A Small Blog

If you're interested in the same sorts of things as us, this may be for you.

A New Direction

Monday 21st May 2018


This week we start something new. It starts without a bang; rather, an intentional whimper. I didn't want to make a big song and dance about stripping things back, because no-one really gets excited about that. No waffles anymore?? How exciting! Closed on Saturdays?? Thrilling!


Nope, nobody wants to know when you're not doing things anymore. What they want to know is what you ARE doing. So here we are. Here's where I tell you:


a) We're making space. In drastically reducing the menu (you'll notice we no longer do waffles or 'posh toasts', just things that require minimal preparation like basic toasts, porridges and savoury pastries), in reducing the opening hours to the tune of a couple of hours every day, and in reducing the number of days we're open (we are now closed on Saturdays), we are creating intentional space for fresh, new, exciting things. What those things are will become apparent over the coming days, weeks and months, but suffice to say the space is already making me feel excited. For one thing, it's giving me the chance to start the blog I've been meaning to start since I opened over a year ago, so I guess it's already working...


b) We're being intentional. It's often way too easy to drift into things when you have a lot on your plate. How often have you felt like you're just drifting along, not able to really dictate what happens in your life, because you already have way too much to think about? That's how I started to feel recently, and I knew something had to change. Most of what Milk Teeth was offering was great, but a lot of it was also fairly unintentional at the same time. I wanted to feel like we knew where we were going, and that we were focused on getting there, rather than just being pulled into a place we didn't really want to be. So, in the spirit of spring, we've given the house a good clean and re-planted the garden. Just waiting for the seeds to grow now.


c) We're playing to our strengths. I know everyone loved the waffles, and in a way I'm sorry to let you all down like that. But also #sorrynotsorry. Sometimes you have a great idea, but only when you start doing it you realise how much damn hard work it is to maintain it at the standard you want. I wanted to create the best waffles in Bristol, and I succeeded. They really were. But it took so much out of me that in the end, I had to concede, it simply wasn't worth it. I'm not a waffle guy. In truth, I'm not really a food guy, not really. I'm a drinks guy. I can make a perfect flat white in my sleep. I am phenomenally knowledgeable about tea, but no-one really knows it because I've been spending all my time trying to maintain a great standard of waffles. So sometimes, you just have to make some hard decisions and sort the wheat from the chaff. Playing to my/our strengths means you'll see much more from us in terms of coffee, tea and all things speciality drinks. Oh, and good vibes. We're keeping those too.


d) We're celebrating smallness. Not long after opening up here in St Paul's, I fell in love with the idea of 'intentional smallness'. Keeping things simple, on purpose, rather than what seems to be the entrepreneurial default of expansion. And I get it; it makes sense financially to expand so your overheads are fewer, and I don't begrudge people their second or third premises by any means. But I have been drawn to the businesses that have kept their one-off appeal and are thriving. In fact, I'm thinking of blogging about those sorts of businesses soon, too. But to keep things brief, the idea of intentional smallness not only applies to premises; it also applies to method. In slimming down on the things we offer, we're celebrating that focus on doing one or two things well as opposed to expanding beyond our reasonable capability. And it feels good.


So, to conclude: yes, we're doing something new. And I'm sorry for the things you loved that we no longer do. But we're heading in an exciting direction, and I really hope you're up for coming with us.


Peace and love,


This blog is written mainly by Milk Teeth owner, Josh Bowker, with the occasional guest post. It covers things that - as a business and as people - we're interested in, and often passionate about. This doesn't always mean coffee, although that will inevitably be a key theme.