We had the good fortune of connecting with Kendall Mathews and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kendall, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Being a stay and home mom and running m2 Confections full time was not part of my plan initially- I had intended on going back to work after my maternity leave…but then the world exploded one month in after my daughter was born in February 2020. All of a sudden, we had to figure out how we were going to support ourselves- my husband Jon was furloughed, and I ultimately got laid off. M2 Confections had been our side business for several years, but it seemed like it was time to take it on full time. Mother’s Day last year was our busiest holiday to date, and it has only gotten busier since then. Now Jon just started a new job, so I’m trying to do it all (and i think it’s going pretty well…most of the time!) Figuring out work life balance has proven to be a difficult task. Working in the restaurant industry has meant that I’m used to basically having no home life, and working all the time (even when I wasn’t at work, I was usually working on new dishes!). Jon and I actually worked at the same place for a bit, just so we could see each other- plus, we make a pretty great team! The running theme of my career has always been, “sleep is for the weak,” which is super unhealthy, patently untrue and leads to burnout. I’ve always been a bit of a whirlwind in my career, always working towards the next thing- my life has revolved around food and very little else for the last decade. Adjusting to not being in a restaurant hasn’t been easy- I still try to take on too many projects, and don’t take time to relax, even when I’m given the opportunity. My husband likes to joke that I don’t know how to relax, which is sort of true- even when I’m just hanging out I tend to be thinking about what I can be doing next. That being said, having my daughter around has put things into perspective. It’s been amazing to be able to spend every day with her. She still drives me a little crazy sometimes, but this time has been a gift, and I have slowed down *a little* bit to be able to enjoy more time with her. For me, creating a work life balance is an evolving concept, and one that I’m only now becoming acquainted with in my 30’s. I don’t have a set “work schedule” from day to day, though I try to get as much of my work done while my daughter is napping. As many small business owners can attest, finding that balance in your life is a moving target, but we are seeing a sort of cultural renaissance centered around the idea that you shouldn’t have to kill yourself to be successful. I am working on unlearning this myself, but starting a family has allowed me to shift this balance into focus more than ever before.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think for me, our business thrives on honesty and our community. In our advertising, products and customer service, we try to be as honest about everything as we can be- sometimes to a fault. It resonates with people, I think, because traditional business models rely so heavily on not engaging honestly with the customer. It’s purely transactional. But I think we are in a changing era of transparency, especially when it comes to smaller businesses like ourselves, where customers are more interested in the how and the of a product or brand, rather than purely being focused on the what. We try to be transparent with our ingredients and use local goods whenever and wherever possible (we’re a big fan of Colorado Honey!) plus, we do not use any preservatives besides sugar and only use natural ingredients, which are all things I think our community appreciates. We use fair trade chocolate, most of which is single origin, from reputable suppliers. Behind the scenes, candid shots and even social media shoutouts allow more of our lives into the brand, letting the customer remember that we’re real people. Honestly, that’s something I’m working on- I tend to be a very private person, so lifting the veil on our day to day lives is something I’m still trying to get used to. I always have big plans, but am never quite sure if people want to know what’s going on behind the scenes, it’s hard to know where the line of oversharing is. We try to be candid and personable with our social media, and are working hard to create an internet community (although I am still painfully shy most of the time!)
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, when we have people visiting, we basically create a long list of places we want to eat and drink (after all, it’s what we do!), so I think that’s what I’ll give suggestions about. Breakfast: Snooze A.M. Eatery Rosenberg’s Bagels Santiago’s breakfast burritos Sassafras Lunch: Snarf’s Dos Santos Pirate Alley TacoMex Dinner: Annette Super Mega Bien Safta Famous J’s Pizza Drinks: Death & Company Run for the Roses Any of the hundreds of breweries, distilleries and other libations in downtown Denver
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We have thrived because of our many friends, collaborations and contacts we have made at shows and in the maker community. We love collaborating with people, and couldn’t have gotten this far without them! I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Jamie Hollier at Balefire Goods- she has connected us with so many wonderful people… I don’t know where our business would be without her. She has built such a truly wonderful community around her- and we are fortunate enough to be included. She introduced us to one of our favorite clients- Spirits Wine and Provisions. If you haven’t checked out Emelye’s shop- do it! We also wouldn’t have gotten through this last year without the help of my mom- she’s helped package countless french toast bars, cupped truffles and kept an eye on my daughter when I needed a second to get big projects done. If you had one of our candy bars this holiday season, she probably packaged it!