When given the opportunity to join a group of women to learn about and support their small businesses, we can’t help but jump at the chance. The MeyCo Team does what we do so we can help ALL businesses, new and old, create their dream marketing scheme and get the chance to own their marketing on whatever budget they have!
While we were enjoying walking and talking with an array of small businesses in San Diego, from candlestick products to crystals, one in particular stood out as we tried some of her sample loafs. Meet Lucy Dugger, the founder of The Loaf Bar. She was kind enough to sit down with us and discuss all things business and how she is conquering her marketing plan for her business on her own.
Lucy has been the creator and lead baker at The Loaf Bar for almost 2 years. She was inspired by her kids and husband, when she took up baking for friends and family during the holidays and for family celebrations. Lucy’s roots were not deeply seeded in baking but baking became a passion once she became a mother. Her dedication to understanding what was in all of the foods she was feeding her family, lead her to start baking on her own and experimenting in the kitchen to create something uniquely her own. Lucy’s loafs, are miniature in size (super cute and perfect for an afternoon treat) and come in so many different flavors with a twist!
Lucy has such a calm and collected personality and is ready for any challenge, but what impressed us the most about her was her ability to look past the comparison game on social media when growing her business online. We often put too much stock into mimicking or copying other profiles to replicate their success, but this can become so incredibly overwhelming and disheartening when your numbers and growth don’t amount to an account you are inspired by.
We sat down with Lucy to talk about her marketing process, being a team of one, a baker and how she grows her influence on social media without getting lost in the comparison game.
MEYCO: HOW DID YOU START THE LOAF BAR?
Lucy: I actually started baking 12 years ago, my children were one, and I wanted that nostalgic warm chocolate chip cookie for them to try and go ‘oohh’ and ‘ahh’ and they did, but when I looked at the ingredients written on the pre-made cookie dough package, I couldn’t recognize any of them. I made their baby food–which was far more cost effective than buying pre-made baby food—and began being much more conscious of what I was feeding my family. So, I taught myself to bake, I actually Googled chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. My husband said they were better than his grandmas and that’s when I knew this could be something special. I initially follow a recipe and figure out the flavor palette for the plate that I am creating and then I can put my own twist on it. For me to Google a recipe and alter an ingredient or two comes natural to me. Over the years, I have baked cakes, cupcakes and so much more from scratch. Baking allows me to create something unique and share with my family a ‘bite or two’.
MEYCO: WHAT MADE YOU SETTLE ON MINI LOAF BARS?
Lucy: A couple years ago, I started giving out regular sized loaf bread to friends and family during the holidays. I would wrap up the loaf bread, add a pretty bow, a bottle of wine and flowers and that was my Christmas gift to them. I knew I wanted to share this experience year around, so when I resigned my position my husband encouraged me to pursue my dream. And then we came up with a name and knew a full-size loaf would be a bit intimidating. After some thought and research, I tested out a variety of tins and eventually found the right tins for a smaller, less intimidating loaf.
MEYCO: TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU STARTED YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLAN TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS.
Lucy: I was sitting in a conference a few months back and the speakers big push was, Instagram. It is going to be your biggest growth tool, she said. So, I embraced Instagram. By nature, I tend to be very reserved but I knew I needed an additional method of selling besides word of mouth. Figuring out how to sell my product has been a nice learning curve, since my background is in HR, which in its entirety is a whole different world from The Loaf Bar. I now sell loaf bread alongside many other bakers who specialize in cookies, cakes and other baked goods. I typically research other bakers to see what they are doing with their social media marketing and what works for them. I have found a lot of my repeat clients on Instagram and most of these clients have commented on a post or I have commented on one of their posts. I typically engage with my social media followers and that has paid off as social media has been one of my biggest revenue generators.
MEYCO: HOW DID YOU ADJUST TO HOW PERSONAL SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE WHILE TRYING TO MARKET YOUR BUSINESS?
Lucy: For my social media plan, it was all about embracing social media and giving clients a closer look at The Loaf Bar. Someone suggested to do videos because humans are attracted to videos and at first, I thought it was a bit silly because I’m not a YouTuber. But I started with one video and with the encouragement of a few friends, and I created my first video. As I continued to create more content stories, the easier it became and the more confident I became. I have learned to embrace this part of social media, which in turn has led to have a deeper interaction with potential clients and truly be authentic with my products.
MEYCO: HAS YOUR SELLING PROCESS CHANGED WITH SOCIAL MEDIA?
Lucy: Absolutely and I think we underestimate ourselves as humans quite a bit. With social media I only have a few seconds of their time and if I am not present and authentic then I have lost the attention of the Instagram community. I think using Instagram has been a really good experience for me, because I used to feel that nobody wanted to see the person behind the business, but it turns out the audience is motivated to follow along when they know who is behind the business and why we do what we do. As the person behind all aspects of The Loaf Bar, social media has really changed my outlook on communicating more details about my business and what role(s) I have. It is definitely a good mix of personal and professional growth.
MEYCO: HOW HAVE YOU DELT WITH COMPARING YOUR BRAND TO OTHERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Lucy: I think for me it is about having confidence in who I am and what my brand stands for. I’m just one person, this is my passion that is slowly growing and evolving into fulfilling my dream. It’s a new goal for me to not focus on everyone else and be really proud of my product and really share that with my customers. As a social media user, I look at other bakers and try to see what makes them stand out. I typically observe and research these bakers and at times, they aren’t doing anything different than what I am, but they may have a larger referral base. Every business owner is unique and no one company can compare to another but instead we should be inspired by their grit.
MEYCO: DO YOU HAVE ANY TOOLS ON HOW YOU DON’T LET SOCIAL MEDIA COMPARISONS TO OVERWHELM YOUR EFFORTS?
Lucy: I think I have always tried to stay away from comparison. I emulate that at home, especially with a young daughter who can get stuck comparing herself with other girls. My biggest advice is to always be yourself. Everyone has a gift, and some may not see that gift, and that is ok, we move on. There will always be someone who is ready to help you in your growth and this is the same across all social media platforms. I look at social media not as a tool but as an inspiration. I look for authenticity because as a user we can see it on their social media. If you are not authentic then a user can sense this and move past your page and your message. To me social media is an inspiration, not a comparison.
MEYCO: WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THE PRESSURES TO SHOW UP CONSISTENTLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
Lucy: I have an internal rule, I want to post three times a week but each post needs to be authentic. It’s my internal guideline. When I first launched The Loaf Bar, I was advised to post every day and post a video every day – I don’t believe I need to do this because I want my followers and customers to engage in authentic content. I want The Loaf Bar to be a brand customers remember.
See Lucy and her company The Loaf Bar online!