From the moment I first learned to cook, I have loved making delicious food for my friends and family just to hear their enjoyment! Once I moved to Maine and tasted a whoopie pie, I just knew that I could do better. I baked and filled them and gave them away to friends, just to hear their reactions. As I developed my own recipes and tricks I also found more friends who loved whoopie pies. If you’re anywhere near Portland, Maine, you know DiMillo's Floating Restaurant. My husband and I became regulars every Friday night and often brought whoopie pies to all the employees, again, just so we could experience the frenzy as people tasted our delights! My husband had to fight his way into the bar area when he was carrying a large tray of pies, with the patrons trying to grab one before he could hand them off to the employees. It was so much fun to see the excitement!
I've enjoyed every moment of getting my product into Whole Foods Market in both Portland, Maine and Whole Foods in Andover, Mass as well as goldbely.com and several restaurants, coffee shops and pizza places. I must say I love what I do and I do what I love...and most of all I love to exceed your every expectation with my little gourmet whoopie pies!
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
My first sale was to Whole Foods Market in Portland, Maine. I boxed up a dozen gourmet whoopie pies, walked into Whole Foods and asked for the bakery manager. My marketing strategy has always been that these delectable gourmet whoopie pies sell themselves, so all I needed to do was put contact information in the box and drop them off to the right person.
I handed the bakery manager the box, told him he didn't need to speak with me, all he needed to do was enjoy the treat! He called me the next day to say that both my marketing strategy and my product were amazing! Its the same story for all my customers!
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
I have an amazing web site using Shopify software. I started by plugging in a shipping app but found that my target market is more of a wholesale customer and my web site is a legitimizer more than anything else.
I now only use Shopify and do all the shipping by hand. Having a beautiful web site with an excellent store, that portrays your product well, is the most important first step. Having a good product is also key but my experience has been that you don't need much more than that to get up and going.
What are your top recommendations for new ecommerce entrepreneurs?
My advice to business start ups would be to only start a business that you love more than you've ever loved anything before. This will take untold amounts of energy and focus.
My business feels very much like it is one of my children and that it's success or failure ride squarely on my shoulders. I have learned more about myself, while running my own business, than ever before. I have never been so fulfilled as I have been since Cape Whoopies began!