The Protein Bakery
proteinbakery.com • New York, NYC • Opened in 1999
Founded by Stephen Charles Lincoln
Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Back in the late 90s, after losing 82 pounds I became a fitness instructor who is teaching about 20 classes a week. Fitness was and is still a big part of my life, yet I have a big sweet tooth. There was nothing on the market that was in higher in protein, made with real ingredients that focused on balanced eating and real food nutrition. So I created my own! I did and still do focus only on flavors that are a healthy balance between smart nutrition and sweet decadence. All our recipes are high-protein, all-natural, wheat flour-free, gluten-free, preservative-free and trans fat-free. I want each item to be the best fresh-baked bite of your snack life! Our staff researches the highest quality ingredients. We stay current on the newest innovations in baking and food prep as well. And since we opened in 1999, every cookie, brownie, blondie and mini is crafted by hand. And now we have added vegan, low- sugar keto friendly and cake options.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Baking out of my own kitchen! I took my "samples" to the various fitness classes I was teaching. All that positive feedback led to exciting business connections such as being stocked at Henri Bendel's, a feature in Elle Magazine, and write-ups in local papers. Then orders from around the country started appearing in my email! We generate a lot of new business from people who hear about our website from our loyal customers or discover us through our social media outlets or from food & fitness instagram and bloggers who review us. We've also benefited from a lot of great promos— appearing on the O-List, NBC's Sports Final, Cooking Channel, Dr. Oz and key magazines like Men's Fitness, Elle Magazine and Clean Eating.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
In conjunction with the Shopify platform, we utilize several apps to serve our customization needs. They include Lockdown, that provides a special access to only our wholesale customers; a bulk coupon engine to compliment our partnerships with third party social coupon services; a customer currency converter to allow international customers to browse in their home currency; ShippingEasy, to streamline international shipments and the Facebook App, to integrate our checkout process within Facebook and instagram. We process and fill all our orders—be they online, via email or over the phone at our snack HQ— that's our bakery flagship store where customers can shop as well! In Chelsea at 144 West 19th Street, in the heart of New York City!
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Run your business the way you run your life—with passion! Stay inspired and always look to innovate. I know I feel better when I am contributing something that is uniquely mine. I truly treasure this snack niche I created. But I'm always working on how to "spread the health" into more markets, here and abroad. How to best satisfy the snack savvy. 2. Details matter. Protect your brand. Trademark what defines your unique vision. And stay focused on the big picture. 3. Don't discount your intuition.