elise chats with Ashlee Gadd, founder of Coffee and Crumbs about what's changed for her business and brand since she launched a collaborative blog in the summer of 2014. shownotes can be found at elisejoy.com/podcast/shownotes146

United States


00:00:00hey welcome back I'm at least and you're listening to season 5 of Elise gets crafty this is my weekly podcast that talks mostly about creative small business I'm so happy you're here if you want to learn more about the show you can go to Ellie's Joy. Com podcast otherwise describe and listen and get excited for some inspiration these next couple weeks
00:00:26hey thanks Jamie this week for these kids crafty I am talking with one of my good friends Ashley Gad and I had Ashley on the show years ago I think it was 3 years ago could have been too should have done some research before I checked Ashley is the founder of a website called coffee and crumbs and I'm going to let her tell you more about it but the reason I want to have her back on the show is over the past couple years coffee and crumbs has really expanded into more than a website and I love that I love that it shows could have the potential of the internet and the potential of community so we're going to talk about that in more depth but actually thank you for coming on thanks for having me I did not realize it had been that long since I talked to you last on here so it's about coffee and Crepes so coffee grounds kind of started as a passion project for me in
00:01:262014 actually I have idea in November of 2013 and it took me a little while to kind of officially launched but it officially launched in July of 2014 as a collaborative blog about motherhood and at the time I was feeling just a little bit frustrated by the type of content that exists for mothers pacifically on the internet I felt like a lot of the content was sort of just that clickbait content you know articles that are sort of meds to drum up drama in the comments sections between women and between that and sort of the Pinterest perfect lifestyle pieces I just felt like there was something missing for moms I wanted a place where women could write real raw vulnerable honest
00:02:14stories about being mothers and that was sort of the initial vision for coffee and crumbs and the week and since then since the last time I talked to you I we've done a lot more if we've added a podcast we've added a newsletter we started offering writing courses online we had a book published and now we just yeah we are sort of managing all of those things yeah yeah I feel like it's a it's a good example of I guess it's like when you split up your ID when you split up your channel there was a diversified like obviously have something for people who are new mothers I more like the gift-giving portion like through the book and then there's also like the writing portion it's like you're riding I mean like you really touched on a lot of the different aspects
00:03:14yeah totally I think we've we've sort of noticed overtime that are audien sort of falls into two camps we have like the consumers of coffee and crumbs who just love kind of absorbing the content they love reading the essays and listening to the podcast and sort of just soaking up the encouragement they were offering and then another good chunk of her audience are aspiring creative women they are women who want to write they want to turn all day wants to be able to record their motherhood journey in similar ways that we do and so that's kind of where the writing courses came into play and just started realizing that that was in that we felt we could possibly meet so I just kind of passing on like what we've learned about writing about motherhood and kind of juggling juggling all of those things the Juggalo I mean how do you decide okay this feels I'm in another a lot goes into it but this feels like the next right step or okay yes we are ready to launch a podcast or you know X
00:04:14what scan your processed with that totally gosh I don't know it's a gut feeling something I I have really really worked super hard at is just sing mission-focused that is something that is not always easy to do because sometimes it can be tempting to sort of just chased the next thing that's going to bring us a paycheck or you know I'm sort of just that next like level of steaming success and I think that the questions I constantly ask myself before I jump into like anything new for coughing crumbs is is this Mission focused like is this next thing that were thinking about doing or trying going to help us achieve our mission which is to make mothers feel safe knowing encouraged and left so if the answer to that question is yes I can proceed
00:05:14pretty much full steam ahead which I often to personality and yeah I would say that that sort of that's kind of the qualifier when I'm like trying to make a decision is does it help our mission yeah I love that I love that for business owners to connecting to that line up with their mission and just like this just personally I've been doing a lot of thinking lately it's like I think because we see you so much why was he so much content everyday it's so easy to change the charging objects in it and it's very easy to think like and get an RV and like to have fun
00:06:00that's the thing that it seems to be fine but if you almost like unless you kind of know what you really want it's easy to to follow at night I hear ya I I don't know if you've done any deep-diving on the Enneagram but I I will just say very very briefly that I have done some deep diving into the Enneagram in the past year and I am a Type 3 and it's cheaper and one of my hardest struggle as it's just that I have a really hard time kind of separating my my like identity and worse with my work it's just so kind of like wrapped up in one like I'm constantly just trying to achieve things and be productive and I'm a workaholic and I love to work and it's
00:06:56that is a challenge that I face even in like some of those decisions decisions that need to be made it's just am I am I chasing this because I'm trying to work more and do more things be more productive and assign more like work projects to my Identity or am I doing this because it's genuinely the next best thing for coughing comes to do you know I'm so that's kind of funny I just been like oh we're of in the last year that I've been sort of asking myself no I would I think it's on your little I would guess that if I hadn't you're not supposed to like guess what people are probably go there I would like I would guess that you would be A3 I do feel like I sometimes feel like I'll take a personality test and then I'll read what it tells me I am and I find myself being like yes that's why me or being like no that's not me and then I'm like angry at that one
00:07:56now how can I prove I'm not that which was really is just proving that I'm like more crazy then especially when you figure out what your personality is like it should make you feel a little bit defensive I think I should men Spirit right like we don't want to admit our faults I don't want to let you know I did it's nice to have like a category you know but on the other hand you like but also you know there's so much fluidity I mean especially with the Enneagram cuz there's wings and there is a whole thing I definitely look into it I didn't take a test I like read a book and just self text myself and it was very like easy for me to do that because when I read the description of a 3 I was like oh boy this is for better and for worse this is who I am
00:08:56people who write for the site and you know who do other things and I would just love to hear because you guys are you know mostly spread out it's it's more remote work it's like you're coming into an office about to hear some of the things that have come up for that are or how you guys make it work or how you as a henna founder and boss make it work really good question I we have a slack Channel setup so just like logistically speaking how we make that work is we talk on slack and I initially said that up because I was killing myself over email I just felt like there were so many emails everyday about just really dumb little things but because we don't work all together in the same place and we are so spread out all of our communication takes place online and so I started to slack Channel gosh I mean it was awhile ago a couple years ago and that has drastically improved I think like over
00:09:56all team communication and just team spirit team oral if you will I think that it's just easy for us to keep in touch that way we basically chat kind of all day long about different things since we have all sorts of different Channel set up a lot of them are just you know kind of productive like for us to talk about different things are working on the coffee and crumbs and then we also have like a prayer channel that I've been a random channel that I've been so we talk I mean like all not all day but we talked pretty much every day on a really ongoing basis through slack which and it's just like kind of fun for us like I didn't say I had no service is lacking for until like about 6 months ago but for people who don't know if you kind of picture like a private message board like that's a might be a good way to visualize it if you're not on soccer aren't familiar that's cool I feel like that's important and I think I know what you mean that email
00:10:53cancel. It's like a list right and like task work and versus black and so much Monica conversation so that means there's so many like little things that just need a you know I kind of tape on the essay today can you fix it or whatever you know just these little teeny tiny bits of communication that if I had emails coming into my inbox all day long about all of these different things they would drive me crazy but the great thing about slack is that we can talk about other things on slack while we're also talking about I mean we talk about everything and then we talked about faith and politics and sex in like whatever I mean it's just kind of an open Forum we talk all day long and I really think that having that format setup has like a kind of helped us grow closer as a team is coffee and crumbs creating like a message board
00:11:53what is through our readers and finding out to support us on patreon and we have jokes so many times because our patrons get special rewards with a quarter and we took so many times like we need to just like take screenshots of our slacked 07 Patron as a reward and gas like which writer said what stories and you got to your email inbox zero I spell impressed by that I try to get to inbox zero I work with like an inbox 25 I'm actually really get on inbox not the right on the text messages I have like a hundred text messages all times but my inbox I keep around 25 or less but I loved what you said about I sit down at these times everyday to check my email when I'm in the mood to make decisions blew my mind yesterday it was such a good tip thank you yeah I took me a long time to figure out why do I have anxiety about my email
00:12:53I was looking at it when I rented one tattoo that I did want to make choices and so it has really helped and also that's the second thing as hell. Is just being honest about letting him to something is sitting in my inbox it's because I am going to say no but I don't want to say no and that does not help the person he's waiting for my response like sir they want the ass but I'd rather go to know soon so that's that's what have helped and then I am I also tell that this is something people like ask for things you know like they want me to do a donation for their raffle or whatever it is it's going to be like a week can you show me a reminder email and then it's kind of back on them and then they have to tell me again right like a blog post on organizing your email
00:13:53because I figured it out in the past like a year exactly so I should I could definitely right I could definitely a blog post you just record a podcast about how because you had your recently I guess it's this coming weekend with the last weekend when you did the brunches it's this Saturday tell me about 30 offline yeah sure I know right so I guess we're just so passionate at coffee and crumbs about our real life Villages and were actually getting ready to cast later tonight on the topic of loneliness because I feel like we get messages about this all the time women asking us how do I make friends I feel like I don't have any friends I'm really lonely and these messages just break my heart I whether you just moved or you know you had kids and your other friends don't have kids yet I mean there's just so many hard kind of Evans
00:14:53seasons in motherhood where I feel like I can just get really really lonely and the brunch idea just sort of I don't know what happened so way that like everything else happens just a what if we fill in the blank I did a brunch in just give everybody all of the resources to host their own and my friend Katie and Katie Blackburn who is one of our coffee grounds writers her and I sorta brainstorm this in the car I would have gone up to Spokane to visit her and on the way to the airport we were brainstorming Us in the car for just 5 minutes and it kind of just stopped for a while and then we just started yep we pulled it together very soon it but we have a new art director Lodi his incredible and she whipped up all the design work for us and there a house there is our in-house recipe Creator and she made all of the recipes for the best and we sort of just thought it would be cool if we could pull together all of the like tools that you would need him a lot of times for women that is the hard part right it's like the planning of it
00:15:53going to do it in like how do I do it what kind of meal kind of food should i serve in I can't make my table pretty or whatever like we just wanted to give you everything you would need you know - like you need to go to the grocery store and buy the food for this thing but like we wanted to give you the tools to make a beautiful brunch we're giving you the invitation we're giving you the recipe is the playlist a beautiful printable for the table Place cards conversation starters maybe the offer free it's just like available on our site all you have to do is sign up and you get an email with the link to download all of the all of the digital goods and it's really just something we wanted to do for moms like we just kind of wanted to offer it as a gift on Mother's Day weekend and give everyone like a built-in excuse to get together with their girlfriends and it's crazy so many people signed up I think we're at like 250 branches in my gosh I mean all over I was hoping we were going to get to all 50 states which I actually still don't think we're all the way there if you have any listeners in Montana
00:16:53I'm looking at you unfortunately it's already happened to missing a couple of dates that we got we've been dancing like Guatemala in Italy in South Africa and Australia and it's just been so crazy to see the sign ups yeah come in and it'll be fun over the weekend to just keep up with the hashtag and hopefully look at everyone's photos of three little gathering we're super excited about it and gray about on whatever level they want to meet you at does that you know it's like if you just want to read you can just read if you just want to come and get the bite-sized you got if you're if you're more of a podcast person like to get further I'm doing a really great job at that and think you might my experience it seems like it has been really organic the one thing though that is
00:17:52it seems like it happened really quickly but his was obviously a little bit more intense was the book it so I'm wondering if you want to talk a bit about how the book came about and what that whole process has has looked like yeah at the book was I like to just say it was kind of the Unicorn experience of of coffee and crumbs and it's not normal to have a publisher just to drop a book deal in your lap but that's kind of what happened to us but I actually got contacted from two different Publishers within a couple of weeks time and I sort of brush the first one off straight up out of fear like I did not feel ready I did not feel equipped felt like we had only been the block and only been up and running for about 15 months at that time and just saw that there is no way we can do this we're just not we're not there yet this isn't the right time it's too fast it's too soon and then 2 weeks later I got contacted by another pillow
00:18:52sure a bigger publisher and at that point I sort of just felt like that was God's way of just nudging me along like this is something I want you to do and I'm just going to keep bringing it to you until you say yes and at that point I like took the phone call and just kind of took the whole conversation a little bit more seriously and felt like it was going to be a good fit for us. I still did not feel ready I still felt terrified but at that point I just really felt like there were too many signs that this was like the next thing that God was really calling isn't to go to ignore it though and it was really hard like the actual writing of the book was hard and the it was just a lot at least I am sure you can imagine this like there it's not like while we were working on the book we just ignored all of the other responsibilities of coffee and crumbs
00:19:52that time or it's not like the floodgates open and I had miraculous like hours and hours of free childcare like I just felt like this huge project had just kind of landed in my lap and I had to fit it into my just regular life like it all just came on top of everything else so you need to keep doing everything you're already doing with coffee and crumbs and then work on this super late at night and really early in the morning everyday and I no pressure but it really needs to be your best work ever and you know five years from now you still need to be able to stand by these words and that I mean 5 hours from now 10 years from now 20 years from now that that is still to be the most like terrifying part of polishing right because on the internet I mean eventually thinks it's kind of get very do you know and if you really really hate something you can delete it or take it down but publishing is the forever you know it just felt it felt so much more permanent and it was such a bigger
00:20:48such a bigger responsibility though yeah so now you know that it's your thumb behind you like what how do you feel I feel good like that getting it out into the world there was just so much anxiety before the book came out obviously you know it's just it felt very which is weird because I mean I've been writing on the internet for 10 years right like I'm used to Chris's on and putting my work out in public places and I I'm so used to that and one and one regard but I think that the book just felt a hundred times weight easier than not like I did not sleep for months and months before I can put in your hot and it's about like everything that I would just go to sleep thinking about it worrying about it praying over it I'm just feeling I don't know like the weight of what we had just made and now a year later I feel way more you know obviously
00:21:45I'm sure not everybody has loves the book but the majority of the feedback that we've gotten has been overwhelmingly positive and have gotten just so many kinds messages and emails and you know kind reviews and it's been just really cool to to work on something like that together as a group and see like the fruit of our labor sitting on a Shelf at Target I mean come on that is like that is the millennial so after 8 even after you knew was going to come out and you knew that you know that that initial high of of the launch and things go well did you have a. While I was like okay so now what were you know did you feel like I guess I'm I'm wondering if afterwards it was okay so do I need to do this again or I mean like how do you did you feel like now you have an idea for what was next or extend take some time off or what is that process look like I actually feel like I kind of went against the grain of what I felt other people's expectations of
00:22:45where is that make sense like I think that I think that I kind of Road the high of the book for a little while and then I was like perfectly content to come down off the mountain right like I just would like okay I'm ready to go back to real life now and I think that even like my husband and there were just other people that time that would like well what's next in are you going to do a second book and what's your idea for the next book and it just felt really good thing when people ask you right after you had a baby like so when are you guys going to have another you don't even want to talk about it like I'm not sure if I feel good about this first one the first one turned out before I talk about that but I kind of just coasted for a little while I mean I think that it was only very exciting and we threw this big book launch party in Sacramento which was so fun and all the writer came and it was just such a thrilling just magical experience and I I really feel like I enjoyed that too like the full extent that I possibly could have and then I was really content to rest stop
00:23:45and I still honestly it's been a whole year since I became out I still kind of feel like I'm in that place of I'm not like ready to jump on doing another book I think we probably will at some point I would love to but it's not it's not something I'm like craving to do again I still feel like that was a lot of work in that you probably did it right and you put it on the table and I think I remember after I got married and I do this wedding and it was really fun this party and it was fun and I loved it and I it was over and it's like I'm never doing that again like I said I don't want to like you of course I want to be my husband but more that was just like that was great like I wouldn't do anything different like that was great and I have no reason to like redo it you know and Enzo that's I just I think that that you're just content and that's a good thing like I don't think that people talk about that as much
00:24:45and it's also tired of the industry to it started like even like when you're working on your first book there's this talk like you want to make sure you get EX advance I want to make sure you meet exit band so I'll still never got the second book in like dude I haven't even written the first back right now and the second book is just like already there they continued off and it's I mean it's so similar to even just deciding that you're going to have another child like for me I know now what that process really looks like me and I know now what it's going to do to my life and my schedule and my marriage and it was really hard it was it was an overwhelming amount of work to pile into my into my very full life and I think that I'm definitely going to go into the second book if and when we do one which is my eyes wide open you know like okay now I know what this is going to take and what it's going to cost me for these months that were working on the book and how can I
00:25:42prepare myself better you know I kind of feel like when you go into like you're having your second child you're like okay now I know what this is going to do and I know that these are the things that I wish I would have done the first time around I have a list you know it's like these are the things I wish I would have done the person really wish I would have had more child care I wish I would have had more intentional time card out with my husband because our marriage kind of got put on the back burner while we were working on that and you know I have this just short list of things that I I will want to change the next time around for just a better experience from Lancaster to finish you know right right yeah and I think about you whatever people are working on is just as idea that a lot of times you know that you do that first thing I can
00:26:24you take that jump and it is scary and much harder than you expected and you know if you knew going in how difficult it would be you may have been more. Nestor you just in general like right you would have maybe been more hesitant since it's almost like it's a really good we find these things blind because I really can't we can't back out if you don't write another book are you don't do the same thing again you still know when you're giving these really challenging situations like there are these boundaries you can build or these there are these things that you can like try to lock in to avoid that next time right right yeah so that's kind of wrapping up here any like is do have a piece of advice like something that you've taken from these past four years of doing what you're doing and it kind of doing the juggle that you'd want to share with people who are either at the beginning or they're feeling just crazy stuck in the middle of a big project they're working on losing your chair
00:27:21oh gosh
00:27:24that is a really big question and I feel like I should have a really big answer I mean gosh it sounds so cheesy I'm trying to think of a non cheesy way to say this but I think if if I learned anything from running having comes for 4 years it's just the importance of staying true to yourself and for me what that has looks like in coffee and crumbs is staying true to like what I want for this space you know now that there are just so many people involved in the work and we've so many readers and see and then we just get tons of feedback all the time at which which we love I mean good and bad that we love getting but I think that just staying true to yourself and staying true to the work that you want to do is specially if you if you're the boss or that you've created the dream that you're chasing are you
00:28:24carved out the career path that you're following it can be really easier thing to lose yourself in the expectations of other people and that is attention I have felt really strongly in the past year and it's been something I've kind of been like actively working through and fighting against But ultimately I think that most of the decisions that I have made in the past year I have been because I really wanted to like stay true to myself even if sometimes that means you're disappointing other people that's awesome and I think to the magazine called boss ladies I'll link to the episode she just like kind of went dark on Instagram like she just she posted like white photos and then she just talked in the text and it was like this rebranding and like not having birth of her business and yeah it was
00:29:24very cool and I guess, at the most it's she felt like things had wondered what was the direction she didn't want to be in and she made an extremely intentional and like public turn around and I and I admired it on the lot of levels but I think the most likely be assuring and cool part about it was like you get to do that like if you can show up a little later you don't recognize what it is that you're doing are you don't love anymore whatever you can do just kidding now we're going to do this and isn't it something that I mean at least like I just feel like I I lose sight of my ability to do those things sometimes like me I just I just decided last week that in the month of August we are taking a company-wide sabbatical I am just I mean I'm not shutting down having cramps feel like having Crohn's will produce no new content in the month of August know I say no newsletter know podcast just made this decision last week and it was this weird thing where I like I'm the boss like I'm allowed to do that and get it felt so strange to be able to say that
00:30:24you know that I can like make that decision and we're not going to get in trouble or like nothing bad is going to happen you know if we just don't produce new contact for 30 days I've been doing this work for 4 years without a single vacation like I work 365 days a year ago and I'm tired and I want us to be a group of women who rest when we're tired and I think taking that like ownership of being your own boss and being the business owner is something that sometimes feels foreign to me you don't like I just kind of it's easy for me to lose sight of that. Like I have the authority in the power to take a break for 4 weeks and like know that my whole business is it going to fall apart if we do that you know exactly and is it is I think it's it's important valuable to like about this thing and and it's reassuring when you do take break it doesn't crash nice it's nice to see that it will still stand and you will come back with fresh I then like fresh energy for it which is so important for your house on the healthier present yeah
00:31:24always so good to talk to you and tell us where we can find you and where we can find coffee and crumbs and coffee and crumbs at coffee and crumbs. Net www. Coffee and crumbs. Net and I also just wanted to briefly mention exhale which is aa.com is where you can find out all about exhale which is our new creative membership for women interested in pursuing at the intersection of motherhood and creativity we have this really cool creative Library built out just full of resources writing prompts creative exercises artist interviews which at least I totally need to get you in there and you an email yeah I can promise you I'll respond in 24 hours you need to answer my email.
00:32:24passionate about this subject We Believe women are creative we believe a lot of women put their artistic Ambitions on the Shelf when they have kids and we just want to empower women to continue to pursue creativity alongside mothering for the enrichment of both experiences so we've built out this huge creative Library we have a great membership that have great conversations in a private Facebook group we talk all the time about all things related to creativity we have an XL podcast we have an XL video series where we talk about things like self-doubt and rejection and sweetest kind of dive into all of the topics that creative women can relate to and we would love for you to check it out so XL creativity. Com is where to find information on that that's the next thing I feel like that was kind of like that I mean that that's the next branch of what the business is working on right like that that's your next pool of things is that height
00:33:24figure out I mean pretty much since the beginning of coffee and crumbs like how do we make steady monthly income right that's how I need to support myself I need to support my family I need to pay the bills I need to support my team and we now have like a we have like a small stuff and we have you know a lot of monthly expenses and so exhale I was so excited to launch this because like we talked about in the very beginning of this show like I try to make all these decisions with the idea of mission first and like this EXO creativity Falls so perfectly intermission because we're taking a niche group of our readers and fans which are the aspiring creatives and we're encouraging them very intentionally in their own like writing and creative journey and it just works really really well with what we are passionate about though yeah yeah yeah that's awesome that sounds really great I'll be sure to link to that as well for everyone and then coffee and crumbs is of course on Instagram and Facebook and Ashley you as well so
00:34:24yeah and it's Ashley with two e's not a why thank you you're working on and it's been so cool to watch things grow and evolve for you guys so congratulations as well I love watching you and all all of the things that you do I always aspired to be as creative as you do and to get my inbox down to zero just like you do
00:34:53my friend Ashley and I hung up the phone she said that she would speak to offer a discount for all this noise of the podcast stuff you go to Exhale creativity. Com can use the code at least 10 Elise 1-0 to save $10 off your first month of membership at exhale creativity
00:35:11alright that's it for this week. Thanks so much for listening as always describe rate review telephone and if you think that this topic is relevant to what would be interesting to them right now I would popping back into your feed next Wednesday we'll talk then have a good one

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