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We Love Kate Spade
We’ve loved the Kate Spade brand for a long time. But, what we’re loving even more is the announcement of a new line, Kate Spade Saturday, targeting a younger demographic and at a lower price point. We’re excited about the news and looking forward to seeing what this means for the in-store environment. Kate Spade New York stores are known for the brand’s signature storytelling style and colorful brand personality, and we’re hoping “Saturday” will bring the same upbeat energy. Stay tuned; you know we’ll be watching.

The Cupcake ATM

Map data ©2012 Google, Sanborn. Inset image property of Chute Gerdeman.

I’ve been obsessed with Sprinkles Cupcakes for years. After everyone went cupcake-crazy when Sex and the City had a moment at Magnolia Bakery, a little brand called Sprinkles emerged out of Beverly Hills in 2005. It was THE cupcake brand. And that’s the difference between Sprinkles and other bakeries—it’s not just a bakery that you pass on the street with a cute logo on the door. According to the Los Angeles Times, Sprinkles is “the progenitor of the haute cupcake craze.” Creator Candace Nelson (a former investment banker) has created a national brand focused around this dessert classic that elevates everyone’s expectations.

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I had my first Sprinkles experience in 2008 when visiting my friend who had just made the transition from the Midwest to the West Coast. We stood in line for maybe 15 minutes, which was lucky considering the line quickly grew to about 45 minutes long after we had just purchased our obscene amount of goodies. Even a 45 minute line at Sprinkles isn’t horrible—lines down the block are pretty standard. I can understand why too, because these cupcakes were legit. After being disappointed by most confections that claimed to be “mocha” or “red velvet” but really just tasted like sugar bombs, these cupcakes tasted like the flavors they promised.

However, my obsession goes beyond the cupcakes. I can make cupcakes myself. What I love about Sprinkles is that Nelson built a brand focused on one key item, streamlined her approach, elevated the offering, and created what is now a hugely popular national brand of cupcakes. It also filled a void in the cupcake/bakery market—something chic and fashionable (Hello, Beverly Hills!), yet approachable and craveable. While many bakeries brand themselves as something sweet and fluffy to match the frosting on their cupcakes, Sprinkles differentiates itself by mixing a modern, graphic aesthetic with warm materials and just the right touch of “cuteness” for a look that’s sophisticated, inviting, and still completely appropriate for fluffy cupcakes. With 10 locations that vary greatly in geography, the defined approach maintains a cohesive look that you can recognize across any busy street in any city. By enforcing a daily menu that’s a mix of tried-and-true flavors and more unique offerings (chai spice and strawberry are my two personal favorites that I strongly recommend), Sprinkles keeps customers coming back to wait in that 45 minute line over and over again.

Image property of Chute Gerdeman

Nelson brought innovation to the industry this past spring with the Cupcake ATM, which might just start the next big thing in snackable retail. Granted, the “ATM” is just a fancy way of saying vending machine, it’s a brilliant extension of the Sprinkles experience so you can connect with the brand any time of day, even if your craving as at 12:30 am after the place has closed! My latest Sprinkles encounter was an ATM purchase. After dinner on Chicago’s Rush Street, my friend and I walked to Sprinkles hoping to grab dessert. We arrived at 8:58 pm. The place closes at 9 pm. There were literally 5 cupcakes left on the shelves. It did not look good. But thankfully that ATM was there to serve us and many other fans treats that night. The interface was incredibly simple and the process was quick. A simple swipe of your credit card brought you a cupcake packaged in their signature kraft-and-pink box.

Check out the video of how the ATM works featuring Nelson herself.

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So, what’s next? Spring was a busy season for Nelson and the Sprinkles team, as the brand also launched their first Sprinkles Ice Cream location next door to their home in Beverly Hills. First cake, now ice cream? Sounds like the perfect combination to me! Much like the cupcake bakery, the ice cream menu focuses on comforting classics as well as featuring some unique flavors like Cap’n Crunch and Blood Orange Sorbet. If the quality of the ice cream is the same caliber as the cupcakes, then Sprinkles Ice Cream will be the one to watch!

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