ECRM Supplier Q&A: Mason Jar Cookie Company 10/14/2015
Mason Jar Cookie Company, a regular supplier attendee of ECRM events, has developed a way for anybody, from a beginner in the kitchen to an executive chef, to make delicious, wholesome goodies from scratch -- without too much work, mess or fuss.
In this ECRM exclusive interview with Mason Jar President Bruce Renick, he discusses the company's history, it's vision, and it's unique line of products.
Please provide an overview of The Mason Jar Cookie Company and its products – including its “origin story.”
The founding of Mason Jar Cookie Company was a happy accident. The founder, David Ferguson, had built a web-based platform through the IdeaLab at ClearMetrics in New York that allowed a customer to choose their own features for any product and personalize its manufacture – from bicycles to swing sets to gift baskets. In trying to demonstrate it, they “invented” a cookie company where a user could decide what ingredients went in the jar and then personalize the jar itself, giving it a name and note.
Long story short, the cookies sold, the software didn’t. Our moment came when we saw sales jump from six jars the day we launched to 3,000 jars in six weeks, and retailers were calling us to develop a retail line. We then traded our keyboards for aprons and the rest, as they say, is cookie history.
Now we can be found globally in Germany, Canada, Australia, and England and in stores domestically including Target, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Crate & Barrel, Hallmark and many many more.
What consumer need or trend does the company and its products address?
Consumers today are busy, and we know that they want to prepare gourmet meals but they don’t always have the time. Our baking mixes solve both of those problems. By using the highest quality ingredients, and pre-portioning them out, consumers can bake a full batch of fresh and delicious cookies in less than thirty minutes. The cookies are still homemade and taste great, and they are so easy to make! On top of that, our Mason Jars can be reused around the kitchen long after the cookies are gone. Oh yeah! And it’s all made and sourced in the USA using the highest quality ingredients.
Your products, in addition to serving as food products, also double as gifts (particularly corporate gifts) because of their packaging. How has this fact impacted your go-to-market strategy?
Our products cross multiple channels of distribution because of our packaging and because of our ability to private label. This allows us exposure in gift stores, grocery, department stores, and big box retailers. We are also able to work closely with our retailers to develop exclusive flavors (over 189,000 different choices), custom hangtags, and our seasonal blends make great gift ideas throughout the year.
Our private label program has the bandwidth to support the needs of any brand, and our capability enhances the value for certain customers. Our ability to customize all aspects of our product has allowed us to grow with folks like Hallmark, Raley’s, Sunmaid and Urban Outfitters.
Your products have generated a lot of buzz online via food bloggers as well as customers. Why do you think this has happened, and what impact has this buzz had on your business?
The novelty has become a lifestyle choice for folks. The Mason Jar packaging and visual excitement it creates is something that people don’t see very often in the marketplace. Our media attention has garnered us thousands of new doors and it continues to grow everyday.
How do you source the ingredients for each Mason Jar product?
Our products are all completely sourced and made in the USA. The ingredients we use are best of class and we constantly review the ingredients and consult with new vendors to supply our raw materials.
We have several co-packers across the US – we are experts in food industry management including sourcing, supply chain management, manufacturing, quality assurance, logistics, and shipping.
These great partners and their food certifications make it possible for us to focus on our brand and flavor profiles. Our co-packers are in the northeast, southeast, mid-west and west to service the favored distribution centers and international departure points of our products. We ask our facilities to give preference in hiring US military veterans, and one facility uses only disabled US veterans.
What challenges do you face in the market, and how do you address these challenges?
We are a baking mix company but we are a very different baking mix company. In our experience we have found that sometimes conversations are needed to separate our Jars from the everyday lower priced brands that we see on the shelf. Our products are hand packed instead machine packed, our ingredients are clean, singular and you can pronounce all of them.
What causes does Mason Jar support?
Mason Jar Cookie Company blends are hand-layered, labeled, packaged and shipped by disabled US Military Veterans or other capable and dedicated disabled workers at a state-of-the-art licensed dry packing and baking facility.
From the start, our mission demanded a co-packing facility that would make giving back to our disabled Vets part of its recipe. Our sales help provide meaningful work opportunities and full health benefits for those US Military Veterans who are disabled as a result of serving our country. We are extremely proud to support that cause.
We also work closely with other charitable foundations supplying free product to support individual causes. For example, we recently partnered with the Mario Batali Foundation to provide custom private label Jars for the organization’s Honors Dinner.
What value has Mason Jar received from participating in ECRM events?:
Participating in events through ECRM is incredibly economical because we can see forty to fifty retail accounts in a two or three day period rather than having to travel to see those accounts on a singular basis. The ROI is very high and has given us a platform to create excitement among retailers with our products.
SEE MASON JAR COOKIE COMPANY NEXT YEAR AT ECRM'S SNACK & DRY GROCERY EVENT. CLICK BELOW TO REGISTER:
Berries N Chocolate mix in a Mason Jar with mixed berries and white chocolate chips.
Our most popular flavors also come in our patented stand-up SoftJar pouch, a lightweight, breakage free alternative to glass.
Chocolate Cranberry Granola is delicious on it’s own, or mix in your favorite add-ins at home!
Chocolate Chip Pancakes come in our patented SoftJar Pouch.
Jars are tightly hand packed with layers of flour, sugar, brown sugar, and chocolate.
Private label charitable donation to the Mario Batali Foundation Honors Dinner 2015.