Where: Paris, France
Baking plays a very important role in the world of Vend. For every (and any) occasion, there are cakes… or donuts, or whoopie pies. We also have a few resident bakers amongst the team who take it upon themselves to bake us delicious treats right in our very own kitchen. So, you can imagine our sheer joy when Cake & Bake Accessories, a shrine to all things sugary and carbohydrate, entered our worlds. We recently had a chat with its founder Paul to find out how the Cake & Bake romance began with Vend, and where it’s heading.
How did the Cake & Bake story begin?
I am a British Pastry Chef and, after leaving England for a job in France, I began to realize there was a huge niche in the market for a bakeware store in Paris selling basic, easily accessible baking materials for all kinds of people. Materials like cookie cutters, sprinkles, icing, food coloring… the list is endless. As I pastry chef I knew the suppliers well and where to go to get the best products. So whilst working in France and enjoying my time there I began to look into the idea and get to grips with an entirely new culture and system. I have always been adventurous and one to take risks so this whole project came quite naturally to me, the moment I got my hands on some finances I was off.
I was originally out and about shopping when I walked into a store and realized they were using an Apple iMac computer. At the time I was starting to do my business research for my project and could not help but ask what system they were using. The cashier then enthusiastically began to lecture me about Vend and I was hooked on every word. I love Apple’s products and knew I wanted an Apple computer in my store for a variety of reasons – the main reason being the design and appearance. Prior to this encounter I had had no luck with finding a suitable system that would work well with Apple products whilst being affordable for a small start up shop like mine and highly useful. But then I found Vend and everything changed.
How has the relationship blossomed?
One thing I love about Vend is how it has adapted and grown with my store. When I first started out I was able to take out a “small plan” and as the product selection and store grew, I was able to update my plan easily and effectively with out losing any data or too much money. Just last year I employed my first person and that meant I was able to take advantage of using the “users” part of Vend. It also meant whilst I was not working in the store I could be working from home on editing the products or even checking up on what is happening in the store. It is amazing how flexible Vend is, how simple it is to use and how it has adapted to all my needs and I know I will be using it for years to come no matter how big my business gets. It is also great, when you’re hard at work getting your business off the ground, to know you have a dedicated support team behind you if you encounter any problems with the system.
How have you been finding Vend’s Loyalty Program?
The loyalty system is great although I am still getting used to it. Originally I was using cards that I stamped / signed and after the client had accumulated so many points they would get a discount. This may sound great but so many clients would lose their cards or have to root through their purses trying to find where they put it whilst at the check out. Now with the Vend loyalty program it is as simple as entering a name! It’s also great because it then links into the “customers” part of Vend where you can store their email address and easily see how much they have spent, how many times they have been in store and so much more. We recently celebrated our 2 year birthday and as a result we held a series of competitions and events. One competition was giving a prize away to the customer with the highest amount of loyalty and because of Vend we were able to easily look at our clients, get in contact easily and then reward the client.
What does the future hold for your beautiful store?
Well I want to keep laying down strong foundations and building upon our product selection and reputation in Paris. I hopefully would like to expand to a warehouse where I can then focus on the distribution of our products, the Internet and maybe, just maybe, open another store somewhere!
And lastly, do you have any advice for new retailers?
We get so caught up in the budget, or what we want or how we imagine a shop should look like, but sometimes it can really pay to just start with the basics. Less stress, less financial hassle. When I started my store all I had was four plain white walls and some basic products and month by month I have slowly grown it into what it is now – and I still have so much further to go!
But in doing so I was able to invest very little money in the beginning, and bit by bit invest the profits into turning the store into something that is so much more than just four white walls. It has also been great for clients to see the constant change and ever evolving shop space. Just like Vend has created a simple easy to use system sometimes it may pay to do the same with your store keep it simple, keep it real.
– Paul Waters, Founder, Cake & Bake Accessories
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About Grace O'Hara
Grace is a Marketing Assistant at Vend and helps make cool things happen behind the scenes. She enjoys talking to incredible Vend retailers from around the world and making the world a better place with her side projects. You can get in touch with Grace by email or connect with her on Google+.