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“Our customers are total brand champions.” #SFSBW2015 Interview: Sadie Scheffer, Bread SRSLY

#SFSBW2015 asked small businesses and the organizations that support them throughout the year to share insights, best practices, stories and resources to help small business owners flourish. Today we hear from Sadie Scheffer, Owner, Bread SRSLY.

Tell us about your business in one sentence.

We are makers of delicious, nourishing gluten-free sourdough bread.

San Francisco is changing, and the small business customer base is changing. What changes are you seeing in your customer base? 

Our customers are total brand champions. We are lucky to have a very dedicated following, with core customers who come back to purchase bread every week from one of our retail partners. As we grow into more stores, our brand becomes stronger and sales at each individual store increase.

What specific business strategies have you implemented to build loyalty and enhance your ability to serve the newer generation of customers?

Sadie Scheffer, Owner, Bread SRSLY

Sadie Scheffer, Owner, Bread SRSLY

I think customers respond strongly to our branding. We are positioned high in the marketplace, and we back up our standing with organic ingredients, a gluten-free certification, killer packaging and a catchy story. Beyond the appearance of the brand, we are very high-touch with customer service, and we frequently have customers who come back simply because they got to speak with a real person.

What marketing tactics and strategies have been most successful for your business in this new environment?

Our marketing hits current food trends via Adwords, blog reviews and social media outreach. Our products respond to a lot of dietary concerns, which adds additional sales channels. Pay-per-click advertising has been a huge success for us, and along with Search Engine Optimization on our website, has been responsible for bringing us first-time customers for a manageable price.

What is the one lesson you would like to share with other small business owners—especially those who are struggling to change the way they do business in the current climate?

It pays to know your customers. We know a lot about our customers’ wants and opinions through written feedback. We’re able to keep tabs on new product ideas, new ways to get bread to our customers, and up-to-date info on each batch of bread that we send out. By being good listeners, we also make our customers want to share our brand with their friends, making word-of-mouth our most successful marketing channel since day 1.

What is it about running a small business brings you joy and satisfaction?            

I love speaking to my customers and meeting them in person. It’s really great for me to see total strangers who know my story, support my brand, and volunteer as brand ambassadors because of their love for our products. We have customers from the very beginning who have seen Bread SRSLY through growth spurts and production changes – being able to retain them through thick and thin is the biggest compliment I could want.

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