Sunday, January 24, 2010

Entrepreneur's Corner: Baked by Melissa, Bite-Size Treats!

Executive Summary: We look at an entrepreneurial venture, Baked by Melissa, and some things that stand out with this cupcake shop- product size, pricing and a range of product flavors.

The Overview
Walking about in Manhattan, two signs of green shoots caught my attention. Here is "Baked by Melissa".

The "Baked by Melissa" store's hole in the wall look belies all the work that seems to have gone on behind it- they already seem to have a following, and also run a catering operation. I discovered in when I saw a long line in SOHO, almost as long as the ones formed by fans outside the Abercrombie store on 5th Ave., leading up to a little window.

The cupcakes are bitesized, for a dollar each, and you pick a minimum of 3 from the shop. I was only too glad to sample 3 different flavors at one go. I can see cupcake fans going in for volume when they visit the store.

How Do You Find It?

Green Shoots?
Melissa Bushell started this venture after moving on from her last job. Talk about green shoots! Here's a candid (third party) interview:

It's a great insight into "Animal Spirits".

The Deal- The Marketing Strategy
Why would I talk about this startup?
Note: These perspectives are all mine and have not been discussed with Baked by Melissa.
* The Product: Interesting mix of standard and innovative cupcakes. Did I say that I see cupcake fans buying cupcakes in "box sizes"? I can also see a bite-size cupcake going up against mini/ regular/ large cupcakes with a message- "lose the calories, but not the taste".
* Product Size and Pricing: Did I mention that the cupcakes are bite-sized, for a dollar each, and you pick a minimum of 3 from the shop? This strategy confers great flexibility on the margins.
* Positioning- While the messaging theme (see website) is simple and correctly centered around taste, it could also subtly play into a health and fitness savvy dessert-fiend profile.
* Merchandising- none noted at the store. A simple, "back to the basics of taste" operation.

Ahem... Constructive Criticism?
None. The idea here is to understand "green shoots" and "animal spirits". The entrepreneurs ostensibly have the right counsel to survive growth pangs.

What do you think? Ready, Steady, Cupcake?


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