The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What to do with my bread?

Gmes's picture
Gmes

What to do with my bread?

Hello, I'm stuck with my small business and don't really know what to do. 

I'm a cottage food operator and I bake bread at home. My bread is unique, it is very tasty and healthy (I'm not boasting it is true). I have customers and 9/10 of all my clients love my product. I want to change something about my business because it brings little income.

One of the ways to scale my business is to rent a space in a commercial kitchen, hire an assistant, start selling my bread in small grocery stores, then bigger and bigger. This way is not what I really want, I see myself more as an entrepreneur than a baker. Another way is licensing my product and find bakeries who may be interested in it. This way looks more interesting but I still doubt full of it.

Are there any other options available to me? What else can I do with my bread?

Thank you.

gillpugh's picture
gillpugh

Start a social enterprise or charity for groups of people who would benefit from baking bread to sell in the community.   If it's sucsessful - roll out your template/plan to other areas.  Not sure where you live, but in the U.K. There is lots of funding available for ideas like this.

bread1965's picture
bread1965

Gmes..

Let's start with basics: you say your product is unique; your customers like/love your product; you want to scale to make more money because you're more of an entrepreneur than baker.. Lets take those one at a time:

i) what is so special/unique about your product? can you write me one sentence that tells me what's different about your bread - is it the ingredients (maybe a special mix of flours that are hard to get), a special recipe you have, how you make it, the flavour or what? answer the question without telling me about why people love/like it or anything to do with your customers. keep the answer all about your product in as clear a way you can.

ii) why do you think your customers like it? who are your customers? what is their level of experience with sourdough? are you taking a group or people that love wonderbread and are now like "whoa" what this sourdough stuff?? :)  maybe a group of well trodden sourdough bakers would say 'sure it's good, but unique?'... that will help us understand the unique appeal?

iii) begin with the end in mind. What are you looking for in terms of economics? just because you're a great baker, that doesn't necessarily mean you're a good businessman/woman.. we have to be careful about this point as it's the one that often ruins peoples lives when they try to translate a dream in to reality.. can your special mix of fwsy be made in scale economically?

Give these questions some thought. The clearer the answers you provide the better the opportunity for the community to give you feed back and an answer that makes sense for your situation.

But I would caution that there is little new in the world of bread making.. for millennia humble bread has evolved and some bakers have rock star status to geeks like us on this board, but ultimately is about four simple ingredients and the love of an artisan.

I think very few bakers (in the grand scheme of things) has become an successful entrepreneur. Some have, but it's because they see themselves as bakers first and entrepreneurs last and have brought something very original to the discussion.

How about look at this with a different lens: Imagine you were picaso - with a new style of cubism art that your patrons loved. It was different, unique, unlike anything they've ever seen before. And you said, I want to commercialize this, license my style out to other artists to share the style with the world, etc.. how successful do you think you'd be as an entrepreneur that painted cubist works? could you license it out to other artists? And before you answer, don't think of the picaso you and I know. Think of the man in his youth before he became internationally known. Your idea is kind of like him trying to license his new style of beautiful cubism. 

Give it some thought.. and remember that free advice is worth what you paid for it.. so like a well fermented loaf, I could be full of gas on this one..

Gmes's picture
Gmes

Thank you very much for your comments guys.

Gillpugh, I just want to make sure that I clearly understood your advice. I have to give some people my recipe and ask them to bake bread and sell to community? 

 

Bread1965, thank you for your time for such a big comment.

  1. My recipe is very simple with only few basic ingredients but preparation of those ingredients take some time.
  2. I have permanent customers. When I did deliveries to grocery stores my bread always sold fast.
  3. I didn’t tell that I’m a great baker, I bake a great bread just because I follow the recipe.

I think if I were Picasso I wouldn’t think of licensing my new cubes style because people who liked it also liked it because it’s me who created them. I don’t understand how it can help me find a solution?