In Tara's Own Words:
Questions and answers with Tara Endicott from Burlap and Bean
In a novel, the story's main character overcomes obstacles. Looking back on the establishment of Burlap and Bean, what were your biggest obstacles? There is endless opposition when you choose "the road less traveled". Every obstacle seems huge, impassable, until you reach the other side and you look back and feel proud of yourself for a moment, you catch your breath, and then you see the next hurdle. A friend recently remarked that there is a famous Norwegian saying that goes, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes". I'm not sure how to prepare for the journey of chasing your dream, but I think there is a lot of value in studying those who have gone before you. Shackleton is our hero. Have you seen the PBS special on his voyage of endurance? To learn how to lead and to survive, study his life.
When you first started Burlap and Bean, what was your greatest fear? How did you manage that fear? Once we decided to do this thing, it never occurred to us to be afraid. If it had, maybe we wouldn't have jumped into the deep end. Fear is a liar. I avoid liars best I know how. If you aren't willing to risk everything, then don't risk anything. When we opened Burlap and Bean, we put our house up for collateral. We knew that if we failed, we would simply start over. My father raised me saying a lot of important things and one of them was, "When in doubt, don't." We never had a single doubt about Burlap and Bean. We were hope-filled and faith fueled. We still are.
Mistakes are a part of life. In my story, Clara deals with intrusive thoughts that fuel self doubt. What would you say to someone who has a hard time pushing past his or her mistakes? I spend a massive amount of time in nature. I make time for wandering in the woods almost every day. Nature has far more important things to say than any human I have met thus far, including myself. I think if we could all learn to listen to each other and to ourselves A LOT less, we would be a better species. My worth is rooted in Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God!" If you are struggling within, make time for stillness.
Burlap and Bean has a welcoming reputation among musicians and writers. How did you set the tone for such an eclectic coffee shop? We wanted to be a door of hope, a place where creative community thrives, and an alternative to the island of productivity mindset. We wanted to be a place where people feel safe, inspired, loved, valued, cared for, and above all else, part of a greater good. Every single person who patrons our shop is supporting everyone else who needs and loves it. How did we achieve these goals? Authenticity, sticking to our guns and goals, sacrifice, thick skin, thicker than thieves support systems, giant horse blinders, and a lot of prayer.
What piece of advice do you give to someone who is afraid to make that first step in creating a better life? When I work from home and Ember (13 year old spoiled brat of a Jack Russell) wants my attention, she'll bring me a toy, get in the trash, paw at my lap, whine incessantly, bark at a wall (I swear just to be extra creepy and annoying - or to mock how I sit and stare at my laptop), pee on the floor even though I just let her out 10 minutes ago, ask to be fed, ask for treats, ask to go out and then when I get up and open the door, just stand there looking at me as if to say, 'you first'. It drives me insane because I KNOW that what she is trying to tell me is, "You don't have me forever. You don't have you forever. Why are you ignoring me? Why are you ignoring you? Let's go out and wander." She's right and I love the raw truth that the only way I can tell her she is right is to get up and go outside. Sometimes words are useless and I'm thankful for that. So, the short answer to your question is to tell that someone to get a dog.
I can't resist asking for a book recoomendation for my website. Is there a book with a strong female main character that inspired you - or, do you have a favorite book? The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.