The ladies of Lady Yum are ready to take their budding French Macaron business to the next level. With your help, Megan & Shan can design, renovate and open the first French Macaron parlor in Washington State.
The Product Perfected
Currently Lady Yum is transitioning from a high end custom baker to the Northwest’s premier maker of Artisan French Macarons. We have poured our heart and souls into perfecting these petite treats over the years. They are truly an experience in themselves, an edible circus of imagination and delight. Our customers frequently tell us these Macarons are better than the ones they ate in Paris! As a bonus, they are gluten free and most flavors clock in at about 95 calories. Hey girl, hey!
But these aren’t just fancy little cookies. We push the limits of our imaginations and create flavors you won’t find in traditional parlors. Flavors like Mango Habanero, Fennel Pear, Maple Bacon and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. You can also enjoy our best-selling classics such as Salted Caramel and Toasted Coconut.
Lady Yum is about more than just cookies and gifts. Our products are part of a community; they connect people and places and things. We don’t just use local ingredients, we showcase them. Together we meld talents to make something truly unforgettable. And that is what we want our flagship store to be - unforgettable. The possibilities are endless, but now we need a space for our darling little Macarons to call home.
The Vision Refined
Lady Yum currently rents a small corner in a commercial kitchen in Kirkland, WA. This space allows us to produce these handmade treats, but other than hand delivering each of the orders, we don’t have a proper place for our customers to pick up their orders, buy a last minute gift, or spontaneously pop in for the perfect bite size treat.
Our vision is clear, exciting and scaleable. This flagship parlor will be the perfect place to enjoy a glass of local wine and one of our signature Macaron flavors. Meet a friend, a client or sit at the window bar and read a book with a cup of tea or coffee. Each day, the store will feature 11 signature flavors, 1 monthly flavor and 3 limited edition seasonal flavors, as well as boxed gift sets for any occasion. Love our famous Salted Caramel Sauce? Take home a jar from our specialty food shelf, along with other local, artisan food products - many of which we use in our Macarons!
Downtown Kirkland is set on the Lake Washington waterfront, just across the bridge from Seattle. The area hosts many small shops and boutiques as well as a vibrant summer crowd. The downtown area has a TON of potential, and we want to be a part of that! Residents and visitors of Kirkland need more specialty food and beverage shops that are cool to hang out in, and a place you want to come back to with friends.
We have secured our space by a stroke of incredibly good luck, but we can’t make this store anything special without you - the backers. Our vision and creativity can’t fully be realized unless this campaign is successful. We don’t want to have to eat 1000 Macarons a day ourselves (literally and figuratively) because our store isn’t a well designed and welcoming place to hang out.
Our new home was built in the 1920's, and we have discovered a lot of rich character within its walls. The first day we got the keys we found a beautiful brick wall and learned that we can expose the original high ceilings. The downside is that embracing this original character and adding the needed ambiance is going to cost more than we initially anticipated for this buildout. You can turn any space into a place to eat and drink - but not any space is a place you want to eat and drink. The Lady Yum store needs to be an inviting, stimulating and a fantastic place to hang out - again and again.
Another area of our buildout where we will face steep costs is our Macaron display case. The 10' long glass and wood case will be the focal point of the store. It is essential in order to maximize inventory storage, usability, and showcase the product so we can't cut corners here.
Our good friends over at Marian Built are leading us in this buildout. Owner Michael Marian is a talented, no-nonsense builder and fabricator with an incredible artistic eye. He prides himself in using recycled and reclaimed materials to add character while saving costs. We are not only thrilled to have him at the helm, but proud to supporting another local small business.
The Story Told
Both Megan and Shan grew up in amazing places. Megan earned her scrappiness in rural Alaska and Shan is an artsy island girl from the San Juans. Both are talented, driven self-starters who want to make something bigger than themselves - a business that supports other artisan food makers and creates a family with flavor.
Megan first started Lady Yum in 2011 after years of managing people and money. She decided to follow her passion for baking and started making custom cakes and dessert tables. It was at this point she sought out Shan, who had run a design studio since 2008, and they worked closely on developing the Lady Yum brand. As fun as the custom cakes and dessert packages were, Megan quickly realized that this was not a scaleable business and decided to pour her heart and soul into perfecting her most popular product - the French Macaron. She worked tirelessly to create the best Macaron that any of her customers had ever eaten. And she succeeded.
It was in early 2014 that Megan realized her end vision: She was set on opening a storefront and becoming the best Macaron maker around - or anywhere for that matter. She again met with Shan, to refine the branding and packaging needs, but something bigger took place over Bloody Mary’s that day. A natural partnership blossomed, one full of creativity and balance. Megan runs operations, baking and personnel while Shan handles design, sales and marketing.
With a successful campaign, they hope to open their doors in June 2014 and serve the vibrant summer crowds, while they build their inventory, gift options, and seasonal baskets. By 2016, these fearless ladies are aiming to have three stores open. Let's get this started.
Risks and challenges
This is the biggest thing either of us have ever done. It’s scary - but SO exciting. We both balance motherhood and entrepreneurship while we pour everything into the next step of this business. Our biggest challenge right now is being able to realize the full potential of the store with the money we have. And that is why we are reaching out to you - our backers.
Starting any food or beverage business is risky. In fact, 23% of these business fail within the first year. While this gives us goosebumps - we aren’t exactly brand new. We have been testing our products and refining our process for the last two and a half years. We've listened to our customers and adapted our offerings accordingly. We’ve sourced our products and have contracts with our suppliers to protect us from any large price fluctuations in ingredients. And most importantly - we have found our niche.
The French Macaron is still a high priced cookie – they are delicate and made from expensive ingredients. However, they are still only about half the price of your standard cupcake, gluten free, less than 100 calories, and ours are handmade with local ingredients. There is really nothing about this indulgence you can't feel good about. We are confident enough to say that, in fact, the French Macaron is the new Cupcake.
Kirkland itself is a risk. We’ve seen so many businesses come and go in Kirkland over the last few years. But it is where we live and work and we are passionate about investing in our community. We have tweaked our model to make it relevant to the neighborhood. We’ve added wine and savory macarons to appeal to the vibrant happy hour crowd. This location also gives us the opportunity to offer local delivery to customers in downtown Seattle and Bellevue, giving thousands upon thousands of working professionals the opportunity to order our product at the last minute.
The French Macaron itself is a new product to our area. Obviously, we’re hedging our bets on you loving them! The fact that the Macaron has been around since 1600’s and has already taken New York and California by storm means it’s only a matter of time before they are a staple in our area.
STORE OPENING TIMELINE
Let's face it - the Northwest isn't exactly overflowing with sun-filled days. Getting the store open by summer, when the most people are out and about - is critical. So, we need to move quickly. The support from our backers will help us do this quickly and efficiently.
You made it all the way to the end?! If you read this far, we hope that you are genuinely interested in backing our project. This is a very exciting time for us, but also very nerve racking. Your support will empower us to keep pushing forward and make this a reality. We want to build something bigger, for our customers, our future employees, and our families. Thank you for being a part of this, our gratitude is immeasurable.
- (28 days)