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Joy, Magic, and Fun: Revitalizing a 93-Year-Old Chocolate Shop

Season 2: Episode 11


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Located in Queens, NYC, Aigner Chocolates has been serving chocolate treats and sweets for 93 years. When owner Rachel Kellner bought the longstanding chocolate shop with her husband, she brought values from a previous career in social work, prioritizing giving back to the community. In this episode, hear from Rachel and Yelp Queens Community Manager Samantha B. about how community and networking have contributed to the shop’s success.

On the Yelp Blog: Learn how to gain more exposure for your business with Rachel’s top five tips for boosting reputation with media coverage.

EMILY: I’m Emily Washcovick, Yelp’s Small Business Expert. Behind the Review features conversations with business owners and customers who wrote one of their Yelp reviews. In our discussions, we talk about lessons they’ve learned that can be used by other businesses to improve their own reviews…and their bottom line.

Occasionally, I also talk to industry experts who have additional insights into things like customer experience, small business technology, or general advice for running a successful business. Today, we’re featuring a conversation I had in-person back in April of 2023 with both a business owner and the consumer together in the recording studio. Rachel Kellner, one of the owners of Aigner Chocolates was joined by my colleague and Yelp Queens New York Community Director Samantha B. Let’s give our conversation a listen.

EMILY: Samantha, why don’t you start and tell us who you are, what you do. And then we’ll hop over to Rachel.

SAMANTHA: So I am Samantha Berenz and I am the Yelp Queens community manager. And part of my job is to uplift local businesses, but also part of my job is to just be a regular consumer. And this is one of my favorite businesses. I’ve been shopping for a while. Every time I walk in I get the chocolate covered gummy bears and I keep ’em in my dresser drawer. But, I’ve gotten to know Rachel and her husband Mark over the years and they’re just awesome people and they have a great product that’s also delicious.

RACHEL: Thank you. Yeah.

EMILY: Rachel? Let us know who you are. And tell us about your business.

RACHEL:  My name is Rachel Kellner. I am the co-owner of Aigner Chocolates, which is one of the oldest chocolate shops here in New York City. And we’re located on Metropolitan Avenue and the Chocolate Shop has been in the exact same place for almost 93 years now. I know, I know.

EMILY: Oh my God.

RACHEL: It makes you young and skinny. Look at me.

EMILY: 93, right?

RACHEL: I’m like, Benjamin Buttoning it right.

EMILY: And you must not eat any of the chocolate.

RACHEL: I mean that’s obviously, definitely not. Definitely.

EMILY: That’s the result.

RACHEL: Not at all. Not at all.

EMILY: So 93 years? I need to know the journey of that. Obviously it wasn’t you. What? Oh, it was you. 93.

RACHEL: Okay, so this is the way the story goes. My boyfriend at the time was driving down Metropolitan Avenue. He went in to buy chocolate for me. There was a for sale sign on the window. He met with the owners that day. Brought home the financials that night. We had a very colorful conversation that wasn’t very nice. And then four weeks later we bought the business. And then four weeks after that, we opened 10 days before Halloween of 2015.

EMILY: This is why I don’t find this stuff out in advance because I can have a genuine reaction to how crazy that story is.

RACHEL: Yeah. So, and what makes it even crazier is my husband’s a pastry chef. He was one of the original owners of Little Cupcake Bake Shop. So he was in New York Magazine because he got sued by Buttercup Bake Shop and Buttercup, the owner of Buttercup, was one of the owners of Magnolia. So it was like Magnolia, Buttercup, and then Little Cupcake. And you know how they say no press is bad press. It was amazing for them. And they did incredibly well. They expanded, they’re in multiple locations all over the city. My husband sold to his partners and he opened a Spanish tapas restaurant, which is how he and I met when I was a social worker.

And I had this idea that food was therapy. That there was something really healing. About food and therapeutic about it. And of course because he liked me, he’s like, oh, that is such a great idea. We should go on a date and talk about this. And fast forward six and a half years later, Aigner Chocolates has really been the manifestation of food is therapy.

And it became really clear during the pandemic because we ended up donating over $30,000 worth of chocolate during the pandemic to the community. And so I have found a way to integrate my background of therapy with my husband’s pastry background. And here we are.

EMILY: That’s incredible.

RACHEL: Right.

EMILY: And it’s a wild story how you meshed your backgrounds into something completely different. That’s scary though.

RACHEL: You know, it’s interesting. I joke that I used to help people abstain from addiction and now I help enable addiction and my clients would be so proud of me now because they taught me, all you have to do is give them just one for free and you get them hooked for life.

But what I didn’t realize then, that I now realize is that, you know, business is really all about networking and it’s all about building relationships. And I love doing that. As a therapist, that’s your role. It’s not even about like the work that you’re able to do in a therapist client relationship is based on the trust and safety that you build with your client.

And so that’s what I do out in the world and I think I’m received differently because I’m not a typical business owner.

SAMANTHA: And everybody knows Rachel, like everybody, other business owners, customers, everybody knows you. Like, I don’t even have to say I, I’ll say the shop name. Yeah. And they’ll be like, oh, Rachel.

RACHEL: I’ve also probably given away way more of our profits than I should because I’m overly generous when it comes to chocolate and I literally bring it everywhere. Because if you go anywhere without chocolate and you tell people you own a chocolate shop, they start looking like, where is, where is it?

EMILY: Oh my gosh. There are so many directions I could go.

RACHEL: I know. Where are you going?

EMILY: I’m gonna have Samantha describe the business for us. From the outside, when you walk in, gimme all the visuals.

SAMANTHA: Okay. It’s right in the corner. Okay. Okay. You have a beautiful storefront. And it has the signage, but around it is like foliage and vines. It is magical. Then you walk in, it’s even more magical cuz you’re surrounded in chocolate and then to your left. Right? As soon as you walk in there’s like a little barista area. And you could get a hot chocolate. A coffee.

But there’s that right at your left and then lines of chocolate in the cases and then to your right, usually it’s like the seasonal area. Yeah. And I usually go there before to get my nieces and my son [Mm-hmm] like an egg or something. I usually end up eating it, obviously. But, so yeah, I go during the holidays, the big holidays and get them something, I usually actually come and get stuff for gifts too.

And then you guys do a lot of cute little like themed chocolate. So I do that for gifts as well. Like a Star Wars chocolate. Mm-hmm. Or Batman, my son’s name is Bruce. So I got him Batman chocolate a lot.

EMILY: Cool. It’s really cute. I love that. Yeah. And I’m curious, Rachel, what about the business prior to your ownership has stayed the same? And what are some of the biggest changes you’ve made visually or from a product perspective?

RACHEL: So when we bought the business, my boyfriend, now husband, at the time felt that the selling point of the business was the recipes. So when we bought the business, we bought all the recipes. So if you are in your eighties, you are eating the same marzipan now that you ate 80 years ago. And so we kind of felt that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And there was a reason that there was such a strong loyalty with our customer base, and so we wanted to keep that.

So that to me was the most important thing that we kept was the recipes. We made changes. We rebranded the logo, we changed the colors in the shop. And then the other thing that we really focused on was diversifying our revenue streams, improving our e-commerce and doing more networking and working with corporate clients, not just walk-in clients.

We started working a lot more with the community and have developed really strong ties in the community. So I run a business alliance. And then also I’ve done a ton of PR, so we were just in the New York Times. We’ve been on CBS, NBC

SAMANTHA: Do you write your own press releases?

RACHEL: I do. I write my own press releases. ABC, we spent Valentine’s Day morning with Cindy Shoe at CBS down the block. And then we were just written up in the New York Times a week ago. We were on New York One a few weeks ago. We were on Channel 11 WPIX with Ben Aaron about a month ago. So that was also something that we’ve really taken to another level. And I don’t think they did any of that with the previous owners.

EMILY: I think a lot of business owners think that to get that coverage, you have to spend thousands of dollars on a PR firm. What would you say to them?

RACHEL: So we did that. And got nothing. And then I started doing it myself and I built those relationships and now it’s to the point where I’ll literally text my media contacts and say, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on.’ And I’ll pitch them stories.

I realized two things. Number one, the media like to hear from business owners themselves, not PR companies. So I’m sorry to say this, PR companies, but I think you might be going the way of the dinosaur. Number two, that you’re making their jobs easier by reaching out to them, you’re actually doing their job for them.

The other thing is we own a chocolate shop, as you all know, and there are so many terrible things happening in the world that the news couldn’t go on if they didn’t have some fluff lighthearted yeah pieces. And so we’re always able to provide that. For example, we’re now in JFK airport at Hudson News and at LaGuardia. And that’s something that I can reach out because say someone wants to talk about businesses post COVID and we can talk about what happened in the candy and chocolate industry and the relationship we developed through the Queens Chamber of Commerce and how they introduced us to Hudson News, and now we’re there.

Or I also notice, and this is a piece of advice I give people, when you’ve got momentum, you have to keep going. So what happened was we were named the number one chocolate shop in New York City by Timeout in New York. So what we decided to do this year, because we’ve been named number one chocolate shop in Timeout before I got a banner. And it’s bright white, and then the text is in black, and so everyone can see it driving down the street.

And then we ended up in the airport. So then I started reaching out to media contacts and said we were just named number one. Now we’re in the airports. Valentine’s Day is coming up. Why don’t you feature us? Mother’s Day is coming up, Easter is coming up. And then we got more and more press. And then it is just like the press behooves the press.

EMILY: I think the takeaway there is like you have to be willing to pitch yourself. And part of that means you have to be able to talk about yourself. And that’s where a lot of business owners have the struggle, the roadblock.

And Rachel, you’re a new mother, so how do you manage running the store, working with the press essentially by yourself, and more – alongside raising your kids?

RACHEL: Yeah. You know, fortunately my husband and I – fortunately and unfortunately – my husband and I run the business together, and when it’s one person operating the business, it makes it exponentially harder to focus on different opportunities. Even like today, for example. This morning I was speaking at Queens College, at a business breakfast in the business school.

This afternoon, Elmhurst asked me to come and speak at their annual hearing because they want me to talk about the relationship that we’ve had with the community, right? So this is all like PR stuff, right? But if I didn’t have my assistant, my staff, my husband, the chocolate staff, I wouldn’t be able to be here.

And so for the first few years, was I there seven days a week? 12 hours a day? Absolutely. I mean, I was telling Sam, we were talking about what it was like after giving birth. My son is four and a half. I brought him back to work with me 10 days after I gave birth.

SAMANTHA: And I said to her, you are insane.

EMILY: That’s such a business owner move, man.

RACHEL: But can I tell you the postpartum that I went through? And then we went right into COVID and we were trying to keep the business open. So, these things don’t just happen. Right? Like with the New York Times, I’ve literally been emailing them every few months for six and a half years.

EMILY: That is the behind the curtain that everyone forgets about. It’s not one pitch. And it’s not one different revenue stream, right? It’s thinking about it all

SAMANTHA: And thinking outside the box.

RACHEL: So it’s about saying yes, it’s about recognizing that you don’t know where something is gonna lead. Even with Sam, I mean there are a lot of times people reach out to us and we say no, because we literally don’t have the bandwidth. And I remember that Sam reached out, we sat at the candy kitchen table, we had this very candid conversation. And then we like, we just jive. We just fit. And I think that’s why some people get along and some people don’t. That’s why some people go to certain businesses, have certain friends, it’s the energy that you feed and find off of each other.

SAMANTHA: And to piggyback off of that, Rachel just puts out such good energy too. Not even through the chocolate, but just to the community. [Thank you.] You could tell, this is why I think the squad is the best and my borough is the best because we do have a real sense of community that you don’t see in Manhattan. You don’t see it in Brooklyn. Yeah. Maybe the Bronx comes the closest. But we really just care about each other.

[Mm-hmm] Especially when something bad happens. [Yeah.] Especially during a pandemic. It’s a lot. But we come together and you could see it through. [Mm-hmm.] Chocolate donations or even just art classes or classes in the park, [mm-hmm.] Queens is really special. [Mm-hmm.] Yeah. Really special. And we have special places such as the chocolate shop here. [Mm-hmm.]

EMILY: So that brings me to my next question. You both have spoken a lot about community service. Tell me about some of the efforts Aigner has made to contribute to the community.  Which one has been your favorite?

RACHEL: During the pandemic, kids were going on rainbow hunts. They were drawing pictures of rainbows. This was all over like the Facebook parents’ pages. What they would do is kids would draw pictures of rainbows and they’d put it in their window, and it was really the only activity that was safe to do, which was to go out on walks. And so we were open two hours a day, every day during the height of the pandemic. So my husband would stay home with Jake in the morning. I go to work. It was the quietest drive to work, minus the ambulances. It was so insane. And then I’d work for a few hours. I’d had all my calls forwarded, and then I would come home and Mark would go to work.

And the city shut down in the middle of March and all of our Easter production was done at that point and we were looking at everything in the showroom and it was sad, we weren’t letting customers in the showroom. I was literally unlocking the door, helping the customer from the front door, wearing gloves, wearing masks.

The moment they’d give me their order, I’d lock the door. The key is still bent from all the times I was unlocking and opening that door. And I was driving home and I was looking at the rainbows and my husband and I were saying, what are we gonna do with all this chocolate? The great thing about chocolate is you can melt it down, so there’s not waste really.

But we had already spent the money producing the chocolate, packaging the chocolate. And so we obviously knew Elmhurst Hospital was the epicenter of the epicenter. They’re only a few miles away. And so we had this idea, and this is just how my husband and I are, we kind of just bounce ideas off of each other. And so we said, what if we do a rainbow bunny exchange? What if we ask the kids in the community to draw pictures of rainbows with messages of hope to frontline workers, and in exchange, we’ll give them a bunny pop because we had so many.

And so the goal was to collect a hundred. We collected 315, and if you go to Elmhurst Hospital right now on permanent display, they made a rainbow of rainbows mural. Oh. And then we donated Harvey, our three foot bunny, and he has now become an Easter tradition. So every year, so this is the third year we donated Harvey.

And then during Omicron, which was just December of last year, we did flower power, and the goal was to collect pictures for the pediatric units, and we said our goal was to exceed our rainbow bunny numbers. So our goal was 316. We collected 1,503 pictures of flowers and we donated 1,503 flower pops.

EMILY: I think that’s the kind of stuff that probably keeps you all going, but it’s the step to do that. That other business owners just need to kind of take that leap, you know? And, and you see the love back.

RACHEL: Right. Sometimes I think if we can’t figure it out, who can? Like we are a chocolate shop, right? There are a lot of businesses that aren’t so fortunate to have such a fun, joyous, magical business. And so it gives my husband and I an opportunity to be really creative in ways that some business owners can’t. And I think that because my background is as a therapist and I’ve always wanted to give back and I’ve always been taught you do, for those less fortunate, it’s part of my background, being Jewish, it’s part of how I was raised.

And so for me, we’ve been so fortunate. We’ve been gifted this incredible opportunity to run this business, to carry on a tradition, and it’s my husband’s and my social responsibility to spread joy. And so we’ve really taken that on in every way that we can, and we just try and find ways to do that. We partner with the local schools and we hire seniors and we try and mentor them, and we work with the local colleges to give them internship opportunities that eventually turn into jobs.

EMILY: Yeah. What it makes me think of is all the groundwork that building community requires [mm-hmm.] Before there’s payoff. [Yeah.] Or before you can measure the impact of what you’re getting back. How do you and your husband navigate that? How do you decide when to give away chocolate and when to really say, are we cutting into our margins? [Right.] I mean, you gotta pay attention to the dollars and cents at some point. Right?

RACHEL: Right. So that’s a really, really good question. And we’re working on spreadsheets around that because I think that we haven’t been paying attention to how much we’ve been donating.

Right now we’re focusing on hyper-local. That’s really where we’re focusing. So for example, we sponsor the Forest Hills Youth Athletic Association. So we sponsor the soccer team, we sponsor the basketball team, and we sponsor the softball team. And they’re all literally in our backyard. We just did a fundraiser for the daycare in Forest Hills that my son attends.

Queen Center for Progress, it’s an organization in Queens, someone reached out to us. We get a lot of requests for donations and unless I know them specifically, or I know their organization or they’re close by, we just can’t do it because we can’t say yes to everyone. It’s impossible because then we will go out of business. The other thing is too, we’re very fortunate.

Forest Hills is a fairly affluent neighborhood, and the reality is in business you need to make money. You need to make money, otherwise you’re gonna be outta business, right? And so the more that we’re able to grow our revenue streams, the more it gives us the ability to give back, and that’s really what it’s about, right?

So for example, there’s a children’s day in the Forest Hills Gardens. Most people know, if you know about Queens, that Forest Hills Gardens is the most affluent neighborhood in all of Queens, right? So I said to my husband, someone said to me, oh, there’s a children’s day. You guys should do something. And I thought to myself, you know what?

They’re people that live down the road and have no idea we exist. And these are 2, 3, 4, $5 million houses. Those people probably have the bandwidth to place corporate orders with us. And so the reality is that if we set up a table two or three blocks away from us, and we donate gummies to an event, and someone hears about us that doesn’t know about us and sees the goodwill that we have, and they place a corporate order with us they’re placing an order with a business that’s constantly finding ways to give back to the community.

And that’s really the name of the game. That’s the way that you can balance, like running a business and understanding that your revenue needs to exceed your expenses, but also recognizing that there are some people say, oh, I want to do this and I want you to give me a really deep discount.

And I’ll just say like, I’m really sorry if that’s how much you can spend, our donation budget is at capacity. This is what we can do for you. But unfortunately, you might need to go to another chocolate shop that’s able to accommodate your requests. We’re a high-end chocolate shop and we don’t pretend not to be.

EMILY: It also doesn’t sound like you closed the door on those opportunities. Right.

RACHEL: Never. It’s like we’re always meeting in the middle. Yeah.

EMILY: Yeah. And education. Like, yeah, we can’t do this event, but maybe in the future.

RACHEL: Yes, absolutely. I always leave that door open. Always.

EMILY: So I love talking about these different revenue streams. But I also do think there’s this really core component to what’s happening in the brick and mortar. Obviously you’re sitting with me right now, so there are other people in the brick and mortar making it run.

Samantha, can you tell me what you value most about your experience as a customer when you first walk into a brick and mortar store?

SAMANTHA: I’m a people person to begin with, so it’s always really nice to just walk into a brick and mortar and see a smiling face, whether that be one of your staff that is very knowledgeable about what’s going on or what’s in the shop. There’s something about even when I meet with business owners myself, I’m always apt to go in person than over the phone or even on Zoom.

We got so comfortable during the pandemic just sitting behind a screen. I’m just not that person. I never was.

EMILY: Yeah. Rachel, I wanted to bring it to you to talk about the team. Even earlier you mentioned you have the chocolate makers. You have the people who are working in the store dealing with your customers. How do you make sure they carry out that same feeling, emotion, approach that you and your husband bring to the business?

RACHEL: Yeah. So that is a constant, I don’t wanna say challenge, but it’s always something that we’re talking about.

Our staff, typically our front of house staff, stay for a year or two. It’s not a lifestyle, like a career choice to work in the counter. Yeah. So we understand that our staff are with us for a period of time. When we hire them, we do set expectations around this isn’t just a summer job, the learning curve is really steep.

And also our staff know about my background. And so they know that and I’ll explain to them when Samantha’s walking into the store she’s probably either in a good space or a not so good space. It’s one or the other.

And if you’re in a good space, it’s wonderful, and that’s great. Being in around pleasure and joy and seeing, tasting, touching, smelling, the chocolate’s only gonna be elevating that. And if she’s not in a good space, this is gonna be her reprieve. This is gonna be the thing that gives her a little boost, that’s giving her some hope, that’s giving her some joy.

And so I want all of our customers to feel cared for, to have their needs met in the same way that a therapist is there to meet a client’s needs. And I know that might sound crazy, but to me it’s like, when you’re sitting in session, is your back supported?  Is there something soft that you can touch? Like having all of your senses being triggered in really positive ways.

And, I don’t spend as much time out in the showroom as I used to, but I do make an effort to go out there to subtly observe my staff. To engage with the customers. And I think the same thing about parenting as I do, managing staff. The best way to teach is through modeling. I can say whatever I want, but as soon as someone comes in that I know, even if someone, I don’t know, hi, how are you? Can I help you? Would you like a sample of chocolate? Is there anything that you’re looking for?

SAMANTHA: And that radiates too to the customer. A lot of the businesses that I do work with have been around for years and it’s because you care about the customer. And that shows, that really does show, and it shows through the product. It shows through the service. It just, it just shows. And who wouldn’t wanna go back to that.

EMILY: How do you translate that online? How do you share that enthusiasm digitally?

RACHEL: Yeah that’s another good question. We have transformed our website multiple times and each iteration feels more like what it is we’re trying to convey. I think the thing about chocolate is people rather see, taste, touch, and smell it.

So our online sales are not what I think they could be. However, I think that people would rather come into the store than shop online.

EMILY: What I love about what you just shared is that you’ve identified what you’re good at and what your customers value most, and you’ve made the decision to put your resources there. Sure, if you diverted your time and resources to ecommerce, you could be more successful than you currently are in that space. But the customer experience is worth more to you and your customers. Ecommerce becomes additive to an already successful in-store business instead of the focus taking away from your customers in person.

RACHEL: Right. I’m 38, my husband is 50, he might kill me for sharing this, but, I’m not technologically savvy with Instagram and Facebook and TikTok and Twitter and all those things, however, that’s not our target demographic, that younger generation. Our target demographic is a woman age 30 to 75. But we needed to hire a marketing manager and we needed to go live on Instagram and constantly be taking content, so finding different ways to interact with every demographic. And then you’ve got like the newspapers, right? Where I might have a customer consumer who doesn’t go into the store, doesn’t wanna shop online, doesn’t know about Instagram and Facebook, but reads the New York Times. And so I was just able to reach that person.

So it really is trying, I mean it goes back to diversifying and also you don’t know if something is gonna work. And I think that we live not in a society. In New York City, in a place where everything is so instantaneous. And it takes time to figure out, and it takes mistakes and it takes a lot of money sometimes. And patience. To be able to figure out where am I going? Where do I wanna be? How do I see us? What’s working, what’s not working? And continuing to reinvest in the business constantly and evolve.

EMILY: Yeah, I was gonna say, and be okay with evolving. [Yeah.] And not that every decision is set in stone. Yeah. It’s like even, you said about the website. I think sometimes people hold themselves back and they don’t put the website up until it’s perfect. Yeah. And it’s like, well, what the heck? Right. It’ll never happen. Right. So you have to be okay with choosing something, moving that direction and switching it up if it’s not working.

Samantha, since you didn’t write a review, I’ll let you give advice on how you should be reminding yourself to write reviews. Like, what should my consumers who maybe aren’t active on Yelp be doing when they’re out in the world to become better reviewers and support the business in their community.

SAMANTHA: Pictures, pictures. Pictures. Pictures. We have the greatest gift, where we have a handheld device. That we could literally record everything around us. I went to get my makeup done today and I was telling them that I came here because I went on Yelp and you posted pictures of the makeup and described everything in caption and it was perfect. That’s why I came here. That’s the first tip I give – all the time. Pictures, captions, everything, because that’s how you’re gonna get the most word out.

Then outline your experience. I always put how my food was, how my product was, how my, whatever was, how I was treated when I walked in. If there’s some constructive criticism. Actually, the best thing I do is when I go to a restaurant, I always make a note about the bathroom. You never know. Never know. Also, do they have a changing table? Is it kid friendly? If you are going to a very fancy place  does the bathroom reflect the fancy place? I’m sorry. That matters to me. I like that. Yes. So little details like that you don’t, people might not know about. Or might oversee, but that adds to the experience as well. So I like to put those in as well.

EMILY: Talk to me about how you and your husband look at reviews. Do you read them? You have someone read them for you?

RACHEL: I have someone read them for me now. We used to look at them and, when it’s your business, it feels so personal. And I do agree, listening to you share that having a bad review makes it a little bit more real, right?

For example, someone came in and the batch was, I don’t know, it wasn’t perfect. And they came in and they told me, and then I gave them something for free.  And you know what I said? I said, thank you for coming in because you could have just stopped coming. But instead you decided to come in, you decided to let me know. And I really appreciate the feedback because I can get better.

And so I think that’s what’s important about looking at these reviews is being able to discern. What’s accurate? What’s just an angry person? If someone clearly opened the account and only has two or three reviews, I discard them.

I do think that it’s important to recognize that everything can’t be perfect all the time, right? And I’m not gonna be improving as a business owner, as a leader of my company if we’re not hearing what everyone has to say. But yes, at this point we do have someone else reading the reviews.

If there’s anything that is hard to respond to, it obviously comes to us, but we are very fortunate – the majority of our reviews are positive, so they’re really easy to respond to. And I like to respond to as many reviews as we possibly can. And you’re right, it’s important for people, for the consumers to know that the business owner is engaged.

And I think just to go back to one of the questions you asked before one of the biggest challenges that business owners find is working that balance of working in your business versus on your business and it’s so, so tricky.

EMILY: What I like best about this perspective is it breaks down the assumption that a business owner needs to be the one managing. And I am a firm believer that someone has to. [Mm-hmm. Right.] You can’t just ignore it. But a lot of business owners ignore it because they don’t wanna deal with it, and they feel like, well, maybe I can’t delegate this, or whatever. But I think delegating something like that is the best thing you can do.

SAMANTHA: But it’s also hard to delegate.

EMILY: Of course.

RACHEL: Yeah.  It is. You know what? I think once I had my son, I realized I had to. There really wasn’t a choice. And it’s funny because I’ll literally delegate everything I can and my husband’s like, why don’t you do it? I’m like, why should I do it?

Like one of the things that I look at is, is there anyone else in my company that can do business development? No. Is there anyone in my company that can do PR? No. Is there anyone in my company that can build culture? No. So I have to do those things. Is there someone in my company that can respond to an email? Absolutely. Is there someone that can create a marketing email on MailChimp? Absolutely. Is there someone that can post on social media? Absolutely.

And it’s learning how to set people up for success. It’s learning how to help people grow and develop these new muscles. It builds empowerment. And every time I let go of something that I don’t have to do, I give another person an opportunity to rise. And to grow. And why should I take that away from anyone? Because I’ve been given those opportunities.

SAMANTHA: And also, and I don’t know, if you feel the same way, but ever since I became a mom and I delved out of how am I supposed to be a working mom, and the mom I want to be, at the same time, I became even more empowered. I became even more like, well, I have to do this for my family. I have to do this for my son. So this business has to succeed, so I’m gonna do everything possible to make that happen. And I’m gonna teach my son how to do that so he’s successful. And is nice to people and puts good out.  I just, I look at him all the time and I say,  just do good. Yep. Just do good. Yep.

RACHEL: And I think breaking that cycle, with men in the world, right? Like you and I have a huge responsibility in that we’re raising men. Yes. And what kind of men do we wanna raise? My husband cooks and cleans. I do not. And yes, I just had the opportunity to spend 10 days with my son, and I’m thrilled that I got to do that. But I told him last night, and this morning, mommy has to go to work today. And I brought him breakfast home from my breakfast and I’m gonna show him pictures of being here.

And I want him to know how powerful and awesome and superwoman-like his mother is and so many women are.

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