The first time I heard of Reverie was through their KickStarter over a year ago in July 2013. The whole vegan community was in a buzz about the chance that DFW would finally become a home for a 100% vegan bakery. Even with their limited resources, they managed to pull a successful campaign off through self-promotion online and at community events. Since they’ve opened, they’ve enjoyed great success! It’s no wonder; they have an amazing product! Each pastry, cake and sweet (or savory!) is made with loving care that comes from a deep passion for baking. So what goes into opening a successful vegan bakery? Nancy, one of the owners, was kind enough to take the time out to let us know!
Racene and I had always discussed opening a bakery together. When we first met, our conversation immediately revolved around cake decorating and pastries. We knew there was more passion behind the topic of conversation, so one thing led to next and we were now discussing business plans.
What were some of the first steps you took to make it a reality?
Since we already had industry and cake decorating experience under our belts, we decided to pursue the business and financial points first. We contacted several people about commercial real estate, accounting, business plans, loans, and licensing. Studying and tackling these things first took about 3 years before we felt stable enough to pursue and make the bakery a reality.
What were some helpful resources for you?
We went to the North Texas Small Business Development Center and I highly recommend using them and their resources. Things could not have been more realistic and clear without their help. The website to this organization is http://www.ntsbdc.org.
What were some obstacles you had to overcome, and how did you?
Our biggest obstacles were definitely financial ones. Everything between construction, equipment, licensing, permits, designing, you name it! There was a need for any penny we could obtain. Loans only went so far and didn’t cover nearly as much as we needed. So we decided to get involved with the community and do some fundraisers. That’s also when we bumped into Kickstarter.
Tell us about your Kickstarter experience and how you created a successful campaign and got the word out.
Kickstarter was a challenge because we could not pay anyone and did not know many people who could help us with professional photos and videography. At this point, time was also an issue, so we decided to use what we already had…..our iPhones. Community events were already on our calendars, such as the Alamo Drafthouse Grand Opening/ movie screenings and dessert sampling at the Open Stage events. We combined these events with the campaign and before we knew it, we surpassed our goal on Day 13. We’ll never forget this day!
How did you generate buzz about Reverie, and get your product out in the community before your shop opened?
Alamo Drafthouse, Open Stage, previous cake clients, previous co-workers, friends, and social media were some of our networks. Sending samples, emails, and flyers to various areas in our neighborhoods also sparked interest and we saw many new friends at our bakery opening from there on.
How did you keep start up costs low?
DIY for sure. We had to design every thing ourselves to keep costs low (website, business cards, menus, stickers, pins, floor plan, etc). We also had to do a lot of the construction ourselves, such as installing sink faucets, putting up FRP paneling in our kitchen, base paneling, and the concrete flooring which was by far, the hardest most labor intensive project we did!
What are some of your future hopes for your business?
Those have been varying throughout the year but it seems our minds are being set on the basics for now. We would love to offer delivery services one day and have an online store. I think our minds are still reeling from the obstacles and wonderful times/friendships we’ve developed our first business year. It’s nice to take it slow and enjoy these moments first.
Any other tips for would-be vegan business owners?
Our advice is to know your community well and don’t be afraid of change. You can never present a great idea without truly knowing your community first. The idea is to welcome the community, not scare or bore them away. If it’s pink that you want, but the community wants blue, maybe it’s best to settle for purple….something in the middle. The idea is not to conform, but to adjust. You want people to come back after all, so take their suggestions and critiques to your business’ benefit.