We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristy Choo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristy, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
When you do not feel excited waking up in the morning going to work. When it drains you creatively and you loose your drive.
Back in 2013 when I had to move out from Abbot Kinney due to high rent, I did not want to give up, I was not going to walk away as I was very driven to make it work.
I had to quickly switch my business from retail to wholesale in a matter of 2 months. It was like an expansion as I have moved from a 1000 over square foot location to a 5600 square foot production kitchen and warehouse space. I was working very hard for the first few years, to secure as many wholesale accounts as possible and dealing with the challenges in the kitchen at the same time. Within a short period of time, we were able to serve from 2 to 12 wholesale accounts. It was a great satisfaction to see and prove to myself that with hard work and perseverance nothing is impossible. I was grateful to have a production manager who have help and work really hard with me. We were producing from hundred of pieces to thousands of pieces of cakes in a week. It kept me going nonstop I do not have time to slow down and evaluate.
But over the years I was really burned out, beginning to start questioning myself how long can I continue. Sales figure was great but I was constantly under a lot of pressure all the time. Work never leaves my mind 24/7. I felt like a machine going to work sometime and beginning to lose my creativity and drive.
During this Pandemic back in March, is when I had more time to think and reflect, after much consideration I realized it is time for me to step back to rediscover. I am not giving up my trade, I just need sometime for myself now and hopefully come back when I am ready.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally and what inspire your brand ?
I moved to Los Angeles back in 2012 from Singapore. Not knowing what will be in stall for my future. But one thing I am certain is that I want to fulfill my dream to open up a dessert Teahouse. I don’t really know where to begin as I was very new to the city, not knowing anyone or how does the food industry work in Los Angeles. I have never had my own business before but just carrying along my passion for baking and enjoy being creative . Bringing that mentality with me, I slowly walk into my dream one step at a time, finding my ways around and every decisions were made base on my believe from deciding on the design of the store, colors, logo, packaging, menu, and tasting. It was a long list of details that has to be put together. I loved and have enjoyed every step of the process, it like putting the puzzles together and trying to make sure everything make sense and fit together. I must say I was lucky, it all happen at the right time and place. It was well received by customers when I first open the door, as there were no similar concept and atmosphere I have created and envision at Jin Patisserie back then. It was a great sense of satisfaction.
During 2003, Abbot Kinney was a quiet street that only the local would hang out with their friends. I have enjoyed seeing all the familiar faces every single day and talking to them, eventually they would also become dear friend to me. Off course I have make many mistakes along the way and had many bumpy rides but I learn, pick myself up and continue the day without stopping isn’t that what life is all about that make it so fascinating ?
All I have in my mind is to make sure I do my best, as if I have only one chance to make it work and give my best shot to my trade and customers with the right set of mind and honest about my believe.
Jin Patisserie holds very dear to me, I have nurture and have given all my heart and soul for the passed 17 years. I have always put Jin as my first priority, dreaming about it in my sleep and sometime waking up in the middle of night writing down ideas or to do list when it comes to me. The brand was created based on a believed, love and passion for baking, creating and fulfill my dream, I do not want to grow old and regret not trying . I wanted to give the best that I can.
There was no turning back for me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love the view of the ocean !
So I will definitely drive them to the scenic route along the highway one coastline from Malibu all the way to San Francisco. I would also bring them to Palos Verdes for a hike and soak in the beautiful view and air. I have a lot of favorite restaurants I go to locally like Osteria Mozza, fish and dynamite, Raku, Yakitoriya, Otafuku and Hachi. These will be the places I would bring them to have a good satisfying meal and drink. A cycling trip along the strand from Manhattan Beach all the way to Redondo Beach will be on the to do list as well..
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate this to my husband, who has always supported me all these years with my dream, crazy ideas and decisions. Even though when sometimes it seems unrealistic. He always trusted my intuition and love me for who I am. My son who is always funny and makes me laugh !
My family and friends in Singapore and here. Who are always there for me when I needed to talk and spill out my ideas and frustrations.
To all my dear friends and mentors who are in the pastry world who have had influenced, inspired and guided me when I was starting out in this career 23 years ago.
Lastly, this is to all my customers, passed and present . You have supported me all these years not knowing who I am or where I came from, showing me all the love and appreciation of my work. You are the one who kept me going every single day. To Mr. B. I sincerely thank you so very much for your love and support all these years. Even during my most down moment you never stop !!
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