Maintaining a routine is very important to Emily Schildt, Founder of Pop Up Grocer, so the pandemic has presented her with some interesting new challenges to overcome and learn from.
What does a typical morning look like for Emily?
I wake up around 7 and immediately dart to the kitchen to make coffee and prepare breakfast. I read somewhere years ago that you’re supposed to eat within 20 minutes of waking up. I don’t remember the thinking around it or have any idea as to whether there is any truth to it, but it’s a convenient theory for me. I live to eat. I don’t understand people who don’t eat breakfast; I wouldn’t bother getting out of bed.
How have your mornings changed since Covid?
7AM is actually pretty late for me, so I’ve been ‘sleeping in’ more recently. When I was in the city, I would wake up around 530 or 6 and take the train to the gym. I liked being there before the crowds. Now that I’m not fighting for space so much, I fit working out into my day at various times. But, I workout every day. It’s important to me to spend that dedicated time on myself with routine.
How do you stay organized as a small business owner? Any tips and tricks for managing the work load?
The hardest part for me about wearing so many hats is switching from one to the other. Recently, rather than transitioning from, say, finance to marketing, I block out certain days for certain roles. I’ve found I’m able to be more creative within, as well, because if my tasks are up within that certain area, then I’m free to explore refining our processes, or tools we can be using, etc. Generally speaking, organization is not really an area in which I struggle. I’m a very routine, organized person. It’s the spontaneity and diversion from plans that is really tough for me. COVID has been quite the lesson in losing (the fallacy of) control, for me.
How do you take your coffee?
With oat milk! It’s very important that the milk is cold. I like my coffee to be room temperature; I can’t stand hot coffee. I just don’t have the patience.
Tell us about your favorite mug!
My favorite mug is this blush pink one with a big ole handle from Workaday Handmade. I’m also coveting any and all of the mugs from Lolly Lolly Ceramics. They’re currently all sold out and I am so excited for more to be in stock.
Tell us a bit more about Pop Up Grocer and your latest shop in Austin. What cities are on the horizon? What are your dreams for PUG?
We have big dreams! We opened our very first shop in April of 2019, so just a little over a year ago. I had faith in it, but I didn’t really know what ‘it’ was, and I wasn’t certain of where it would go. I feel so excited just by the simple fact that we’re still here, and we’ve been able to open 4 stores to date, with our 5th set for this fall in NYC. I founded it on the belief that the space we’ve created is what’s missing from grocery -- somewhere you’re free to explore and be introduced to items that are new to you. There’s a lot of creativity and ingenuity in the consumer packaged goods space right now, but there’s never before been a place for it to centrally be showcased. I’m super jazzed about the future, and the opportunity to expose more people to more new, incredibly thoughtful and innovative products.
What’s the most rewarding part about getting to curate your dream grocery store?
Getting to do it! Honestly, I was thinking about this today, on a particularly difficult morning (stressing about our finances, my workload, my lack of a personal life as of late)—I wouldn’t trade any of the hardship for a cookie cutter j-o-b. Every day is different; every day is challenging; every day, I get to meet someone new with a different experience and perspective than I; every day, I have the chance to support small businesses and excite and delight people. It’s exactly the kind of life I’ve always wanted to live, where I feel truly present and active in every part of it.