WHO IS THE ACCIDENTAL BAKERY, ANYWAY? Did you just accidentally bake something one day?
Glad you asked! This is (of course) the single most asked question we get, and the story's not one you hear every day.
In 2016, my husband and I bought a small hotel in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. I was the cook for breakfast and dinner. I have celiac disease (and have never considered myself a particularly great baker when I did bake), but I wanted to add something special to our guests' breakfast. I started making muffins, cinnamon rolls, or French rolls every day - whatever I could make with the ingredients I could find. Pretty soon, our reviews on Booking.com and TripAdvisor started to be about the bakes... Which my husband found mildly annoying, since he was painting and landscaping and working on the pool! After a few months, a local coffee/surf shop called San Juan Surf asked me if I would bake for them, and I went home and told my husband that I "apparently accidentally have a bakery!"
After that, we posted on Facebook what the hotel was offering each day by saying, "The Accidental Bakery at El Pacifico has..." We got quite a local following, as well as guest bookings, and it took on a life of its own. When we had to move back to NC unexpectedly, I thought I'd see if my little "bakery" was really a thing, or just a thing because good bakes are scarce in Nicaragua.
Turns out, it was a thing! I had my first pop up shop at a local boutique, Beaufort Linen Company(who was also our first granola retailer), and sold out in an hour and a half. At that point, I realized I needed to make something that could be done earlier in the week and not just the day/night before a pop up shop. I didn't even like granola, but it seemed like something I could reasonably try - and make actually, you know, GOOD. That's how Outer Banks Granola was born.
We went on to open a retail bakery in January 2017, moved to a larger space in November 2017, and expanded our granola retail accounts to 9 around the state of North Carolina. We've changed our packaging, processes and ultimately our whole business plan. We know we can grow a lot bigger, but we've been almost two months backordered at times just keeping up with our current local, online and retail customers, so we can't grow without expanding our facility and capacity. In fact, we've closed our retail bakery to focus on granola!
BUT IT'S JUST....GRANOLA...
I know, it seems pretty amazing that GRANOLA can have such a crazy, loyal following. But it's not "just granola", which is why it's so delicious! It's like granola and trail mix had a baby, and the best of both came together in one delicious package.
We put tons of "stuff" into the granola - nuts and seeds and dried fruit. We bake it slowly, stir it often, and make sure it tastes crunchy, salty, sweet, and complex. No raw oat flavor here! And no hunting for the one solitary pecan, like trying to find the peanut in the Cracker Jack box.
We believe in it so much that we applied for and received a Trademark for Outer Banks Granola from the US Department of Patents and Trademarks! Yep, that's a long, involved, and expensive process. But we know we have a winner! (We also trademarked The Accidental Bakery... because we really did luck into a great name!)
SO WHY DO YOU NEED THIS CAMPAIGN IF IT'S SO POPULAR?
Up til recently, the granola has been one product of many that the Accidental Bakery makes. However, Hurricane Florence in September changed a lot of things, and we've decided that, because available space for expansion in our area is now limited due to flooding and other damage, we want to focus on bringing the granola into the national market.
This summer, we were 6-7 weeks backordered! That's not a good place to be business-wise, but we have amazingly loyal customers and retail partners!
Over the holiday season, we made and sold 75-100 pounds of granola a day. We're not baking anything else as of right now, and we are running at the maximum capacity we can with our current equipment and staff.
We had a lot of damage and loss due to Hurricane Florence, and the crazy way insurance works, we didn't get reimbursed for most of it. Commercial ovens are expensive. Buying hundreds of pounds of oats, nuts and seeds at a time is expensive. Printing bags, hiring staff, real marketing campaigns... they're all expensive. And we need to expand in all those areas to grow.
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THE MONEY RAISED?
Here's the plan!
- A second commercial double oven, with delivery and installation
- Equipment: baking trays, bowls, scales, funnels, parchment, spatulas, bins, etc
- All bulk product and packaging needed to double - or more - production (nuts, seeds, honey, maple syrup, bags, labels, dried fruit... all the things!)
- Hire another part time employee
- Create and execute a national marketing campaign
- Great rewards for all our awesome backers!
- (And, of course, all the processing fees from Kickstarter and credit card companies - can't forget them!)
WHEN/WHERE/HOW - WHAT ARE THE DETAILS?!
The good news is, we already do this five days a week! We aren't reinventing the wheel - we've got awesome local, online, and retail customers who are currently buying our granola -- lots and lots of granola!
We've put expected dates on all the rewards, and don't anticipate any delays in meeting them. We should be able to continue on with our current production while adding equipment and staff, and that means all of our current and new granola addicts will get their fix!
BUT SERIOUSLY?! CAN GRANOLA BE THIS GOOD??
YES, YES IT CAN! Read on for testimonials, photos, and reviews...
Let me know where and when you would like me to post, social media, buy ad spots, erect billboards, skywriting, signs on cardboard held alongside busy intersections — whatever I can do! Jim V., MI
It truly IS extraordinary granola. It almost needs a totally different name since it is like no other "granola" I have ever tasted... I see the beginnings of a GRANOLA EMPIRE! 🤑🤑🤑 BTW, addiction to your granola is the best possible addiction! Frank R-W., FL
Just opened and sampled the Cinnamon Pecan. It's truly like tasting something for the first time and being blown away! I walk down the cereal aisle at Publix now and I'm like, "Ahhh, helll no! Y'all can keep your Bear Naked stuff all day long!" Greg H., FL
I'm hoping to get 3 cases of each granola in each size but I realize that is a pipe dream! I will take what I can get! Jody C., The Village Butcher (Retail Partner), New Bern NC
Risks and challenges
Because we are already making 75-100 pounds of granola a day, and have been making and selling this product for over 2 years, our challenges are fairly minimal. But growth can always have hurdles!
* FACILITY: We currently have a 1350 square foot kitchen where we make granola, and as of Nov 1, 2018, bake one a half days a week for the local farmers market. However, we might need to reconfigure the kitchen to accommodate a large increase in production, including moving 220 electrical and upgrading our electrical panel to accommodate more load. It's possible that we grow so much we phase out of baking altogether.
* PACKAGING and BULK INGREDIENTS: We use printed bags, so there is a lead time for production, as well as for the labels we use for each variety. We also buy nuts, seeds, and oats by the hundreds of pounds. Ordering, sorting, storing can be a logistical challenge. It's something we already do, but to a lesser degree. Everything requires food safe bins, collating, and organizing, tracking, lot number tracking, and careful production log management.
* STAFFING: Beaufort is a small town, so finding qualified staff can be an issue. Additionally, it takes time to train someone to make our granola the way we want it. (ie Perfect!) We've been fortunate in our staffing for the most part, but finding someone detail oriented and conscientious is always priority one.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)