Thursday, July 2, 2020

A Global Pandemic — Why Not Launch a Business?

You can probably think of lots of reasons why not to launch a business during a global pandemic. If you’re my 13-year-old daughter, you see nothing but opportunity.

Why? Maybe because she’s the daughter of a lawyer who spends his days working with risk-taking entrepreneurs? Maybe because she’s easily bored? Maybe because she just has a lot of entrepreneurial drive (and a bunch of time on her hands)?

The real answer is that it’s because her New Year’s resolution was to turn her love of baking into a “neighborhood” business. Unlike many of us (remember those resolutions to stop snacking or to go to the gym more?), she actually took action: she put together a detailed list of everything needed to launch the business and started checking things off. Items included everything from branding and recipes to registering our kitchen under the Minnesota Cottage Foods Laws.

Of course, then things like life and COVID-19 got in the way! With time on her hands (8th grade distance learning only took her about 1.5 hours a day), she renewed her enthusiasm for the idea after we returned from our one-day trip to Ecuador (which was supposed to be a 10-day spring break trip to the Galapagos Islands…). 

But, like any good entrepreneur, she needed to be able to adapt to a rapidly evolving situation. Instead of trying to go door to door in the neighborhood, she contacted the New Brighton Farmer's Market and secured a bi-weekly space for the summer. About three weeks ago, she officially launched Zizzy Baked GoodZ and sales have been booming! She sold out her inventory her first week at the market (half way through the day) and almost sold out twice as many items the second week — including her “Rainbow Pride Cupcake” (complete with Fresh Pineapple Buttercream), pictured above. She’s even already filled several custom catering orders!

Along the way, she’s learned about inventory management (challenging in a farmer’s market during a pandemic, particularly when you are selling perishable baked goods), COGS (thanks to the spreadsheet skill of her father), fixed v. variable costs, pricing models, branding and promotion, along with logistics. It has also given the family something else to keep us busy during “COVID-times;” we’ve collaborated on everything from brainstorming product ideas to procurement of ingredients to packaging (everyone agrees that I’ve got the fastest labeling skill in the family — probably from all those client shareholder mailings).

If you’re interested in seeing the results (and in Minnesota), she’ll be at the market in the parking lot of the New Brighton Community Center on July 8 (with her Red (velvet), White, and Blue Cupcake) and every other Wednesday from 3-7 until school starts up (fingers crossed that it is in person). Don’t worry, there’s lots of hand sanitizer, masks, and social distancing. If you’d rather receive a custom order, let me know…I’m pretty sure I know how to get in touch with the owner!  

In the meantime, have a Happy 4th of July!

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