San Francisco, CA
My parents raised me to be self-employed. My dad sold sculptures, mobiles, and spoon rings to pay his tuition to nursing school. My mom sold beautiful clothing to support our family since my sister and I were in middle school. My sister swapped office work at the Trapeze School of New York for circus lessons, and I did work trade in a glassblowing studio while selling screen-printed shirts from my locker between classes.
In 2009 I headed to San Francisco to win over the man of my dreams, Jesse. While supporting myself by making bike accessories and building floats for the Chinese New Year Parade, I started to mess around in the kitchen. Jesse was severely gluten-intolerant, and in an effort to spend some time together, I began to bake for him. About a year in, something clicked. I finally succeeded in winning Jesse’s heart, my baking was really getting good, and I decided to start Bread SRSLY, San Francisco’s first gluten-free sourdough bread company.
Bread SRSLY is San Francisco’s first gluten-free sourdough bread company. We bake over 2000 loaves of bread each week (compared to 700 at the time of our first Zip loan!) and distribute them to grocery stores throughout California, and homes from New York to Hawaii. Bread SRSLY began after years of gluten-free bread experiments, aimed at wooing my college crush. At first I took orders from friends and family and delivered everything on my bike. After a bit of media exposure, I began to bake through the night and ride my bike 100 miles a week to get all of my orders delivered.
The biggest challenge for me was not the 4 am wake up call, the post-delivery-day business class, or the 100-mile bike rides. It was making the leap from a small home-based operation to a commercial scale business with employees. Sharing the recipes, techniques and brand that I created with an outside party? Terrifying. But the moment I brought on my first helper, I knew I would never look back. Since then my amazing staff have helped Bread SRSLY grow from a cute cottage food operation to a bakery servicing over 80 grocery stores and restaurants, and supporting me and my 6 employees.
Leading this business to success has been incredibly empowering. I’m proud and excited to be putting my products on grocery shelves, to be interacting with new customers and devoted fans, and to be filling a hole in the gluten-free marketplace.
We have been growing organically at a quick yet sustainable pace throughout our existence, while we work to fill out our map of stores.
This $10,000 loan helps us maintain a healthy amount of working capital. Now that we have the staff and facility to manage larger purchases of packaging inventory, we are able to place large enough orders to obtain price breaks. These large orders are a significant up-front cost, and this loan will keep our cash flow positive throughout the process. A price break on our packaging will mean a drop in cost of goods and a higher net profit. We will use these extra funds to kickstart our new employee benefit program.