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Design partner creates business saving website

In the Mix, a bakery that started out selling at a local Auckland market, had one of the most fortuitous experiences with their website launching just days before the New Zealand lockdown of 2020. 

Rocketspark Design Partner Tonia Reid, founder of Greenhouse Creative was a finalist in five different categories at Launch 2021, she ended up taking out Partner of the Year. One of the categories she was up for was Best Client Impact for the work she’d done with In the Mix.

As a baking business who previously existed solely at the Clevedon Farmers Market, having a website during lockdown and being deemed an essential business with the addition of their ready-made meals, meant they were able to continue to operate through the Level 4 lockdown by selling online and offering contactless delivery options. 

Debbie Harlow, the caker behind In The Mix and the co-owner, said her business would have died if it weren’t for Tonia’s work.

In the Mix first started at the farmers market, Debbie’s grandfather was a baker and his father before him was a master baker from England. Now, Debbie and her daughter, Jessica, are also bakers.

“It’s always been a family business. Two of my aunties used to sell Christmas tarts at the same market and we decided we wanted to do that, too. My daughter was in hospitality and she wanted to have a business to be able to work when she wanted to work so that she could have a family. So we started doing tarts and Christmas cakes and different bits and pieces like that and it progressed into cakes and pies.”

Debbie said they were asked if they could make pies and because that was one thing her grandfather was very big on she decided to go for it. She said her grandfather had helped launch some of the bigger pie companies in New Zealand back in the 70s. 

“When we started to make pies they just took off. Our business started to sky rocket, we couldn’t make enough pies, we would bake all Friday and Saturday. We wouldn’t get any sleep and then we’d just go straight to the market, so we were working about 36 hours just to do a 5 hour Sunday morning shift at Clevedon Markets and sell out and make some money,” she said.

The mother daughter duo eventually decided to start selling online because Jessica wanted to sell more cakes. 

Jessica’s partner had a mutual friend with Tonia, so they’d heard about her through the grapevine.

“We spoke to Tonia and we got her in to help get things moving with getting online. She started with writing a small story about us and then she just kept asking questions and finding out bits and pieces, what we wanted to do, where we came from, how we got here and all that sort of thing.

“The whole thing was really inspired by Tonia because I just had no idea on how to do anything with a website.”

Debbie said they had tried to build a website on Shopify, but had trouble figuring it out. 

“Tonia was able to just do it, she basically came up with everything, we didn’t really have a concept, she just kept asking questions and she went away and came back and it was just perfect.”

Debbie said Tonia had stepped back now that the site was up and running, but she was still there if she needed her. 

“In the Mix was only ever at Clevedon Farmers Market, that was our outlet, it's where people knew us from, but when Covid came the market side died. We still had our wholesale side, but about two thirds of the business disappeared. 

“But, in a matter of a couple of weeks, Tonia had us up and running. She changed the website for us, as it was all pies and cakes, she added ready meals and deliveries and really she just went over and above to help us. She was absolutely brilliant, not only did she keep us going, but she grew us. Without that website we were dead in the water. 

“Really it came down to Tonia, she’s really easy to talk to, has ideas and she made it happen. I can’t promote her enough, she is incredible,” Debbie said.

In the Mix is also now just starting to deliver across the country.

Tonia said In the Mix saw an average cart size of $100 during the lockdown, which is 4-5 times the amount of an average sale at market. 

“Lockdown aside, the website has meant they can reach a much larger audience than their previous market foot traffic only model, and they have been able to expand their offering to wholesale supply of cafes and eateries through to fresh and frozen ready meals that can be delivered around the country,” Tonia said.

Combined with the timing of lockdown, the website has given them the ability to expand their customer base much further than the local farmers market and expand their offering from just market-friendly baked goods.

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