Denise Looks Back on 2019
Sometimes I think of Partake as my second child. Like Vivi, as the company grows, the years seem to fly by faster! When I started Partake, I made a promise to myself that, at the end of each year, I would take a look back on what I’d learned over the previous 12 months.
Starting and running my own small business has come with an immeasurable amount of stress and unknowing, but the seeds sown, the growth fostered, and the smiles our cookies bring to your faces are what stand out most for me. Read on to reflect with me on the handful of moments that have most defined the “journey” this year.
2019: The New
Partake turned 3 years old in 2019, and it was our most exciting year yet! We upgraded our look (+ ingredients) with new packaging that truly represents the fun and celebratory vibes of our brand. We also launched a new product, our snack packs! Navigating the logistics of getting snack packs off the ground was a major rollercoaster. Who knew machinery could be delayed so many times? 😩 I’m so happy we persevered and brought snack packs to life because, now, Partake is even easier to take anywhere. But we’re not finished yet! We’re hard at work making our packaging more sustainable—stay tuned.
Blessings in Disguise
We worked hard to expand our distribution and make our cookies easy to find in stores nationwide. We heard “no” from our fair share of retailers this year but, hey, that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. I viewed these roadblocks as blessings in disguise because, at the same time, we expanded with current retailers—stores that have been our partners from the beginning. And, there are wishlist national retailers coming aboard for 2020—I can’t wait to share that news with you soon.
We also brought on amazing new investor partners and closed a $1M seed round of funding—a big feat, considering .0006% of venture capital dollars go to black women. There were many rejections on that journey, too, but I remained firm on seeking strategic partners who truly believed in Partake’s mission and aligned with our values.
Lesson learned: The patience (although nerve-wracking) pays off. Your perseverance will bear fruit. Everything happens at its right time!
I spend a lot of hours on Partake every week, but my #1 priority is always my family. This year, I was able to bring them along for a lot of the fun (and the work!). I brought Vivi to trade shows—to sneak in extra time with her and show her the value of hard work, dedication, and passion.
Vivi started Pre-K this year, and I attended nearly #allthethings at her school, which is a huge win. She also learned how to ride a bike—very proud mama moment for me! I worked hard to be present, put away the phone, and simply enjoy any time I spent with her.
2019 came with more big changes at home. My husband, Jeremy, is also an entrepreneur, and we both survived working from home and building businesses next to each other. He continues to be my biggest supporter, from schlepping cookies across the city to staying up late at night to help me with strategic business questions. It’s so important that we inspire Vivi to follow her dreams and empower her to build a career that she’s passionate about, even if it’s unconventional.
I also made an effort to prioritize myself more. As a working mom, most of my time and effort go into my family’s health and happiness and keeping Partake running. After a panic attack landed me in the emergency room earlier this year, I realized the importance of slowing down and taking care of my health—mind, body and spirit.
I discovered a new acupuncturist who has changed my life. I leave every session feeling completely refreshed and inspired, ready to take on anything life throws at me. I’ve also tried to meditate more and treat myself to some serious “me time” when I need it.
The 2020 Formula
Year after year, the one thing that remains constant is my outlook: Always be grateful. I feel so fortunate to pursue a career I’m passionate about with support from family, friends, and you, the Partake community. I’m approaching 2020 with the same formula that has made us successful so far:
I can’t believe we are at the end of the decade. It’s crazy to think about where we were 10 years ago, right? I can’t wait to see where the next 10 years will take us! I’ll be ringing in 2020 with intentions—#resolutionfree—because it’s important to be easy on yourself. I hope you’ll join me!
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