Bakery Business 101: Packaging

 

When we first started sourcing the packaging that happy customers would take home their treats in, there was one thing we knew for sure– the packaging had to be ‘on brand’. When we say ‘on brand’, we mean that we were going to intentional about the packaging choices we were making so that the packaging would be an extension of the in-store, and social media, experience.

 

An ‘on brand’ packaging experience was important to us because of the hard work the entire JRC team puts into creating the products that you sell, creating a welcoming atmosphere in our shops and keeping an engaged presence on social media. We try to make every last detail in those areas as close to perfect as possible and the idea of having packaging that didn’t match what we were doing would put a damper on the customer experience. Now, when a customer comes to our shop, even the box their product comes is in Instagram worthy. The packaging itself continues the store experience into their homes.

 

One of the main factors our ‘on brand’ packaging stands out is the custom design. Ashley takes every design project for Jenna Rae Cakes very seriously and has been since the very beginning when she first crafted some basic branding for Jenna’s side cake business. When Ashley custom designs each and every packaging material, from tissues to macaron boxes, she is putting the heart and soul of Jenna Rae Cakes into every little flourish.

 

We are often asked about some of the places we source our packaging so today we are sharing some of our favourite places we source our packaging from. These are the products we are asked about most often and we hope the companies below are a great resource for you and your business.

 

Macaron sleeves – Georgette Packaging

We love Georgette Packaging— especially for our custom macaron sleeves. We have custom macaron sleeves printed for major holidays and having a supplier who you’ve loved working with for years is always nice for bringing your holiday designs to life.

 

Tissue – Noissue

Finding a place who would make custom tissue paper for our boxes was an adventure. When we found Noissue, we fell in love with being able to create custom printed tissue paper. No longer did we need to use plain tissue but could now apply our branded design to the tissue that lines our boxes.

 

Acrylic Boxes – Uline

Those little 2x2x2 acrylic boxes have always begged the question, ‘where do you find those?’. The answer might surprise you! For such cute packaging, Uline is your standard shipping supply store.

 

Acrylic Cake Boxes – Paper Mart

When we first showcased our 4″ Valentine’s Day Cakes for Two on Instagram, one of the most popular questions was ‘where are those boxes from!?’. People loved these and anytime we post an image where a cute cake is in one of the boxes, people start DMing. The answer is Paper Mart, where a quick browse of their website will leave you spending hours looking at all of the beautiful products they have available.

 

Cupcake Boxes – Friesens

Our custom printed cupcake boxes are printed by Friesens. We’ve made many additions to our cupcake boxes over the years, including the addition of patterns to the box, locations and cake instructions. Friesens has been a joy to work with, plus, we love that they are a Manitoba company.

 

With all the attention to detail to sourcing and designing our custom packaging, we love seeing customers reuse their pink boxes, macaron sleeves, and acrylic boxes. All of our boxes are lined with tissue paper so the box itself can stay free from buttercream smears and cookie crumbs, making it reusable. We love when customers bring back their boxes into our shops to be refilled with their daily treat selection. We also love seeing how you repurpose your packaging once you’re home. Small acrylic boxes can hold little treasures you wish to display or treats you’d like to share with others and macaron sleeves can be repurposed into jewelry boxes or as organizers in your bathroom drawers. The possibilities are endless when you aim to reuse what you have.

Finding great packaging that you can customize to match your brand can be a lot of work but it is 100% worth it by the enhancement of the customer experience. We recommend starting slow with what you can afford, and adding custom packaging when you can. We had standard pink tissue paper up until about a year ago when we made the switch to custom printed tissue paper. Just remember to stay ‘on brand’, keeping the colours in line with your branded colour palette and ensuring your spending money on the packaging that will really leave an impact on your customers.

Bakery Business Tips to Live By

Jenna Rae Cakes is more than just a pretty Instagram feed and tasty treats. We are a business that aspires to keep growing, learning and expanding the horizons of what we know so we can keep our customers coming back for more. As a business, there are a few foundational things we have committed to over the years that helped take us to where we are now. While we fully understand there are other incredible business out there with amazing tips, we are often asked about our business– what works, what doesn’t and how we’ve been able to grow.

We put the following principles to action and we have seen growth in our company keeping these principles in mind. Take a read of our ‘Bakery Business Tips to Live By’.

 

Tip 1 – Hire Up

Something we’ve tried to instill since the beginning of JRC is to always hire up. If you want to see growth in your company, you need to hire people who are more skilled than you in areas that you want to grow your company in. We have been implementing this as long as we’ve been around because we want to be sure we keep hiring individuals who can help us reach our goals. This is as simple as hiring trained bakers with experience and finding people who have skills that wow you.

 

Tip 2 – Encourage Creativity

We love encouraging our staff to be creative! Some of the best ideas we’ve executed, from fun new flavours to product ideas and more, have come from our talented staff. Encouraging your staff to be creative and come up with ideas will help your staff feel valued and like they, and their opinion, matter. We recently featured one of our bakers, Beatriz, and created a flavour of macaron and cream puff that remind her of home. People loved learning about her and trying out a flavour that was new to them.

 

Tip 3 – Better, Not Bigger

Growth is great, but doing what you are known for really well is even better. When you learn something new, you take your time to do it well before expanding and growing. We take the same approach to our business. We want to do things really well before growing. That makes growth sustainable and ensures we can keep growing more in the future.

 

Tip 4 – Be Ruthless About Your Brand

Your brand is important and we ensure everything we do is branded to perfection (or as close to perfection as we can get it!). Also, just about every single thing affects your brand. From a customer interaction with one of our front of house staff, to how we respond to your inquiries on Instagram, the images we post and how we present our treats on our menu, our brand is important and helps people understand who we are as a company. We take our brand seriously and ensure every bit of communication we have and everything we put out into the world is in line with our mission and values.

 

Tip 5 – Never Stop Dreaming

We dream BIG at JRC! From the very beginning, we’ve had big dreams of where we’d like to see our company go and keeping those dreams alive is what pushes us each and every single day. There’s something special about seeing a dream become an attainable goal, then watching the hard work of yourself and your team bring it to life. No matter what we do, we don’t stop dreaming of where we’d like to be.

 

These five tips are just a few of the many things that work for us to keep growing as a company while committing to high standards in all we do. If you are a business owner, we’d love to hear from you! What are your top tips for success? What works for you to help your business thrive?

Instagram Tips and Tricks

 

 

A question we are asked often here at JRC is how we have managed to gain a devoted Instagram following of both local and worldwide followers. Today on the blog we wanted to share a few of our best Instagram tips and tricks to help you make the most of your Instagram account.

When we first started using Instagram 5 years ago, we would post anywhere from 4-12 times a day! When Instagram was chronological this method of consistent posting at various times throughout the day was crucial so followers would know what assortments of treats would be available to them during the day. Now that Instagram is no longer chronological, we’ve changed how much we post but the basics are still the same; we post beautiful images of our offerings consistently that are in line with the Jenna Rae Cakes brand… and we obsess just a little over our grid. Ashley (our Co-Owner) is a graphic designer and photo stylist by trade and conceptualizes, styles and photographs all of our images.

 

So what are our most helpful tips we can share with you? Take a read below!

 

1- Quality Images. Instagram is a visual platform. You’ll need to put time and money into creating great images for your feed and stories that showcase the best of the best of what you have to offer. We have a little saying at JRC that goes, “make everything Instagram worthy”. You want all your products to look like that perfect shot on Instagram and you want to be sure you’re getting those incredible shots to share on your feed. If you don’t have a designer/stylist on staff, think about taking beginner photography/styling workshops, or about hiring a social media consultant.

 

*Fun Fact: Ashley takes 95% of the photos that make it to our Instagram feed on her iPhone 7, and 5% of them are taken on her Sony A-6000.

 

2 – Develop Your Own Style. All the most popular accounts on Instagram (baking related or non-baking related) stand out because they have their own unique style. Developing your own style and continuing to evolve that style as your business and products grow is the best way to stay true to your brand while never remaining stagnant. If you look at the JRC feed from 3 years ago, a year ago and now, you’ll notice a few things: that our feed still has the same vibe, that our styling is similar but advancing, and that we tailor what we are posting to what people want to see.

 

3 – Plan For Success. A beautiful Instagram grid doesn’t happen by chance. After images are taken be sure to organize them in your phone so you can easily find what you are looking for. Create folders for each menu item, plus seasonal folders so you always know where images are. We also love using Planoly to ensure we are scheduling images that flow beautifully together. Planoly allows you to take images from your phone, upload them to a draft grid, and move the images around until your grid looks perfect! You can also add your captions, hashtag groups and schedule right from the app!

4 – Engage. We all know that social media is designed for users to be social! Take the time to respond to comments and DM’s as often as you can. JRC does all of our social media in-house which means we can stay true to our company and brand and answer all questions as soon as we are able because our staff know the answers. We can honestly say that we value each and every person who comments or sends us a question or a comment because these customers will help us continue to improve our business. If you can’t manage this on your own there are marketing companies or freelance social media consultants that can invest time each day authentically engaging with your followers.

 

5 – Remember Your Brand. We’ve talked about your ‘brand’ a few times during this blog. Your brand is all the working pieces that make up your company from your colours and logo to the voice you use when you write content (like this blog) and your captions on social media. Find what works for your brand and stick to it! Just by looking at our feed you know that Jenna Rae Cakes is a more feminine brand with a colour palette of pinks, whites and golds and our voice is friendly, fun and approachable. This isn’t by accident—this is our brand and as long as we stick with it, we build brand loyalty and Instagram users find us and resonate with the messaging we have.

6 – Don’t Obsess Over Numbers. It’s so hard, we know! But it’s also crucial to keep your head afloat in an online world that is full of competition, beauty, and algorithms. Instagram is constantly changing and evolving and it can be very easy to get sucked into the numbers game and feel upset when your latest posts are getting nearly half the engagement they normally would get due to an algorithm change. When you pour so much time and energy into your social media presence just to have your posts hidden or seen a few days too late it can be incredibly frustrating. We heard a great quote once from a friend; “You built real estate on land you don’t own”. Keep in mind that you’re building a presence on a platform you don’t control and make sure to put effort into growing platforms you do own like your blog and email list.

 

Instagram is such a great tool to grow your business. When we first started using Instagram to post our daily menu, we didn’t know of any other bakeries who were taking advantage of this platform in the way we were. Now, through stories and follower engagement, we are continuing to find new ways to use this platform to the best of our ability and to continually improve JRC. Send us a DM on IG and let us know which tips and tricks you’ll begin to implement for your business.

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