City Girl

C

Saskatchewan is very cold in the winter. Very cold. The first time Andrew went to Saskatoon with me, I told him to plug in the car and he thought I’d lost my mind.

Even in his hometown of Montreal, they do not plug in cars.

Mostly because of the cold, I knew as a child that I would not spend my life in Saskatchewan and I moved right after university. So it always is a bit of  jolt when, like this week, someone comes up to me and says, “It’s Prairie girl!”.

For heaven’s sake.

I’d have gone with “Gorgeous City Girl Bakery” if I’d known that people would call me Prairie Girl because of the  name of my business. LOL! I guess I wasn’t really thinking clearly about branding at the time.

I know now that all parts of a business becomes its brand – and a brand becomes a “thing”. A company’s name, logo, colours, boxes, website, social media accounts, I see now that they all morph together to form an entity with a life of its own that encompasses everything, even the owner. It is an interesting phenomenon.

I see the impact of standards as part of our brand when people email with a concern. Such  emails often start with, “I’m writing you with a concern because Prairie Girl has always had X standards and today I received Y standards”.

Sometimes at PGB we spend more money on things such as packaging, uniforms and a super functional website than we likely need to. A brown bakery box (without a cupcake insert) placed into a plain plastic bag by a team member wearing his or her own t-shirt would do the trick of taking the cupcakes from our shelves into the  customer’s hands. And a Shopify shopping cart letting people buy 6 or 12 cupcakes of the same flavour would be much cheaper than a website that lets customers download a JPEG so that we can put their kid’s face on a cake in any size or flavour.

But too late for that – the PGB brand is associated with nice packaging that lets people give our cupcakes as gifts or pretty host presents and an online experience that rivals or beats Amazon, as examples of branding.

My experience has been that a business does need to spend money to make money – and that branding is really important.  And  I am a Prairie Girl, even though I fled the winters long ago.

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean is the president of Toronto's best cupcake and cake bakery - Prairie Girl Bakery. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock

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