Sweet Lulu's Bakery on Wheels: A Packaging Case Study
How did Sweet Lulu’s start?
With two crowd funding campaigns – Indiegogo2 and Kickstarter3, a $10k loan from a friend and selling my beloved BMW and fancy clothes to fund it. I started the campaign in July 2014 and am so grateful for all of the support and generosity I received. There were so many practical details to sort –including a truck and trailer! After almost a year of scouring the internet for months, I settled on a vintage camper that we’ve named Pearl.
Lulu’s is about bringing our unique bakery table to customers. The great thing about being mobile is we can do birthday parties, weddings, oyster roasts, graduation parties or corporate events.
At what point did you turn to mason jars as a packaging choice and why?
In coastal communities like Charleston, we spend a lot of time outside or on the water. Every chance a Charlestonian gets, we pack a cooler and flock to the beach or hop on a boat. The thing is dessert is often hard to transport. So, we started making tasty treats in easy-to-go mason jars because they are easy to transport. It morphed into being very Charleston-like. A mason jar fits nicely in any cooler and is as Southern as our pecan bourbon pie!
How do you transport your cupcakes with Pearl? And how do you decide where to go?
YETI Coolers – no electricity – just ice. 15 plus years in advertising and media buying and planning on multi-million dollar ad campaigns helped me evaluate what events to do and not do and how to negotiate better vendor fees. You eventually get a feel for what will be good and what won’t.
You’ve been named a Top 10 Charleston Food Truck4 and Charleston Magazine named Sweet Lulu’s as Readers' Choice for Best Bakery5. Congratulations! What are some of the challenges you face?
Finding kitchen space is the biggest hurdle I have. I have to rent space versus having my own commercial kitchen, which is VERY expensive. It’s hard to schedule time when others need the kitchen the same time you do. Most catered events book up to a year in advance – so initially it’s a slow start.
Can you explain your recycling program?
Sweet Lulu's offers two options to recycle mason jar desserts. For every recycled Sweet Lulu's Bakery mason jar dessert (jar, lid and rim with no chips) customers receive a stamp. Collect 10 stamps and you get a dessert of your choice. For events, we offer a $0.25 refund for every jar recycled. If we're on-site for the event, we merely pick up jars at the end of the evening and issue a recycling refund within 24 hours.
We also encourage our customers to reuse the glass jars. For example, as a cool mason jar lantern or a vase. It’s great when customers post pictures of how they recycle Sweet Lulu's jars on Twitter with the hashtag #CHSLovesLulu!
So who’s Lulu?
My sweet Lulu, is a three-year-old hound dog I rescued after sadly losing two, (yes two!) 15-year-old furry pets one week apart in 2012. I like to think Lulu rescued me as much as I rescued her. So I thought it only fitting I name the bakery in Lulu's honor. As such, a percent of profits are donated to the Gulf Coast Humane Society where I adopted Lulu from and our new local animal shelter, Charleston's Pet Helpers.
2 “Charleston Food Trucks”, Indiegogo, https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/charleston-food-trucks#/
3 “Food Truck Mason Jar Bakery”, Kickstarter, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sweetlulusbakery/charleston-mason-jar-mobile-bakery