By Stephanie Davis
Photo by Laura Watilo Blake
So far, the marketing strategy is paying off for the owner of 2 Bubbies Cookies, a custom sugar cookie company in Broadview Heights that has been in business since 2009.
“I can tell you that nine times out of 10, if a person I meet eats my cookie, they will order. I call it grassroots marketing,” she says of her business, which largely caters to the corporate world, especially the gift giving and gift packaging segments.
“To me, marketing is about getting my cookies in front of somebody face to face. That’s what has worked best for me,” she says, after spending money with little return via traditional advertising methods. “You don’t have to come screaming out of the gates with fancy logos and brochures. If you have a good concept, get it out there and grow it with baby steps.”
So far, she’s onto something — her business has doubled its sales every year since it started in 2012.
Supporting her low-key marketing approach, Maurer recalls one order stemming from a casual visit to the North Royalton branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library with her two sons (who are the inspiration behind the “2 Bubbies” company name). While there, she offered the staff some cookies, and they instantly liked them. “A couple weeks later, I made logo cookies for them. They sent them to the marketing director, and then they ordered 1,200 cookies,” which she produced in batches for a special function.
Such stories are becoming commonplace for Maurer, whose background is in sales and marketing.
She says she owes credit to her sister for her initial help in marketing her new business.
When Maurer was early in her business venture, her sister worked as the vice president of finance with Brand Muscle. “While in the lunchroom, someone asked my sister for cookies for a business meeting. They wanted them for corporate gifts,” Maurer says. Her sister got in touch with her, and Maurer did their logo and shipped out gift boxes for the clients. Brand Muscle’s clients soon were requesting her cookies for trade shows and galas.
“That’s how I broke into the corporate event side. Today 75 percent of my work is done for corporate,” she says.
To boost her business presence even further in the community and nationally, Maurer hosts sites for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She is also a firm believer in networking and actively participates in her local chamber of commerce.
“Having support of other people is huge; it helps me get through struggles as a business owner. Networking doesn’t just get you new business, it offers a chance for you to seek advice and bounce your ideas off others in business,” she says.
As she reflects on her business as a whole, she says 2014 marked her “breakout year” for clients trusting her to “take creative license” to meet their corporate needs.
“As with planning for any special event, every little detail matters,” Maurer says.
“My clients are contacted during production to make sure specifications are exact or even to discuss a new idea that will make their cookies truly unique.
“When customers start asking, ‘Could you do this or that?’ my mind starts reeling, and I start spilling ideas until we get to one that works for them,” she says.
Customers can start with her online library of more than 200 shapes, including gluten-free options. Orders can be placed via phone, directly through the website or via email. Order sizes range from under a dozen to 1,500-plus on the corporate end, although larger orders require advance notice.
Orders are mostly generated in Northeast Ohio; however, occasionally clients span the country as well as England, Russia, and Canada. She’s even brushed shoulders with a little fame, having filled orders for people such as the wife of San Diego Chargers’ defensive back Darrell Stuckey, along with big-name companies, such as MINI USA, Dealer Tire, Ernst & Young, Brand Muscle, and UBS.
Even with the success she continues to experience, Maurer is not content to just keep doing what she’s doing. Her grand-scale dream for the business is to one day have a storefront, where cookie customers can enjoy a good cup of coffee while taste-testing the baked goods.
In the meantime, 2 Bubbies simply operates out of Maurer’s home in the basement with a lean staff — an accountant and two-part-time otherwise stay-at-home moms. Maurer herself still personally bakes every cookie sold to customers. Her staff helps hand-decorate each cookie and then handles packaging and shipping. “I know one day I have to start trusting (employees to do more) – I’m slowly getting there,” she says of the decision to ensure quality control by being the sole baker.
Whether she gets that storefront or not, Maurer is content to operate locally. “Being in Northeast Ohio is a bonus. It’s wonderful being a small business here because everyone supports everyone.”
For more information: 2bubbiescookies.com