This week we spent some time catching up with Expandly user Lavinia Drake – founder and owner of Baking Time Club – to talk sprinkles, rolling pins and multichannel selling, over a cupcake (or two!)
Talk Sprinkles to Me – What is Baking Time Club?
Baking Time Club is the cherry on top of every home-baker’s dream: High-quality baking supplies (think mermaid sprinkles, honeycomb patterned rolling pins and funky cake toppers) through a subscription-based service – Who doesn’t love post; especially when it’s so pretty!
But that’s not the only tier to this cutsy club – Over to our Star Baker to explain more:
On top of that, we also sell items direct to consumers, including baking gifts, kitchenware and, of course, sprinkles.
Our unique selling point is that all of our products are gluten-free, dairy-free and boring-free; With 75% of bakers having baked ‘free-from’ and forecasts predicting this market to rise to £673 million by 2020, I felt that this was an important gap in the market to fill.
Where do you sell Baking Time Club Products?
We have three main sale channels:
Online – We sell on our website (Shopify), Amazon and Etsy.
Subscriptions – We offer 1, 2, 3 and 4 monthly sprinkle subscriptions, based on 3 tiers and starting from as low as £7.49.
Shows – We attend baking, gift, free-from and vegan shows.
Wholesale – We’re expanding and plan to launch a wholesale sales stream via our website later this year.
Why Multichannel Selling?
I started out on Amazon, later adding Etsy and then finally on my website via Shopify. Selling using a shopping cart meant that I could offer my regular customers an end-to-end branded experience, as well as a larger range of products, background information, blogs and those all-important recipes. Each platform I sell on attracts a different style of customer, which enables me to reach out to different audiences and different bakers. For those questioning should I multichannel sell – I really recommend it
I began using Expandly in October 2016. Primarily I wanted to be able to manage my stock levels in one place and Expandly offered me just that – allowing me to integrate my Shopify shopping cart with my Amazon and Etsy accounts. Manually monitoring and amending stock levels on Amazon, Etsy and Shopify was a lot to juggle and I didn’t feel confident that I could offer my customers the best service doing it this way. Expandly’s live inventory management made me feel more pâtissier and less home baker when it came to business.
How has Expandly Benefited you – The Benefits of Multichannel selling
Having multichannel management software Expandly saved me time in ways I didn’t anticipate to begin with. Listing the same product from one location through to my different sales channel(s) meant that I could manage listings quickly and easily, as well as being able to see all stock levels from the Expandly dashboard. Plus it was quick and easy to link my Amazon, Etsy and Shopify accounts. This has all allowed me to put more time into driving my business and securing increased investments.
Expandly has also helped me to confidently introduce new products to my range. I will often introduce a new product by selling a small number of units to start with, in order to see how well they do. Having six new units available on all platforms, without worrying about overselling, is so much better for my business than the alternative option of listing two on each channel; offering me a better chance of selling and providing the customer who wants more than two with exactly that – no one loses out!
Favourite Expandly Feature
Expandly’s features have all surpassed my expectations but their stand out feature is their support staff. They all really know their stuff and have been so quick and efficient in helping me with any query I have had. Oh, and I can’t not mention the reporting functionality. It is really flexible and lets me create a variety of personalised reports for my business, which not only helps me to run the business but it has also been vital in helping me to pitch Baking Time Club and secure investments.
What’s Been BTC’s Biggest Achievement?
Within our first 10 months, we’ve shipped over 1800 units to 25 countries (made a lot less stressful by Expandly) and have grown a social media following of 20,000 people! This, in turn, has led to increased orders and increased traffic to our own website and shopping cart (Shopify).
We’ve seen repeat customers, blogs and tweets about our products and we were recently nominated for the Milton Keynes Entrepreneurial Spark: #GoDo Award and Inspirational Entrepreneur. It’s been a whirlwind year!
Advice for those starting out and thinking about multichannel selling.
My advice for those starting out with a product-based business is
1. Know your numbers
What is the RRP, minus the commission charged by your sales channel (e.g. Amazon or eBay), minus the cost of the product? Do you have the available funds to not only restock your product repeatedly but to grow your product range – giving customers more choice and reason to purchase from you? These are all really important things to consider.
2. Try different platforms
See what works best for you – Try Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Wish and different shopping carts to see which works the best – for you. One will no doubt be stronger but it may not yield the greatest returns. Make sure you take into account the volume you sell on each channel versus the commission taken by that sales platform. Multichannel management software reports are really useful here.
3. Use Multiple Platforms
This will give your business resilience. If one platform goes down, can your customers still reach you elsewhere? Don’t have all your eggs in one basket!