The Giftware Association (GA)’s new Gift of the Year stand at the Autumn Fair made such an impression on one exhibitor that he signed up as a member even before the show opened.
Joe Munns, managing director of Bakedin, was exhibiting in Hall 5 at the event, which was held from September 4 to September 7 at the NEC in Birmingham. The supplier specialises in home baking kits and mug mixes.
Joe explained: “As a team we were walking by The GA stand at build-up, and it was so eye-catching that we had to find out more.”
As a result, Bakedin not only joined the association but has entered its Candy Crush product in the Branded/Character and Food and Drink categories of The GA’s Gift of the Year 2017 awards.
Said Joe: “Entering Gift of the Year or joining The GA obviously isn’t free. But, allied to the fact that members receive stand discounts at some trade shows and the association really wants to get the names of those companies out there with buyers – which is what we’re focusing on at the moment – it seems to be a very cost-effective way of doing business.
“The thing that struck me about talking to Sarah Ward [The GA’s chief executive], is that the organisation is genuine and isn’t trying to squeeze money out of you, which is something we have experienced in the past. It sounds corny, but The GA gave me a very nice warm feeling from the outset.”
The Bakedin story began in May 2013. Joe and his friend Anna had been lift-sharing to work for a few months, and one morning on a dreary journey along the M3, the conversation turned to the subject of baking.
They both love to cook and had the idea of a time-saving baking kit that still gave the full baking-from-scratch experience – but with a little less hassle. And so, the Bakedin baking kit was born.
They tested their prototype kits on 100 friends and colleagues and after some positive feedback realised that the only way to see if people would actually buy the products was to try selling them.
One school fete, artisan market and high street food festival later, it was clear that the public liked the idea. They took a small start-up loan from the government and proceeded to get some more professional packaging printed, picked up their first stockist and launched an additional product range – mug baking mixes.
The business grew steadily. But with a demanding day job and spending every evening and weekend working on it meant that a crossroads in the business was soon reached.
After raising a round of seed investment in June 2015, Joe quit his role at IBM to manage the business full time, and hired his first employees.
After one of Bakedin’s shareholders introduced the company to Michel Roux OBE, also known as Michel Roux Snr., its recipes are now exclusively developed by one of the world’s finest pastry chefs.
Bakedin now has hundreds of stockists including Selfridges, Lakeland, Wholefoods and Center Parcs, while its baking club subscription service was named in national newspaper ‘The Independent’s list of top 15 food subscriptions, alongside brands such as Graze, HelloFresh and Hotel Chocolat.
Sarah Ward commented: “Our new stand at Autumn Fair helped to strengthen the quality of the Gift of the Year brand. We had lots of retailers coming to see us who wanted to know which companies we were talent-scouting, and who we were encouraging to enter the competition. Quite simply, they were being cute and wanted to steal a march on their competitors. And who can blame them for that?”
L-r: Joe Munns, managing director of Bakedin with Michel Roux Snr., who develops recipes for the company