September 17, 2018
The struggle is real

A beauty queen and a BBQ king saved my soul

Renee King

The week before Easter this year, I was not sure my relationship with my parents would ever be the same. They had both walked out of working at my Worcester bakery, ripping out my heart strings.

I knew working with family would be difficult, but I had no idea it could cause this type of pain. My business was falling out of my grasp in front of me, I was not present in the lives of those I loved, my family was torn apart, and I hated my job.

This was a brutal blessing in disguise. I cried all day from the time I woke up until I would ugly cry myself to sleep at night after working a 15-hour day. Looking back, the crying was a release of emotions built up over five years of business.

I never let myself feel anything. I rarely evaluated how I was as a boss, took everything personally, and had no set of structure. I had ideas of what type of person I was and knew I wanted my staff to treat our customers well, but I really was clueless about what was happening around me. I was spending so much time in the kitchen I didn't realize I was having employee issues, a lack of leadership, and blatant disrespect for myself, my family and my company.

Since those dark days, The Queen's Cups has undergone many changes. I have looked at every aspect of how our business runs, from the financials to personnel; from employee happiness to my happiness; putting managers in place; hiring an assistant to help me organize everything; and developing policies, core values and expectations. It has been an exhilarating process, including major steps I took to get to where we are today, which is better than ever.

Without my parents leaving, without changes in personnel, and without these key people in my life, I would still be the miserable Cupcake Queen I was a few months ago.

When my good friend Brian Treitman, owner of B.T.'s Smokehouse in Sturbridge, reached out to me and asked me how I was, I took it as a sign. On a rainy Wednesday, he met with me and told me how B.T.'s manages their day by different processes, what he offers his staff, and the respect they all have for one another.

Brian looked at my financials, helped me choose new vendors, a new payroll company and gave me suggestions on what I could incorporate at The Queen's Cups to make things run smooth and give it some structure. Brian does not know this, but he ignited a fire in me that has made me a trailblazer since that day in May. I am forever grateful for his friendship and guidance.

A few days after Brian rescued me, I had a visit from my friend Kristie Lee Laskes, owner of NKD Beauty in Worcester's Kelly Square. Kristie Lee is a business woman who I have the utmost respect for, but she is a fierce loving friend who gifted me her business coach, Ellen Sachs. Kristie Lee does not know how much she changed my life with that introduction.

Since I started meeting with Ellen, I have become my best self. She talked me through difficult situations in regard to my parents, helping me mend fences with them; counseled me through tough decisions of transitioning people out of my business and bringing new ones in; calling me out if I ever mentioned talks of self-doubt and what type of energy I was putting in the atmosphere. She continuously makes me feel normal about what I am feeling and going through. She has been a true blessing.

With the help of these mentors, and so many others, The Queen's Cups emerged from the dark age of my own making. I've called this time period my Soul Search. It was not easy, and I had to dig deep and truly look at myself. I have the right people in the right seats. I am aware of our financials. We have structure, leadership, team morale and respect for one another.

My parents are back at work with me (YAY!), but we've made sure they still get to spend at least two days per week with the newest additions to our lives, my niece and nephew Tatum and Weston. I am happy, I am present in the lives of others, my family is back together, and I love my job.

Renee King is the owner of The Queen's Cups bakery in Worcester.

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