We’ve all been there … craving something sweet – and generally it’s often fresh baked goods. In the US alone, baked goods sales are expected to increase by 26% by the year 2014, according to the latest industry reports. Retail sales of fresh baked items hit $16 billion in 2009, up 4.2% from the year prior. Projections indicate that the market for sweet-toothed customers will grow by 26% between 2009 and 2014, to reach $20.1 billion at retail.*
The challenges often faced by new entrepreneurs in the baking industry include current economic volatility and its impact on purchases, input costs, margins, food safety and operational costs. But when you move forward with solutions you will find that even greater opportunities exist. Baking companies lead the pack with product innovation, improved supply chain distribution and a great product that can offer health [i.e. omega-3 fatty acid ingredients to improve health, etc.] and/or community benefits.
One NYC company driving innovation has staked out profitable ground – fresh baked goods that tackle your sweet tooth and give back to causes that you support. Baking for Good, launched by Emily Dubner in 2009, sets out to prove that you can change the world – and satisfy your sweet tooth – one fresh baked cookie at a time. Her recipe for success including knowing when to let go and realizing that a little sugar goes a long way.
Company: Baking for Good
Founder/Age: Emily Dubner, 25
Location: New York, NY
Startup Year: 2009
Startup Costs: $40,000
How I Got Started: I had the idea for creating an online bake sale after my mom received baked goods as a gift from a friend. I started thinking about baked goods as a great alternative to flowers, and I also started thinking about what a fun concept the traditional bake sale is. I brought these two ideas together and came up with Baking for Good: an online bake sale that is the perfect source for delicious gifts and also supports nonprofit and community-based organizations at the same time.
Best Customer Interaction: One of my favorite orders came from a bride and groom who wanted to do favors for out-of-town guests for their wedding. Looking through our list of causes, they chose to support Children of Uganda, which had significance to both of them. When I told the executive director of Children of Uganda, she was overjoyed. As a thank you, she surprised the bride and groom with a picture of children at one of their programs in Uganda holding a sign they had made to honor the bride and groom. I think we were all really touched, and I was so glad we could make that happen through Baking for Good.
Biggest Startup Challenge: A big challenge for me was learning that I can’t do everything all of the time. It was important to build a great team that I could trust to take ownership over different pieces. I love to bake, but I knew early on that I wouldn’t be able to bake and run the company at the same time. Similarly, despite wanting to run a website, I knew I didn’t have the skills to actually build a website, so I had to find great people for that as well. It’s still an ongoing process to find the right people to take on different roles, and sometimes I struggle to let go of different components.
#1 Tip for Newbies: Set goals and timelines, but understand that they may get pushed back. It’s more important that things get done the right way than that they get done quickly.
*Source: Industry Report: Fresh Baked Goods in the U.S
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