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"How About Them Apples" - Turning Passion Into A Business

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After an unexpected job loss three weeks into their marriage, Alice & Ann Creations was born and now Amy and Brandon Painter are spending days (and nights!) up to their elbows in caramel and sprinkles.

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Recently, I sat down with Amy at Urban Cowboy Nashville to do a taste test and learn more about how she is juggling building this new business, while staying dedicated to her full-time job responsibilities. With “side-hustles” on the rise and I know her story will inspire many of you.

What was the catalyst for starting your business? An unexpected job loss within a very new marriage. It was incredibly tough to navigate, but because we build our life on the foundation of faith, we knew God would direct our path, we just had no idea what it would be. We just knew we needed to put pride aside and have conversations about how to navigate our new reality. It was from those honest, soul-searching, convos that we came up with Alice & Ann (named after Brandon’s grandmothers who taught him to cook).

The idea of the candied apple company came to be because Brandon has always loved to cook and bake for friends and family. It brings him so much joy when he works in the kitchen. It’s his zen. I know it felt very vulnerable to him to put his creations out there to possibly get rejected, so we started with the small step of local farmers markets and it took off from there.

What are some setbacks you’ve experienced? How did you get through them? We are working in a very small space. As Alice & Ann started gaining momentum, we quickly realized we needed a second (and now third) apple fridge. The business didn’t have enough savings for us to just go out and purchase a brand new fridge, so Brandon found a mini display fridge from a closed Subway store. That’s right, we now proudly display a $5 footlong sub ad on the fridge in the middle of our kitchen.

Also, I have a corporate job in hospitality that I absolutely love. So, my time to invest in the business is limited to nights and weekends. We do have a lot going on, but we are very intentional about adding self-care and date nights into the mix. We don’t want to lose “us” in the business.

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What’s the hardest and best part about running your business with your husband? Best part? That’s easy. Seeing his smile when people love his product. I saw something special in him a long time ago, but seeing him start to see that in himself is just awesome.

Hardest part? We are always tripping over each other. I have a 6’5” defensive lineman in my kitchen and let me just tell you, he’s good at blocking!

At first, we were both experiencing rising frustration and then we chose to realize that we are currently living “the good ole days”. That one day we'll look back on these crazy days and nights with fondness. So, we try to keep that perspective when tripping over kitchen aid mixer cords.

Have you received any feedback/reviews that mean a lot to you? Our families are the most important thing in the world to us. So, when Grandma Ann (pictured) tried the apple we created for her and said “this is the best thing I’ve ever

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tasted…and I don’t really even like apples”, our day was made.

My grandfather is a 102 year old WWII veteran and he is telling everyone about our apples. So, the love and support from our parents and grandparents is what keeps us going. In fact, we call our parents after every single market to tell them how we did. It’s a lot of fun for our whole family.

What do you want to say to the person who’s thinking - I’m too old or too young to start a business? Don’t withhold your gift from us. You are the only one who can bring your unique skills to the marketplace and we don’t want to miss out! Putting yourself out there is scary and vulnerable and being courageous enough to take the first step is your superpower.

I know there’s never an easy time to take that first step. I also know that it can feel overwhelming. Trust me, I’m working full-time and running this startup with Brandon. It helped when we decided that we didn’t have to go from zero to 100, we just had to go from zero to one and took it step by step from there. It’s way more doable if you look at it one day at a time.

What was the moment when you thought …”hmmmmm, maybe we are onto something here?” When we had our first repeat customer, we knew we were onto something. At first, I

e9bcb098cf4cd86e245622d5bd58583ed4b7671b.pngwas nervous that people would buy an apple once and then realize we were not actually good enough to do this. When those customers started coming back weekly and even lining up In front of our tent and buying us out before we could even get set up, we knew we were onto something.

Any fun goals you’re working towards right now? We love this business and we would love to grow into doing more corporate events, parties and weddings. One of Brandon’s favorite things to do is to customize an apple for a specific event. Our big wild dream would be to turn this into a family business.

Where can the reader of this article find your product and find you? Website: shopaliceandann.com Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100086549531496

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