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Starting something new

by Matt Stoner Fehsenfeld August 30, 2019 2 min read

4 Comments

Starting something new

Quince and Apple passed major milestone earlier this summer, celebrating its 10 year anniversary. That's a long time to be doing anything, let alone making jam.

Two babies named Matt and Clare who started a preserves company

Me and Clare at the start of Q&A. We were apparently babies when we started this thing...

And as we celebrated with friends and family, people kept saying things like, "Wow, you guys must really know what you're doing."

Well, I hate to break to you all, but...

I literally do not know what I am doing - AdamJK shopI actually bought this hat this week.

 

Keeping a small artisan food company going for ten years is incredibly hard, often all consuming work. It involves a seemingly endless supply of mistakes, awkward moments and failures. There are successes too, obviously, but they sometimes feel more like temporary pauses in the steady stream of fires to put out (sometimes they are literal fires) and problems to worry about.

And sometimes, especially in the early days, the successes mean making preserves until 3 AM because the entire company is just you and your spouse and orders need to ship so you're too tired to really notice. 

 
Quince and Apple co-founder Clare Stoner Fehsenfeld cleans up after a production in our first kitchen

Clare, in the early days of Q&A, working late into the night to make preserves to fill orders for the morning while I stand around with a camera.

 

So, we're launching this new blog partly to dispel the vicious rumors that we "have it all under control," but also just to tell the story of Quince and Apple better. We want to pull back the curtain a little and show what it's actually like to run a small food company.

And we're calling it "Making Life" for two reasons.

The first is that so much of our lives center around making real things - cooking and filling jars of preserves, designing new products, physically building gift boxes, etc. And in a world where not that many people actually make stuff for a living any more, we want to show what it's like to make things and sell enough of them to make payroll consistently.

But also, Clare and my entire goal in starting Q&A was to make a life and jobs that we could enjoy together. Running a business as a husband and wife team, while also raising two young kids, can be a lot at times. It's not always easy (actually it's never easy), but it is interesting! So, I thought I'd write about it.

 Max the warehouse baby

Our version of work / life balance.

Mostly you'll be hearing from me, Matt, because Clare's busy doing smart people stuff in Excel like refining cash flow projections and overhauling our inventory models. I don't exactly know what shape this will take over time because I don't know what shape Quince and Apple will take. But, my goal is to just report and respond in real time to all the ups and downs, problems and victory, frustrations and joys of living a life dedicated to making things. And just maybe it'll be interesting to more people than just me. :)

-Matt 

 


4 Responses

Todd Smith
Todd Smith

September 04, 2019

In AWE!!

Lloyd Hanson
Lloyd Hanson

September 04, 2019

I know you as the kid who moved to Olive St at age four and as my daughter’s best friend for what is now decades. Can’t wait to read the next installment tracing your past, present and hopes for the future. Simply sending love and support.

Beth Lukas
Beth Lukas

September 04, 2019

Look forward to following your story- it has been pretty amazing so far! So proud of you guys!
PS. Your preserves are pretty darn good, too!

Lynne belcher
Lynne belcher

September 04, 2019

Love it!

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