Company Background, Application Material
Hello, my name is Maddie and I am the founder, owner, and currently the only "technical" operator of Moo's Bakery. However, when speaking about Moo's, I have always been very mindful of using the word "we" to reference all the external help we've received from family and friends, but also to include my future, official team.
The thought of hiring our first addition is exciting and terrifying. While I know it might just be the best next step to growing, I've been avoiding it! Recently I heard the advice (and the phrase) to find someone who will help "build the plane while it's flying," I think that perfectly sums up what I am looking for...
Before the Company
Moo's Bakery came out of necessity-- both external and internal. Before attending the University of Northern Iowa for business in 2017, I made one promise to myself, "By the time I graduate, I will not need a job." I did not care about earning a degree in college. In fact, officially declaring a major came from advisors telling me I was running out of time and needed to decide. I only visited with an advisor once and it was at the end of the first semester in my senior year. They were not happy with me.
I still loved my time at university and made amazing friends in the entrepreneurship community. I made the most of the opportunities given to college students and participated in dozens of business pitch competitions and events. Classes of all kinds were fascinating to me and I explored a multitude of departments beyond business like communication, French, and (secular) religious studies. To this day, I believe each class I took contributed greatly to how I see business and how I run mine.
During college I worked on three companies: Mind & Belly (2017-2018), The Karmic (2019-2020). Co and Virgo (2020-2021). Mind & Belly was a blog on Wordpress supplemented with an Instagram presence. I started it right out of high school after abruptly switching to a full plant-based diet and lifestyle. I documented my journey through posting pictures of food and tips to help other people interested in going plant-based. The Karmic Co. was a holistic product company. I primarily sold bracelets alongside oil blends, earrings, and a couple other miscellaneous items. I enjoyed aspects of running it and learned a lot, but ultimately failed. My second "company" was Virgo and was an aspiring tech company with the mission to reimagine gig economy work. Essentially I wanted to reform an industry with a revised platform and structure. I researched hard on this one, fell deeply in love with it, pitched it at many competitions, but decided to quit right before graduation.
I distinctly remember a couple days after graduation feeling so defeated for not accomplishing the one big goal I have ever made in my life. I received an offer to work at the university in their entrepreneurship department (which was an amazing opportunity and ultimately a safe launchpad), but I would be working with students on creating and helping their companies. There is a saying that circles my head frequently despite me not thinking it's totally true, "those who can't, teach." I felt like a failure for coming up short in my entrepreneurial aspirations. That same night, I hopped in the car and drove to Target to pick up my first bakery items: two brownie pans, parchment paper, and a kitchen scale. The name came to me right away, Moo's Bakery.
In 7th or 8th grade I approached my homeroom teacher, Mrs. Sink, and told her that I was going to start a bakery when I get older and I'd like to bring in some cake balls for the class. Another glimpse of my future occurred a couple times in college where I'd be sitting in the library and randomly begin a spreadsheet calculating ingredient costs. Still, I don't remember it occurring to me that I was going to start a bakery until the very moment I did.
Summer of 2021 was spent working at university during the day, and developing the business at night. Finalizing the menus, testing products and recipes, completing paper work, building the website, and developing the brand were the first tasks. It was the first business that came somewhat easy to me. For the first time in all of my pursuits, I was certain about the name, the logo, the colors, and that everything was going to revolve around being plant-based.
One of the smartest things I did was convert Mind & Belly's Instagram page to Moo's Bakery for the built-in following. One of the (almost) dumbest things I did, was refuse chocolate chip cookies. Despite request from the people around me, I was adamant that chocolate chip cookies were not a part of the menu. Luckily, I gave into the idea and made my first batch. That's when we knew we had something special.
Our First Years
Since receiving our license in October 2021, Moo's Bakery has been a home-bakery/home food-processing plant. Everything is made and packaged in a separate kitchen located in New Hartford, Iowa in my grandparent's house. We offer pickup, delivery, shipping, and participate at the Cedar Fall's farmer's market.
Moo's has grown consistently over time. We hold a strong customer retention rate and experienced roughly 200% in revenue growth from 2022 to 2023. We find greatest success through connecting organically with our customers and working diligently to fulfill a specific, dream-like, and inspired vision, not only for our products, but for our brand.
Goals and Aspirations
We have two main goals at Moo's Bakery:
1. Create amazing products for people who need/want them (due to life-style choices, allergies, sensitivities, etc).
2. Improve the perception of plant-based food.
Dairy sensitivity and allergy is extremely common, yet extremely underserved in the restaurant industry. We are very passionate about creating options for these people that are 100% intentional and don't feel or taste like a half-a** alternative. Though we understand and empathize with the challenge non-dairy or egg consumers experience, we absolutely love meeting these people and seeing their eyes light up at the discovery of a fully plant-based oasis.
During my plant-based adventures, I encountered so many people under the impression that a milk-less, meat-less, egg-less meal is inferior. It made me so sad because they were sooooo wrong. Through my own discoveries and research, I knew that plant-based meals can taste just as amazing as their non-plant-based counterparts and often better!
I get questions on why we use the cow as our logo. There are a couple reasons why we landed on the cow, but one of them is that is does not turn non-plant-based people away... it actually brings them in. Perhaps through trickery? Maybe... But we're confident that the plant-based people will find us and we are hopeful that we can reach others and help change some minds for the better along the way.
Our current day-to-day goals and aspirations include, reaching more parts of Iowa, finding a suitable brick and mortar, increasing cookie production, growing our audience.