Think Gift Baskets, But Cool!

The Unexpected Thank You

Posted by Lendy Hensley on

Yesterday, we stopped by our UPS processing center to drop off a Thank You So Very Much basket from Bite Society. While UPS is HUGE, and we are small, at the busiest time of the year they treated us as if we were their largest customer. Every driver, every person in their North Station answered our questions and requests with helpfulness. They crushed it.

When Katy walked into UPS with our lion logo shipping box filled with a gift basket the woman at the desk was a little perplexed.

“You don’t want to send this anywhere?”

Katy, “Nope. It’s for you.”

“So, we aren’t shipping it?”

Katy, “Nope. It is for you and your office."

In that moment, we experienced the thrill of delivering an unexpected thank you. We are about 98% certain that this had not happened before. We may not have made her day, but we definitely made her day better, and it feels good to reward the people who have worked so hard on your behalf.

President George HW Bush was a legendary thanker. If invited for dinner, he sent a handwritten follow up of thanks for being a guest. Famously, he wrote to Frito Lay, his “sincere thanks for all those pork rinds.” He understood the power of an unexpected thank you.

At Bite Society, we have been thinking a lot about thank yous lately. We talk daily about our own gratitude to all of you who ordered at the holiday season. You made a difference. We love what we do. We eat all of our products, we send our baskets to friends, family, and UPS. We love it, but the whole business thing means that we kind of need you to love it…and you did.

You went with the little guys, who in this case are gals, and your efforts were felt. We sent out a shocking number of baskets every day in December, and even into January. So, if we don’t get to you via a thank you note, or call, or a message in the sky, know that you made a difference. 

To those who have ordered from us, posted about us, passed us along to a friend, or just thought, “Hey, that’s cool” we say thank you.

-Lendy

 

 

 

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BITE SOCIETY GREETING CARDS

Posted by Jessica Baker on

Choose from over 25 Bite Society greeting cards!

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Traditional American Cookies meet Traditional American Tattoos

Posted by Lendy Hensley on

Like many nine-year-old American bakers, my first baking success was The Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. (A little fun thing about me, the yield on my Tollhouse cookies were always mysteriously about half of what the recipe makes, never figured out why.) When we started Bite Society, we wanted cookies to be one of our biggest featured items. We had been making cookies for over 20 years and who doesn’t love a cookie? 

 

First off, cookie research is fun. You do it by discussing, baking and devouring cookies…lots and lots of cookies. We dove into recipe creation with the goal of making cookies that are tasty straight out of the package and that didn’t include preservatives. For our Before Dinner and After Dinner Cookie Collections, we combined elements of Le Sable (a French Shortbread) with flavors from all over America: Pecan, Chocolate, Sesame, Citrus, Chipotle, Ginger…and our killer version of a classic Nilla Wafer.

Katy, Shana and I sat in our backyard brainstorming unique cookie ideas and deciding what to call our cookie collections. Brainstorming got us this list:

The Sweet Collection

-After Dinner

-A grown up cookie

-Cookies for adults & kids

 -Cookies for milk

The Savory Collection

-Before Dinner

-A very grown up cookie

-Cookies for adults

-Cookies not for milk

                                           

We played with “Before 5 Cookies” and “After 5 Cookies”, but if you’ve ever dined with a Spaniard you know that distinction is meaningless.

 

Our tiny test batches of cookies were delicious but we knew our expansive cookie dreams meant we needed to make more than 20 cookies at a time (or ten if I am your baker). That’s when we found Seattle’s cookie cowboy, a man with one name and one purpose: Chiro, the cookie expert.

Chiro recommended a cookie depositor to quicken the process. This large piece of equipment automatically portions out our dough for each cookie and positions the dough balls in straight lines on sheet trays. From there, the cookie sheets go straight into the oven for baking.

It wasn’t easy to wrangle the cookie depositor but Chiro was definitely onto something and he enjoyed supervising our cookie machine’s maiden voyage. With all of the high fives and pride of chefs who have been wrestling a machine for over six hours, Chiro and Bob presented us with our first cookie: An Open Sesame cookie, roughly as large as my head.

 

I wanted to share in their triumph, but confidentially, I faked it. I faked my enthusiasm for the enormous cookie. I said, “This tastes great!” After some congratulatory cookie bites, I gently called out the elephant in the room. “What do you think of the size?” (This cookie might not fit through some doors.) It was a bit of a buzzkill, but Chiro assured me that getting the dough through the machine was step one. Check. Got it. I may not have slept that night.

 

In the end, why would I ever doubt a cookie cowboy? Bob and Chiro dialed in the size, of cookies. Shortly after, we quickly learned that a standard toolbox is actually a required part of the machine, and we were off and running. Commercial cookie making is a lot like cookie recipe creating. You test your batch by snacking on one and declaring it delicious and then it’s entirely focused on the “how”. How do you get people to fall in love with your cookies as opposed to someone else’s? At Bite Society, we use reusable packaging for our American Sables in American flash tattoo artwork. In 2021, that’s cookies for the cool kids.

 

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You....Complete...Me

Posted by Lendy Hensley on

Catering by basket is a little different than catering by tray. I have many memories of slightly tipsy, very tired, sometimes physically soggy (hey, PNW) mothers of the bride thanking me profusely at the end of a long rainy day of wedding and reception. “The salmon was perfect.” “Everyone loved the duck!” and always my favorite: “This was so much better than my niece’s wedding.” When you handed people food or drink, the feedback was universally good and always immediate.

With gift baskets, it takes a little time. It is impossible to build a gift basket and not wonder about the recipient. What will they like most? What will they do with the basket or the tins? Which bites will they share and what will they keep for themselves? Sometimes, I miss knowing their answer.

(Enter a man named Dan)

Dan is a writer and left us a lovely email and review that’s worth sharing:

Incredibly Thoughtful and Delicious Gift Basket

“A very generous and thoughtful client sent me this gift basket to celebrate us working together and it's, to date, one of the best, kindest, and most surprising gifts I've ever received. More importantly (for the sake of this review), it was also the most delicious gift I've ever received. There's not a single item in this gift basket that I found unpalatable. In fact, the item I liked "least" -- the Peach Buds, given I'm not a big fan of peach -- was more delicious than even some of my favorite and typical snacks. As a huge coffee drinker who measures my intake in pots instead of cups, the Ethiopian coffee was rich and smooth. The cookies were buttery and sweet and the nuts were so good that I, admittedly, finished them in a single sitting. There is not a single thing I could complain about after having received this basket, and I'm enormously grateful both to my client and to Bite Society for such a great gift basket. I think I've found the perfect gift for those in my life who are typically hard to shop for, to boot!”

 

fabric thank you so much gift basket

That thoughtful client Dan mentioned was Fabric Inc on our Thank You So Much basket. They typically send our baskets along with their branded mug, showing appreciation for all, nationally and internationally. To Dan, we say thank you for taking the time to make our day. I still miss a slightly tipsy mother of the bride but I invite all of the (tipsy or not tipsy) recipients, to drop us a line and let us know what you loved best.

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Our Three Woman Owned Business

Posted by Lendy Hensley on

October is "Celebrate Women Owned Businesses" Month.

 

At Bite Society, we are crushing this. We are a three woman owned business. Jessica* asked me to write a bit about what it is like to be a woman business owner. That made me laugh. Katy and Shana, like me, have worked almost exclusively for women owned businesses in our years as grown-ups, so we almost don’t know any other way.

We have occasionally bumped into the real world and quickly scampered back to the one we made.  A couple of years ago, the three of us were hired as consultants for a major tech campus food service program. We took a rideshare to a fancy downtown architect’s office and sat around a big table filled with various project stakeholders (we learned a lot about jargon). The table was impressively large. The view was distracting, and the snacks and complementary beverages were flowing. Back in our shop, the conference room is called the “hidey hole”, everyone has to stand if someone needs to get around the table, and anyone over 5’8” has to duck to enter. We were in a new world.

We brought some good ideas. Bakery adjacent to the loading dock in an alley, on-site craft brewery, something called the Fruit Butcher (that one is Katy’s, don’t use it). We also for the first time ever, had the experience of having some of our dismissed ideas relaunched out of the mouth of a male stakeholder to great interest. Stories like this were all over the news, and yet, the experience was news to us. We also met a super smart engineer who truly judged everyone by his estimation of their brain power (nerd alert, he loved Katy).

We continued to work on the project until our contracts were up. Unlike the two women architects working on the project, we had little to lose at the meeting. No promotions were on the line, we were not up for more projects, we were playing out of bounds, and trying something new. I cannot imagine engaging in a steady stream of those meetings, and it appeared to be second nature for them. In the end, we had the privilege of being back in the Hidey Hole, feeling heard and moving forward on ideas from every part of the room.

I asked Shana what she thought about owning a business, and she delivered in Shana-fashion what I think we all want and wish for:

“As a mother of two young girls, it has become more important than ever before to demonstrate that women can become whatever the eff’ they want to in life. I look forward to the day that being a "woman owned" business isn’t really that big of a deal. Don’t get me wrong….I think it’s fantastic that we are highlighting an entire month to Women in Business, but I’d rather discuss accomplishments as a result of hard work, perseverance, and grit; not conversations of one’s gender.

Change my response if I sound like an asshole.”

Nope. Definitely didn’t change her response. Here at Bite Society, we have grit. We are determined. We clear the entrance to the Hidey Hole with ease (except when Shana wears heels.)

*A word about Jessica. J-Bakes. JB. (Full disclosure, she is married now with a different name, but I am still hanging on.) Jessica handles social media and email marketing in addition to some account management. She is also a fancy culinarian, a former caterer, and disarmingly hilarious. We have photos of two things at Bite Society: Food and Jessica. Sometimes, they are together.

 

 

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