I have been away from Lovescool this past week preparing for a Valentine’s day sale of Champagne Brownies. We will be offering the Champagne Brownies for sale from February 1 – 10, to be delivered in time for Valentine’s day. More details of the sale will be posted next week, but before we get to the brownies I believe it is important to tell you more about the company they are coming from.
As most of you know, my new company name is Amai Tea & Bake House. Many of you have asked how we came up with the name “Amai.” The answer is short and sweet, literally. The word “amai” means “sweet” in Japanese and we liked the meaning, as well as the sound of the word (pronounced like “ah-my”). While the name does have a definition in Japanese, we look forward to it taking on a life of its own, beyond any particular language.
The concept of the bakery is to provide exquisitely packaged, adventurous items. We want to offer products everyone knows and loves, but with a twist. Champagne brownies are an excellent example of this since it takes a classic dessert and adds something unexpected. We also want our products to be uplifting and fun, and not heavy or overwhelming. Our products and packaging are Asian-inspired, and we aim to take a more “healthful” approach to dessert. Keeping in mind that dessert isn’t considered “healthy” by most nutritionist’s standards, we believe that natural ingredients and appropriate portions can make dessert something we can enjoy without guilt. You will always find something rich and chocolaty at our bakery, but you’ll never find a cookie the size of a plate (of course if you choose to eat 10 of our smaller cookies, that’s up to you!) Beyond baked goods we will also be selling tea, as well as baking with it. Tea tastes wonderful, can be beautifully presented and has numerous health benefits associated with it. It’s another great example of a natural, delicious product that we can’t wait to explore further.
Getting to this concept has been a long road. We’ve gone through everything from cupcakes to dim sum, and landed on something we feel passionate about. We have already learned many things in the few months we have been operating. For example, the decorative dragées included on the last round of brownies will no longer be part of our champagne brownie offering. They were beautiful to look at, but we had a few people ask us if they were ok to eat and I realized that something unnatural like that should ever be on our products. No one should ever ask if something is edible from a bakery! We have also found better ways of sealing the brownies and expediting shipping, so they will arrive fresher and faster.
Many of you have also asked about the “we” I refer to when speaking about the bakery. I am not alone in this venture and have a wonderful business partner named Kathryn. Kathryn and I worked together at Starwood and both discovered we had a love of sweets. We started talking about opening a bakery together last summer, and it became a reality when we filed the official paperwork at the end of last year. Kathryn has a great business sense and sales experience, and is incredibly fun to work with. She is from Australia and can win anyone over with her friendly personality and charming accent. Whenever she has had too many cookies (for research purposes, of course) she says “I feel like such a peeg.” Translated to US English, “peeg” means “pig.” It makes me smile every time.
The bakery will begin with a wholesale focus, concentrating on the hotel industry. We are preparing individually wrapped baked goods that are perfect for hotel turn down gifts and amenities. We will also be selling gift items directly to customers online, so you will always have a chance to see what we’re up to. Over the next year we will continue growing our wholesale presence, with a goal of opening a retail space in 2007. We have big plans and we thank you all for helping us get on our way.