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What do you do when you get feedback you can't handle ...

Imposter syndrome was in full force this week ...

So TMB is very nearly 6 years old. In this time i've done so many things that I'm really proud of but the thing I think I am probably most proud of is our own recipe brownies. They come in classic, free from gluten, dairy free, vegan. They're all my own recipe. And that recipe hasn't changed since the day i felt like i'd got it perfect. They always have amazing feedback, have sold well online and are now available to buy from actual stores. Which some days I still can't quite get my head around.

So to me it made perfect sense to apply for a nationwide food industry award for my brownies.

I can make them with my eyes shut, they're sold in stores, always with a crackly top, a fudgy centre thats made with high quality chocolate and full of toppings.

No brainer right?

So I registered, made some triple chocolate overload brownies, sent them off and waited. Then the announcement day came. Now I didn't know what my expectations would be, but they have always had amazing feedback - some of the best reviews i've ever had have been about brownies - so I think it's fair to say I had quite high hopes and was genuinely really excited.

So when I got an email to say that the results had been announced I opened it straight away.

This was the feedback I was given.

"A really intense brownie with a very compact texture. The chocolate content was obviously good quality and we liked the specks of white chocolate, of which we could have taken more. We felt it was very sweet and we also felt that it lacked the outer crust that brings some definition to a brownie"

"A shallow traybake with a rich dark chocolate colour that is not substantiated by either chocolate aroma or flavour. The white chocolate chunks add textural interest but are not very flavoursome"

Ouch. Who knew food critics could be so harsh.

After reading it over and over, the first point that was made I felt like I could get on board with and they made the most sense to me.

The second set is what really got me. And actually really upset me. I'm the sort of person that never lets anything go - I mean imagine starting a business because you got absolutely obsessed with creating gluten free cake that tasted like cake and not gluten free - and so this was no exception. I also really wanted to be able to get in touch with them and ask for some clarity.

Not that it would have changed anything.

I spoke to people about what had happened and straight away then decided I was gonna change everything. I ordered recipe books and ingredients to start changing up my brownie, changing the recipie, feeling like what I'd created wasn't good enough and had I got all of this wrong.

I doubted everything. And then my best friend, boyfriend + business friend all said the same thing to me :

"What about all of the people that don't agree with that? What about all of the people that love the product?"

And they are 100% right! I'm sure I'm not the only one that does this but why is it so hard to only focus on the few negative comments rather than the hundreds of positive and amazing ones?!

So now having had nearly a week to reflect on it - and trying to not do anything off my first reaction which is something i really struggle with - I think that

  • everyone is entitled to the opinion and it doesn't mean that their opinion is wrong or not valid.

  • feedback isn't always what you expect and thats okay too

  • what about the feedback of everyone else up until this point - if the critics feedback is fair then so is everyone else's

  • breathe! Give yourself time to think not everything needs to be 100 miles an hour

  • believe more in yourself. You know it's a good product and you believe in it and have done the most amazing things with it so far

  • your first reaction and first thoughts to a situation isn't always the right one

So it wasn't for me this time around. And thats okay. Business is rarely straight forward and it's not all gonna be easy all of the time. Such a cliche but if it wasn't easy it wouldn't be worth it.

Will I enter again?

At this point who knows, ask me in a month or two.

Will anything change?

Absolutely. Everything is a learning experience and although I thought some of it was quite harsh feedback, there's always something to take on board. But the actual brownie? Absolutely not. Agree or disagree they'll always be my favourite and i'll always be proud of them. And that's all that matters.

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