Selling custom cookies on Etsy since it opened has become a fun, profitable niche for Whipped Bake Shop in Philadelphia.
What started as an inexpensive way to build brand recognition has become a fun, profitable niche for Whipped Bake Shop in Philadelphia. The bakery, which specializes in custom cakes, cupcakes and decorated cookies, has been selling custom cookies on Etsy since it launched in 2007.
“We started doing the cookie gift boxes at the beginning of our business because it was an easy way to get the word out,” says owner Zoe Lukas. “We love Etsy because it specializes in handmade items, which works well with our cookies since they’re all done by hand.”
Lukas’ background is in painting, which shows up in the style of Whipped’s decorated cookies. They often feature vintage-inspired designs, unique depictions, such as terrariums or nesting dolls, and humorous illustrations and sayings. The gift boxes are made up of six to 12 made-to-order cookies that are packaged in clear plastic bags, nestled in matching tissue paper and then placed in bakery boxes that have been turned inside out for a more natural appearance. They’re finished with a decorative sticker and ribbon around the box.
Lukas says her customers’ tendency toward a quirky sense of humor helped Whipped gain a following on Etsy. “We try to be creative with our taglines, especially for holidays like Valentine’s Day. We’ll put sayings like ‘You’re the bacon to my eggs’ on cookies.”
There are no membership fees to sell product on Etsy; the online retailer simply collects a 3.5 percent fee on the sale price, making it an appealing e-commerce option for small startups. And because Etsy only features supplies and handmade and vintage products, sellers can quickly gain a loyal following. Each day, the site showcases different artisans, artists and collectors through featured items, editors’ picks, producer profiles and seasonal roundups on its blog.
A few years ago, Whipped was the featured seller in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. That year, the bakery nearly quadrupled the number of online orders it normally does during Valentine’s–to 200 from the typical 50 or 60.
Aside from the booming online ordering business during the holidays, Etsy allows Whipped to have a year-round presence online.
“The ready-made gifts are so perfect. People can find sets of things to give to somebody for just about anything,” Lukas says. She adds that while the bakery offers the same products on its website, customers have to order them in advance, while Etsy allows for custom shipping.
Whipped sells more cookies on Etsy than on its website. And Lukas likes the additional attention it draws to the bakery. “When we were first on Etsy, there were a lot less people doing what we were doing. Now we have our own presence as a bakery. But it’s another avenue for people to find us.”