John & Kendall Antonelli | Spreading Joy via Cheese
Our new episode of the Super U Podcast is live! The Super U Podcast delivers curated tips from top performers and thought leaders to help unlock and unleash your inner superpower. This week’s episode features tips from John and Kendall Antonelli the owners and founders of Antonelli’s Cheese Shop in Austin, TX.
Click here to subscribe to the Super U Podcast. Need a sneak peek? Below are the main takeaways from John & Kendall Antonelli | Spreading Joy via Cheese:
[0:45] Intro—Welcoming Kendall and John Antonelli
Kendall and John are the founders of Antonelli’s Cheese Shop. They’re coming up on their 10th anniversary and are here to share some tips and tricks for budding entrepreneurs.
[1:21] Childhood Memories
Kendall recalls the memory of learning her first joke. She remembers hiking in the Himalayas with her father and falling behind on the way up. A couple found her crying on the trail and told her a joke to make her feel better. The joke gave her a rush of energy and fuel to stand back up and catch up to her dad.
John remembers two instances in his childhood related to food. He used to sit on the kitchen floor while his mom made sausage sauce. He thinks about the smell of the food and listening to his mother talk. He also remembers a trip he and his family took to San Francisco. Every morning they got to eat everything; they had croissants and hot chocolate, which was like a super treat every single day of that trip.
[4:24] Origin Story- The Origin of Antonelli’s
For anybody out there who wants to open a Cheese shop, they’d say, do you want to get rich or do you want to open a cheese shop? (Ha!) So you’ve got to have your “why” of why you’re going into it, because it isn’t going to be for the money.
Kendall and John were enjoying their honeymoon and while reflecting on their present, John acknowledges that he had just had an amazing wedding, he had a perfect wife, dogs, a great house, but something wasn’t stacking up. He wasn’t happy with the future of his career—it wasn’t fulfilling. So he and Kendall discussed what it would look like to actually try to open something instead of just writing a business plan as an undergrad or as an MBA, trying to write a business plan and execute a business plan with that same amount of time, the same amount of debt. So, John on his honeymoon told his new bride that he was quitting his job.
[20:00] Success Tips
Kendall: When people ask us for our success tips, I think the biggest key to working together is understanding if are you working together because you have to or because you want to? And both are fine and there’s a space for both. And there’s tips and tools of the trade for both of them. For us, we remind ourselves when it gets tough that we wanted to work together every day. And so it’s up to us to make it enjoyable most days, otherwise, there is no point.
In any disagreement, it’s important to talk about it and then hit reset. John is great at resetting. We can have a disagreement, but then we immediately reset.
That’s an important part of any relationship and we are trying to teach our kids this as well. Instead of them saying sorry or having to feel awful for a period of time if they’ve done something wrong and we have to communicate that to them, we reset for them immediately and give them the space to try to reset—John calls it “the art of the reset.”
[24:09] Dark Moments
The trajectory of being an entrepreneur is not a straight line for sure. John and Kendall’s experience goes up and down, but it’s always angling up. You see there are ups and downs and that’s just part of growth. As an entrepreneur, you’re taking risks, you’re investing in something with the limited information that you have. You’re making an intuitive leap. So as a CEO or a small business owner, you’re doing something every day that you’ve never done before, most likely. You have to jump over an information gap that you don’t have and you don’t have enough time to get it. It costs too much or it’s too much time. And so the darkest challenges often have come from risks that we took. John and Kendall took a big risk last year opening a downtown location in Austin, TX in 2018.
[28:14] Work and Play
John and Kendall chose to brand themselves as their business because so many people get caught up in this work-life balance. The tension comes from when you’re trying to separate the two and you’re calculating each portion; it’s a zero-sum game. For us, it is all one big melting pot with rules of the game that help us succeed a little bit, more or less. Work is play and play is work.
[33:10] Empower Your Team
It’s important to remember family first, then business. If the business can’t survive us leaving for a month, then all the work, sweat, tears and smiles that we’ve put into it in the last couple of years, isn’t worth it. When the Antonelli’s came back from on one of their first family vacations since opening their shop, their team stepped up to the plate and was so much better for it. Every time they’ve left since on a vacation it gives the team breathing room to implement adjustments to the way things have always been done; to step into new leadership positions and make changes to that sign that has always frustrated them. So instead of everything collapsing, it has empowered their team and given them space to be better leaders.
There’s a sense of feeling that you get with passion, you get this energy, enthusiasm sort of, and this very long vision comes from it. Because we like to say passion gives you energy, right? You can pretty much do a ton of work and you can move in an amazing direction when you focus on your passion
John: When we talk about hiring a new potential employee, we ask them what gives them energy and what drains their energy? I call them energy gainers and energy drainers. I came up with this concept in 2011 when a customer that came through the front door with an energy that was sad and negatively impacting those of us around her. I worked really hard in those few minutes to engage her and find a way to understand what was going on for her, at that moment. It turns out that her dog had just been put down and she was coming to our shop for a distraction. And in that experience, I came to the realization that there are no energy neutral people. Whenever you enter a situation, you either are giving energy or draining energy in that room.
To ensure you don’t miss future episodes, subscribe to our podcast by clicking here >> Super U Podcast. We hope these tips help unlock and unleash your inner superpower!
The Super U podcast is hosted by #1 bestselling author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman.