Back of the Napkin Friday Fails: The Savory Taste of Failure
In this season 3 Friday Fails episode of Back of the Napkin, Mika Altidor and Victor Munoz, owners of Victor & Mika’s Bakery, chew on the joy of eating your mistakes. Plus, the partners in love and business dish on how they learned to slow down and still achieve their business objectives. Listen to the episode.
It took a pandemic, the resulting economic slowdown, and a new ally for Mika Altidor and Victor Munoz, owners of Victor & Mika’s Bakery, to acknowledge their heavy workload was quickly becoming a detriment to their lives and business. “I became vegan to be healthy,” said Altidor. “But Victor and I were working way too many hours, which is not healthy.”
Working too many hours is a tough pattern to break, but the COVID-19 downtime benefitted Altidor and Munoz. “The pandemic was a blessing in disguise because it helped us to slow down,” said Altidor, who notes how exhausting it is to own and operate a business. “I realized I felt like everything's becoming way too much, and I needed help. I needed tools to be able to manage things better and to take our bakery to the next level.”
Starting their business with no guidance or mentors was difficult. “We had to learn, we had to adapt, so we learned quick,” said Altidor. “There are still things that we're learning, and as technology changes, as the world of baking changes, and as the world changes period, we're always going to be forever learning.”
Altidor considers it a challenge to run a bakery with a corporate mindset and says engaging a business coach made a difference for her and Munoz.
In November of 2019, Altidor and Munoz began working with Julie Loken, a business coach they met on Thumbtack, an app that connects people to service professionals. Loken encouraged Altidor to organize her thoughts and ideas and offered Altidor an accountability structure. “She's helped me to actually see that I was on almost like a downward spiral,” said Altidor.
Munoz brags about how delectable it is to “fail” and manage excess inventory in the bakery business. “I made extra donuts yesterday, and I finished eating the rest. Like what, six donuts I ate all of them,” he jokes (or not).
Owning a business has changed how Altidor and Munoz view failure.
“It takes some time to get new dishes right in terms of texture and taste,” said Altidor. “A lot of the things that we make, even if it didn't turn out exactly the way we wanted, you learn. You get an inch closer or maybe you get a yard closer to what the end product is going to be. I look at failure totally different now than I did years ago or even two years ago, so failure for me is an opportunity in disguise.”
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