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Hidden Gems: Meet Meghan Quinn of Bougie Bakes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Meghan Quinn.

Hi Meghan, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My husband, Ryan, & I founded Bougie Bakes after we struggled to find healthier baked goods on the market that satisfied our sweet tooth cravings without derailing our healthy lifestyle. Back in 2017, we were newly engaged and new to LA and quickly immersed ourselves into the healthy, active lifestyle that we’ve come to love about Los Angeles. Like many other brides-to-be, I was driven to get into the best shape I could ahead of our wedding and hired a personal trainer and nutritionist to help. Ryan & I were always into fitness and working out but were never as mindful of what we were putting into our bodies. After working with the nutritionist, we both quickly realized just how impactful a healthy diet can be to your overall health and wellness. We were working out and eating clean all day, but at night, we were falling victim to our sweet tooth cravings – for me I was always defaulting to unhealthy baked goods. It felt so counterintuitive to work so hard all day to stay healthy, just to throw it all away at night with a handful of Milano Cookies.

We scoured the market to see what other baked goods existed but were surprised to find that all of the gluten-free baked goods were full of sugar and the sugar-free baked goods tasted fake and gross. That’s when we decided we needed to start baking some better-for-you baked goods ourselves, first to satisfy our needs, and later when we dug into it from a business standpoint, we saw a big opportunity to develop a brand of better-for-you baked goods that were free from gluten, dairy & sugar. We started it as a side hustle out of our home kitchen and spent our nights and weekends growing the business for the first six months until we proved out the concept and had the confidence we needed to invest our own money into building out a commercial kitchen. It was another 1.5 years until we could quit our day jobs and focus on the business full-time. Now we have an amazing team of people who help us with the baking and fulfillment of our orders, which are baked fresh and shipped out the day after they are placed. We’ve expanded beyond selling locally here in Los Angeles and now ship nationwide and direct-to-consumers front doors.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Definitely not. It was a real grind in the early days – holding down full-time jobs while spending every spare minute we had trying to grow the business was exhausting. When the business started to grow, it was thrilling, but it brought with it a new set of challenges. Then 2020 happened. We couldn’t have predicted just how challenging it would be to get a still relatively nascent business through something like a global pandemic. The health and safety of our staff and customers was our priority, and on top of that worry, a whole slew of other challenges were ahead of us – global supply chain issues, raw material pricing increases, shipping container shortages, staffing issues, etc. Despite the many challenges we faced, we feel incredibly lucky and grateful that we were positioned well as a direct-to-consumer business offering better-for-you options during a time when people were more focused than ever before on their health and wellness. 2020 ended up being an explosive year of growth for us. Last year, we had to navigate the ever-changing iOS and privacy changes, which greatly impacted our digital marketing efforts. Being a DTC brand, most of our marketing budget is spent online, and the changes forced us to get creative and to diversify our efforts away from relying on just one or two platforms. While challenging to navigate, it has definitely helped us refine our marketing efforts even further and has ultimately helped us to improve.  We’re heading into 2022 more educated and with a more refined marketing strategy that we are confident will help us yield another year of substantial growth.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Bougie Bakes is a Los Angeles-based maker and distributor of better-for-you baked goods. Everything we bake is gluten-free, dairy-free, & sugar-free, and we have an expanded assortment of vegan offerings as well. Our assortment includes a wide variety of cookies, brownies, blondies & mini muffins, with seasonal offerings and limited edition bakes added continually. We are primarily direct-to-consumer, selling via our website and shipping nationwide. Each order is handmade and hand-packed for shipping and delivered fresh to your door. We coined them Bougie Bakes because we source only the highest quality (bougie) ingredients and bake with purpose- using ingredients intentionally that not only taste good but are good for you.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
There’s so many – it truly feels serendipitous the way our journey has unfolded and feels like every person we’ve met and every place we’ve been has led us to this chapter. I’ve been fortunate to work under some amazingly inspiring women in business who made me feel empowered to pave my own path. I grew up in a family full of entrepreneurs, so I saw firsthand the grit and sacrifice it takes to run a business. And finally, my mom and late grandmother inspired my love of all things baked goods.

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