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!
Ashley and Jenna, Co-Owners