For a mother-daughter team who own a gourmet rice crispies brand out of San Diego’s North County, business has been extra sweet during the coronavirus pandemic. This is all thanks to the power of shipping, thoughtful gestures and kind words.
Laura Potter, of San Marcos, and her daughter, Natalie Potter, of Carlsbad, co-own Bliss and Baker, a small business founded in 2015 that specializes in gourmet versions of a childhood staple: the crispie treat.
The Potters once sold their treats at pop-up markets or wholesale, getting them into little shops attached to local restaurants, and even at cafés at Nordstrom retail stores. When COVID hit, some of those partnerships were no longer an option.
Natalie said the transition into the shipping space really ramped up about a year-and-a-half ago and now, the business has transitioned to 100% direct-to-consumer, focusing on solely shipping the treats.
It was serendipitous timing to change things up.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2020, Natalie and Laura said Bliss and Baker found themselves quite busy – especially in the gifting space. Some people needed (and still need) a pandemic pick-me-up.
“People are wanting to find new ways to connect with people,” Natalie told NBC 7. “They can kind of use us as a channel to connect with people they love.”
Bliss and Baker has shifted to selling gift boxes of its rice crispies, in all kinds of flavors (from Salty Caramel to Fruity Cereal). Customers can mix-and-match, if they wish, which Laura said is kind of like picking out your favorites at a doughnut shop.
With those gift boxes, customers can send a note.
And the Potter duo are the ones printing out those notes, neatly packing and shipping them along with the treats.
For them, seeing the notes has been uplifting during a difficult year.
Sometimes, it’s a love note. Sometimes, it’s a birthday greeting. Sometimes, it’s a note of gratitude to a friend or co-worker.
“That’s our favorite part,” said Laura. “To see people come through the website and write notes; you realize there’s so much goodness out there. It’s just sweet.”
“We’re grateful that we’ve been able to see that side of COVID: the loving, the gratitude, to goodness,” Natalie added.
The pair said they’re happy to be a small part of how people are staying connected.
“It’s not just about how many crispies we’re selling,” Natalie said. “This is emotional for people. For us to be a part of that – to translate that from one friend to the next, or from a mom to a daughter – it’s just so special.”
During a busy week, the Potter said they fulfill hundreds of orders.
Between packing and shipping, the mom and daughter still find time to collaborate on recipes and “limited edition” crispies, working out of a commercial kitchen space in San Marcos.
The Potters – whose journey we followed when they first launched their business – said they have each found their place in the family business based on their personalities, who does what best.
And they agree that they still just “really like each other,” so working together is, well, the real treat.
“We’re a lot alike,” Laura said, glancing at her daughter.
“Yes!” Natalie agreed. “We really like each other – a lot.”
The Potters said they plan to keep Bliss and Baker in shipping-only mode. They believe that’s their path and place in the market. They also source their labels, printing materials and boxes out of other small businesses in San Marcos, trying to keep things local in that way.
Laura and Natalie said although the brand was launched with the Salted Caramel Crispie, the Sugar Cookie Crispie is now their best-seller. They think it’s because it’s a combo of two nostalgic treats in one. Plus, the colorful sprinkles give anyone a reason to celebrate.
The duo are thinking about one day expanding their products to try creating another type of treat, but always in the world of sweets.