Year Reflection

This time last year, I decided to take a leap of faith and finally launch Ann’s Creole Candies. I had so much trepidation back then. Do people in Los Angeles know what a praline is? If not, would they try it? Would they like it? If they like it, can I make enough?
I remember the anxiety I felt weeks prior to Feb 1st, our official launch. I made a batch of pralines and they didn’t set correctly. I questioned what I was doing and told myself this was a dumb idea. “A confectioner who can’t make candy” consumed my thoughts as I tried to sleep that night. Despite everything telling me otherwise, I took the leap and posted our first piece of Instagram content. No turning back now, or so I thought. 
I still remember when our first 30 lb. shipment of pecans arrived. I broke the box down into 8 gallon-sized ziplock bags. I looked at it and wondered how long it would take me to exhaust these pecans. 
As we fast approach our 1-year anniversary, I can’t help but be amazed at the response to our New Orleans Pecan Pralines. I’m often in disbelief at the amount of support we received and the opportunities that have been afforded to us in our first year. 
The Los Angeles “Taste of Soul Food Festival” was a goal I had for our second or third year of business. Yet we were afforded a coveted spot as a vendor and we showed out. On a gloomy, misty/rainy day in LA, we sold approximately 2/3 of the 1,000 pralines made for the event. We then moved the remaining 1/3 in the next four days. 
We’ve sold pralines from right here in South Central to as far away as New Jersey and Florida. In fact, we’ve distributed pralines to 59 cities in 18 states! Approximately 4,200 pralines were made in our kitchen this year, 40 pieces at a time!
Oh and remember that initial 30 lb. box of pecans I mentioned earlier? I had to re-up on another box three months later. To date, we’ve used approximately 95 lbs of pecans, 420 lbs of sugar, 79 gallons of evaporated milk, and 105 lbs of butter! 
Despite all of our success so far, I still battle that voice in my head telling me to give up. Every time I cook a batch of pralines (a two-hour process) and ruin it, I want to bury myself under a rock and give up. Just like that ruined batch on the eve of our launch, I have to push through. It’s so much sweeter on the other side!