The Adaptables: Featuring Vida Bakery.
Dani and Vane, co-founders of Vida Bakery, have been making waves on the London food scene by baking up their business with a twist: Everything is 100% free from dairy, eggs, and gluten. They started with a pop-up store in 2015 and then opened the doors of their first store in the coveted Brick Lane in 2018. Since then, they’ve experienced massive growth and also have become known as champions of minority-owned businesses, as role models among the Venezuelan and LGBTQ communities.
Like all physical shopfronts however, the pandemic hit business hard, forcing the pair to start thinking outside the box. In response, they’ve made a strategic pivot shifting their business online so their customers can all keep living la Vida.
Tune in to the episode above to get Dani and Vane’s key tips for shifting online, or if you’re short on time, read the summary below.
Embrace the learning process. When in-person business at their bakery dropped by 90% after their main clientele—nearby office workers—went into lockdown, Vane and her partner Dani looked at ways to bring their business online for the first time. “It was like opening a new business because we didn't know how it worked. It was the first time dealing with couriers. It was the first time dealing with that kind of packaging. So it was starting all over again. But it was fascinating, and I'm very glad that we actually did [that] because that is what we are focusing on right now. We are developing new products and new flavors, and everything is happening online, which is great.”
Make use of templated technology. “I went and opened up Squarespace accounts, and it pretty much works just like putting a picture on your Instagram account. It's very, very simple, very easy. You have a lot of guidance on Squarespace itself. It's very easy to integrate your PayPal account to Squarespace. So even if you don't have any experience at all in the online world, and you don't know how to build a website, which I didn't know how to, these platforms are really helpful. You will find a lot of tools and a lot of help inside the platform.”
Use social media to build a relationship with your customers. “We always like to have that close communication with customers and we are very much into Instagram because it allowed us to have direct interaction with them. So if you follow us, you will see Dani’s face on Instagram mostly every day. People really appreciate these things because you see the business, but also, when you see the face behind the business, you can connect with that person and you can connect with the brand.”
Get customer suggestions on social channels, like Instagram. “We were monitoring on Instagram what people said. One person, one customer said, ‘Oh, I’m very happy that you guys are doing this, but it’s just a shame that I cannot pay using PayPal.’ So that’s how I integrated PayPal. I was like, ‘Okay, so you want to place an order and you want to pay with PayPal. Okay, give me five minutes and I’ll do it. I’ll find out.’ So I went back and it took me one minute just to open an account and put in the bank details. Then I replied back to the customer saying, “Now you can pay with PayPal.” She was like ‘Brilliant. I just placed an order.’ It took less than five minutes to gain a new customer. Then I realized that most people were actually using PayPal to pay.”
Show your customers their opinion matters. “We ask our customers through Instagram to submit their opinion. When we were about to open in King's Cross, for example, we asked them, ‘What do you guys think? Do you like the location? Will you be happy? Would you come? Would you place delivery orders?’ People love the fact that their opinion is taken into consideration, and that there is a person behind that business listening to you.”