Talking Shop: How We Stay Creative in a Fast-Paced and Saturated Market

A while back on Instagram we received a suggestion for a blog post that would share how we stay creative in the always evolving, fast-paced and saturated market of bakeries. We loved the question and thought that right now would be a great time to share our answer as we just finished up Valentine’s Day – a huge commercial holiday where every person is trying to get your attention to buy their products over anyone else.

 

Creativity can take on a lot of different forms. To us, being creative means curating new products and flavours within the parameters of what our customers would want to try. We stay creative by thinking of the customer first. What would they want? What will they get excited about? When we opened the bakery in March of 2014, Jenna and I had no prior experience in a bakery kitchen. There are a lot of negatives that came from this (a lot of trial and error!) but a huge positive was that we didn’t have any limitations on what we thought a “bakery menu” should consist of. We added menu items and flavours that we would get excited about as customers, even though we didn’t know of any other bakeries with the same kind of menu we wanted to implement. Luckily, a lot of other people in Winnipeg had the same sweet tooth that we did, and we haven’t looked back!

 

Our bakers love the product we put out, which makes them the perfect product creators in our kitchen. The best flavours come from them when they’re going about their every day lives then suddenly get inspired and think, ‘this would make a great macaron flavour!’. Some of the flavours that have been inspired this way have been Fuzzy Peach (a favourite candy), Balsamic Strawberry (inspired by a trip to an Olive Oil shop in NYC), and Dunkaroo (our sister’s favourite childhood treat).

We also love working with the strengths of our team members. A number of our team members enjoy working with chocolate, so we are always looking for ways to allow them to work with their preferred medium. Some of our team members have a more refined palette so they bring more of the mature flavours to our menu (think of our Goat Cheese Pistachio or Salted Dark Chocolate Espresso macarons) while others have a major sweet tooth that resonates with the majority our customer base who can bring to life sugary sweet flavours like Sour Cherry Blaster, Lucky Charms and Cotton Candy. Playing to the strengths of your team can keep creativity flowing and allow you to have a variety of items on your menu that will always feel fresh to your customers.

 

The biggest and best way to stay creative in a fast-paced and saturated market is knowing how important it is to stay true to your brand and company vision so you don’t get lost in all of the trends. What is your brand? What is your vision for your company? Who is your target market? Trends come and go but those three will generally stay the same. Trends are fun to take part in (hello, Unicorn Cake!), but they come and go and you don’t want to build your company around them.

 

It can be easy to be overwhelmed with the onslaught of creative and incredible looking sweet treats available to customers, both locally and in the online world of Instagram and Pinterest. Our best advice is to stay true to your business, play to your strengths, and only add items and flavours to your menu that you know your customers will love. And if you don’t know what those are, just ask! Your customers would love to give you feedback on what they love and what they would like to see. This can be a great starting point to sorting through all of the inspiration out there and finding what ideas are worth exploring.

 

Keep your brand in mind and everything else will follow!

 

Happy baking!

Ashley and Jenna, Co-Owners

 

Jenna and Mike’s Wedding Highlights

Jenna and Mike's Wedding by Brittany Mahood Photography

 

This is the post you’ve all been anxiously waiting for! Now that Jenna and Mike’s gorgeous wedding was featured by Martha Stewart, we are able to share the beautiful images by Brittany Mahood with you. Take a look below at some of our favourite photos from the wedding and some insight into all of the sweet treats featured throughout the beautiful day.

Jenna’s bouquet, made by Heather Page at Academy Florist, featured both real and sugar flowers! Can you tell which flowers are sugar and which ones are real? You’ll notice that sugar flowers made an appearance in a lot of the wedding photos as a nod to Jenna’s favourite medium: sugar!

Ashley designed custom 6-macaron gift boxes as the wedding favours for guests of Jenna and Mike’s wedding. Popular macaron flavours in a palette matching the wedding meant every guest left with a treat they would be able to enjoy over the next few days (or all in one day!).

The dessert table at their wedding featured mini cookie sandwiches, chocolate covered gems, even more macarons and cream puffs! Jenna and Mike are huge Harry Potter fans so, of course, there were Butterbeer flavoured macarons and cream puffs for guests to enjoy. Fun fact–Jenna is a Slytherin and Mike is a Hufflepuff (although he’ll tell you he’s a Gryffindor).

Jenna originally thought she wouldn’t design her own wedding cake, she had wanted to have a cake made up of wheels of cheese instead! While that may have been delicious, we knew Jenna couldn’t resist creating her own cake. She created her cake out of styrofoam so she could work on it well in advance of the wedding (and avoid the all-nighters that usually have to happen with a cake as large and detailed as this!) and now the cake will be preserved in an acrylic box and displayed in her home as a keepsake from their wedding day.

The most significant part of the cake to Jenna are the touches of sugar blueberries that delicately adorn the cake. They represent her granny and baba and pay homage to the times they would spend blueberry picking. Even though they couldn’t be with her that day, each blueberry was a reminder of how special their relationship was.

Photography: Brittany Mahood
Location and catering: Fort Garry Hotel
Event planning: Soiree Planning
Flowers: Heather Page at Academy Florist
Videography: Rhyme & Rhythm Cinematography
Officiant: Terri Robertson
Stationery: Ashley Illchuk
Calligraphy: Julie Doan
Cake: Jenna Rae Cakes
DJ and lighting: Tony Braccio “Junior” of Crystal Sound
Rentals: Planned Perfectly
Bride’s gown and headpiece: Sarah Seven
Bride’s accessories: Cartier bracelet, Christian Louboutin shoes
Hair: Prep Hair
Makeup: Ashley Tiopo
Menswear: Giovanni Clothes Inc.
Groom’s accessories: Breitling watch
Transportation: Tony’s Regal Coach
Photo Booth: 6 Degrees
Rentals: C and T Rentals

View more photos on Martha Stewart Weddings and Brittany Mahood’s blog.

Our Ten Spa Experience

There are so many good things we could say about Ten Spa that it’s hard to know where to begin! As you’ve seen on Instagram, we’ve been enjoying monthly facials at Ten Spa by our Facialist, Elmira, who has been treating our skin to lovely treatments all winter long.

 

Winter, especially here in Winnipeg, makes our skin so dry so we feel extra grateful to have discovered the wide variety of facials they have available at Ten Spa. And when we say a wide variety, we mean it! We’ve enjoyed trying so many of their facials and we work with Elmira to pick the one that will be best for us when we come in. She get’s to know you and your skin so she can make educated suggestions on what your skin really needs.

 

So far, here’s what Ashley has had the opportunity to experience:
Hot Peel Facial which is an advanced anti-ageing facial which firms and lifts your skin.
Oxygen Facial that is serious about battling blemishes and also super-soothing to help calm irritated acne-prone skin.
Signature Deep Detox Facial which was originally designed for those who need a glowing complexion on demand.
Skin RX treatment which is an innovative skin care concept delivering quick and effective medical grade treatments.

Jenna has had the opportunity to experience:
Lymphatic Facial which is a ‘turn-back-time’ treatment that detoxifies and ‘depuffs’.
Hot Peel Facial which is an advanced anti-ageing facial which firms and lifts your skin.

We’ve loved taking you behind the scenes of our facials on our Instagram stories and the response to seeing the oxygen facial in all the steps was so great! So many of you had been wondering about the process for a facial so we were happy to take you along for the journey.

You can learn more about their treatments and book online by visiting www.tenspa.ca

PLUS! We want you to experience all the goodness we’ve enjoyed over at Ten Spa!
On February 13th, Ten Spa is having a ONE DAY SALE!
Spend $200.00 in Gift Certificates and receive:
– $10.00 off Coupon for Ten Spa
– 15% off Retail Product Coupon
– 10% off JRC Coupon!

Ten Spa also has a Valentine’s Day Weekend Promo! This Thursday, February 14th – Sunday, February 17th, book their Ultimate Day Pass and get 2 glasses of complimentary champagne (per couple)! Bring your sweetheart and enjoy a Valentine’s Day experience that will be hard to top!

Valentine’s Day at Jenna Rae Cakes

Love is in the air at Jenna Rae Cakes and we are so excited to share with you all the amazing, new treats our bakers have been working hard at perfecting for you to share with your BFF or bae this Valentine’s Day season.

 

We will have a number of festive items available at our shop at Academy and The Forks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Take a look below to see the love-inspired treats you’ll be able to pick up.

 

Jenna Rae Cakes Conversation Heart Macarons Valentines 2019

CONVERSATION HEART MACARONS

We are so excited about this *NEW* menu item! Six of our most popular delicious macaron flavours are printed with a conversation heart saying then placed on a bed of pink crinkle paper in a limited edition Valentine’s Day box! Limited quantities of our Conversation Heart Macaron gift boxes will be available each day at The Forks and Academy so come early to avoid disappointment.

 

 

Jenna Rae Cakes Large Heart Macarons 2019

LARGE MACARONS

Back by popular demand, our large heart macarons are back on the menu and are available at Academy and the Forks in limited quantities. These macarons come in salted caramel, cinnamon hearts or chocolate covered strawberry and are the size of about 3 regular macarons! Big enough to share or gift to someone special.

 

FEATURED MACARON FLAVOUR AT THE FORKS

Our featured macaron flavour leading up to Valentine’s Day is Cinnamon Heart! This flavour will be available each day at The Forks in addition to our Winter Menu flavour line up.

 

 

VALENTINE’S DAY PRE-ORDERS

Just a reminder, our Valentine’s Day Pre-Orders are NOW OPEN and will close on Monday, February 11th at 6 pm. Use the code ‘LOVEJRC’ to receive 10% off your entire order. Pick-up for Pre-Orders will be at our shop on Academy on Wednesday, February 13th and Thursday, February 14th from 12 pm – 6 pm.

 

You’ll be able to pre-order our Conversation Heart Macaron sleeves, Large Heart Macarons and more sweet treats including our Conversation Heart Celebration Cupcakes, Conversation Heart Oreo Boxes, Cakes For Two and more!

 

See what is available for pre-order and order your treats here.

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