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TORONTO, ON, September 29, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Starting a business during a global pandemic might have been a big risk, but for one passionate pro baker-turned-entrepreneur, the risk was essential to help Canadians across the nation safely lean into social media trends and maintain a level of normalcy in an unprecedented time. Established in May, 2020, Canada's Baking Box is a female-owned Toronto business offering subscription services that develop and enhance Canadians' baking techniques, and the first baking subscription in Canada to offer monthly demonstrations hosted by a professional baker.
It's no secret that baking dominated many people's lockdown lives, rapidly becoming one of the most engaging social media trends of 2020. Whether improving existing talents, taking on a family-friendly activity or making a first foray into the kitchen, amateur bakers across the nation were keen to rise to the challenge – as demonstrated by 2020's whopping 200% increase in sales of flour over the previous year, with pantry staples butter and margarine, eggs and milk each being added en masse to Canadians' carts.
According to Ashley McIsaac, 37, of Courtice, Ontario, lockdown baking wasn't just about joining a social media trend – she says it actually helped her grow, despite the challenges imposed by the global pandemic. She explains;
"When we first went into lockdown, I had almost zero baking skills – unless you count spooning ready-made cookie dough onto a sheet. Everything was looking so bleak and I was looking for a creative outlet to occupy my mind and time.
I made the conscious effort to start baking from scratch and found it helped me to manage some of my anxiety. While I enjoyed posting photos of my questionable masterpieces, baking prep was not my forte. I found myself endlessly baking with no real improvement to my skill level. In addition to that, I ended up with so many batches of baked goods - I couldn't give them away!
With everything being so chaotic, it's hard to find balance; especially during the winter months, when being indoors can make you feel a bit stir-crazy - even in the times before COVID-19.
When I found out that I could take courses with a professional AND have the best ingredients sent to me once a month, it was the perfect fit! I could schedule a treat to look forward to, boost my confidence and baking skills, while enjoying learning to bake from scratch."
Canadians have been warming to subscription boxes for some time now – 2020 research from Canada Post stated that over half had either purchased or gifted a subscription box, but throughout the pandemic, options presented by new and exciting delivery services were a gamechanger for for many. Whether aspiring crafters or would-be writers, there's a good chance of finding a subscription service for just about any hobby - but few skill-based subscription services incorporate the materials and come with the significant bonus of enhancing education with video instruction from an acclaimed expert, which can be accessed in Real-Time, should participants choose! Canada's Baking Box broke the mold by becoming the first and only national subscription baking box to offer monthly sessions with a professional baker and pastry chef.
The brand's origin story is as real as its founder, pâtissière and George Brown alumna Stephanie Duffy - known to savvy Torontonians as the celebrated Baker of Bathurst. She says;
"Baking can be a great way to show you care, but as I was vulnerable to COVID-19 myself, I wanted to be sure that in sharing the love, I was keeping my community as safe as possible – leaving cookies on the doorstep wasn't cutting it, since friends would post about their gifts online, and I didn't want to leave anyone out!
I originally created baking boxes for friends and family, as a way for us to stay connected (and sane) during the first wave and the stay-at-home orders. My friends were thrilled to receive a treat by mail, but I think I got the bigger surprise: as it turned out, some of them didn't even know how to turn their ovens on!
Afterward, I got a rush of grateful, but slightly panicked messages, as many ran into common kitchen mishaps - so hosting a demonstration was a natural evolution, to let me answer everyone's questions at the same time. You'd be surprised how quickly people can go from novice to star with the right instructions, and even seasoned bakers can level up with a few top tips!"
What began as an effort to brighten up the lockdown lives of a handful of close friends soon became an entrepreneurial effort in earnest, as the gap in the market didn't reflect just a sales opportunity, but the fundamental necessity to keep Canada's amateur bakers cooking safely. Stephanie continues;
"Soon after I'd run my first friends-and-family demo, my inbox was flooded with requests – friends of friends had heard about it, and wanted their own demos, which really highlighted something lacking in the market.
As a professional, ingredient selection and food safety are paramount to me, and make all the difference – it's not just about a potential food flop, some of these issues (like food handling; contamination or improper food storage) can cause serious harm.
I like to think that my subscribers aren't just learning how to make one particular treat, but are building their overall confidence in the kitchen safely, and learning how to work with the very best ingredients, for delicious outcomes they can replicate for years to come."
For Ashley, not only have the demos made all the difference, but Baking Party, the company's response to the demand for socially-distant gatherings, have helped her to create unforgettable, one-of-a-kind memories. She says;
"Although we'd never have risked it, it was disappointing not to be able to host a traditional shower for my sister's first baby – but I was thrilled to be able to come up with a virtual solution that kept everyone on their toes, laughing and having a great time.
Eight of us grouped together to create this surprise, all with minimal baking skills, and managed to make something that resembled rattle and onesie-shaped cookies. We now have plans to use Baking Party for our semi-annual girls' night - no babysitter required!"
Canada's Baking Box and Baking Party are available nationwide, on a one-off, or on a monthly subscription basis for 3, 6 or 12 months.
About Canada's Baking Box
Canadas Baking Box is a subscription baking box that delivers delicious new recipes and a live demonstration with a professional baker monthly. Visit http://www.canadasbakingbox.ca for more information, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram @CanadasBakingBox
Baking Party is a virtual baking event hosted by, and featuring live demonstration from, Toronto's celebrated Baker of Bathurst. Whether celebrating socially-distant gatherings or guiding corporate team-building exercises, Baking Party unites group bookings for unforgettable (and delicious) events.
For more information on Canada's Baking Box or Baking Party, contact Nikki Milovanović of Sophisticated Comms [email protected]
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