Who: Sarah Schneider
What: Blank Slate Moments
Find Her Here: @saraheschneider/@eggshopnyc
Photographer: Ashley Hofkens
We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Sarah Schneider, the founder and owner of Egg Shop, one of New York’s new favorite hot spots. The restaurant was born out of an incredible amount of passion and hard work, alongside Sarah’s devotion to the covetous egg sandwich.
Sarah is no stranger to reinvention or the risks one must take to achieve that. After 14 years in the fashion industry, she decided to put everything on the line to turn a dream into reality. With a blank slate, Sarah entered the unfamiliar world of hospitality with Egg Shop in 2014. She has achieved incredible success since then, but it has not come easily. Read below to learn more about Sarah’s blank slate moments and how she became New York’s cravings curator.
Describe a significant “blank slate” moment.
I decided to quit my career in fashion after 14 years, I was leaving my place of stability to follow a dream, to enter into an industry I knew nothing about. I was truly terrified. I was nervous that I would not be accepted by the hospitality world, that I would fail, that nobody would show up, but while I was consumed with fear of failure, I was equally consumed with the idea of Egg Shop and I knew that I had to see it come to fruition even if that meant failing in the end.
What was significant about this change in your life?
I was 34 when I made the decision to embark on this new journey. I was at a place in my life where I felt I was supposed to be settled. Buying an apt, getting married, having babies, all of the things society has told us we are “supposed to do” by a certain age as a woman. I remember looking at Demetri my partner (now husband) in this adventure and saying, “are we buying an apt or opening a restaurant, are we willing to risk everything we have worked so hard for?” All of our money would be tied into the restaurant and we had to consider how this would impact our relationship and our dynamic, not only financially but emotionally as well. While we both craved a sense of security I think we craved a creative adventure more. Life is short, and we wanted to start writing our own story.
What felt possible afterwards that wasn’t before?
A childlike sense of wonder, that a new day can bring the unexpected and that you NEVER know what’s around the corner. This was the best feeling in the world. With fear comes growth, and for the first time in a long time I stopped feeling stagnant.
What did you learn? Or what surprised you?
EVERYTHING! I think the most challenging part of the opening was learning how to staff and manage people. This industry is one that relies on human connection. People have to show up, do their job and do it well in order for it to work. The dishwasher is as vital to the restaurant as the bartender or cook. Technology is part of the hospitality world, but at the end of the day, it’s all about people, your team, the people who walk through the door who choose to come and support you. In a world that is now so reliant on technology this is still an industry where the human touch is the most important component.
What was challenging about the experience?
My early experience of the day to day in the restaurant were beyond stressful. I would get calls at 7am that a barista had not shown up and the next thing I knew I was throwing on clothes, jumping behind the bar and pretending to make the best cortado around. Meanwhile I barely knew how to steam milk, let alone do latte art! These sorts of things happened ALL the time. We had the electricity go out during the middle of a slammed brunch service. I was truly paralyzed. You learn to keep moving and think fast on your feet. We can only do our best, and hope that resonates with people.
What advice would you give for someone wanting a fresh start?
You have to be willing to sacrifice and learn how to find balance in the chaos. Life as you know it is forever changed. So embrace the change, put in the work, and know that while nothing ever comes easily, you will be rewarded and fulfilled in ways you never thought possible. Finding ways to manage your stress is vital to your overall wellbeing. For me Pilates and Yoga was my happy place. I could slow down, listen to myself and just breathe.