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Gooey: The Future Tastes Sweet

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9 September 2020

As part of our £10 Coworking Day Pass Offer at Colony Piccadilly we had Gooey cater some of their delicious doughnuts and cookies for our Colony members. Here's a short interview with Gooey co-founder Jake Ansbro discussing social media success and the sweetest products in the city.

If there was a team of creatives more clued up on what makes great food social media then, as far as Gooey are concerned, that team didn’t wake up early enough. The crew behind Manchester’s must have food item of the year certainly know more than a few things about mouth-watering hyper content for the Instagram scrollers.

To say Gooey Co was just a hype brand would be selling them short though. Purveyors of high-quality sugary joy that makes your synapses go off like the 4th of July - would be a more apt description. Combine that with the seasoned experience of its EAT MCR founders and you’ve got a winning business plan. A plan which is getting more ambitious by the minute.

I sat down with entrepreneur and Colony Member Jake Ansbro to trace their journey and see just how sweet the future tastes.

How did Gooey get started?

It was about two years before we actually started it. We knew we wanted to do something with a doughnut product for a while. Paddy found a company in London doing a brioche filled doughnut which wasn’t being done here very much. We thought we should give this a go. A friend of ours set us up with an excellent baker who made some great doughnuts for us but we didn’t have any operational experience and it kind of never got off the ground. Then about 9 months ago me and Marwan were in Wilson’s Social working with a client and by chance they said they were looking for someone to do doughnuts in the café area of the hostel reception next door. We both looked at each other and immediately said that we thought we could do them!

They sent us away to make a business plan and we came back with one. Our baker, Lewis, happened to be moving to a new project but had a gap in between to work on something so we caught him at a great time. The next stage was product testing, so we made the test products and they went down so well that they wanted us to start in two weeks.

So the pressure was on to find an operational partner which is how we wound up working with Sax from Evelyn’s. He had actually been involved in setting up a cookie brand previously. We were selling out of Wilson’s Coffee for the first couple of months, which is where we came up with the brand and then launched Gooey via our EAT MCR page. It was the first time we had done that and it was great to learn how the process worked from start to finish in that sense.

You have a lot of experience with social media for food & beverage vendors, how did this help launch Gooey?

I think it comes down to product. We’ve obviously spent so much time looking at what sort of stuff works well. It’s a social media brand but everything is easier if you’ve got the products right. Sweet stuff, doughnuts, cookies, these products do really well on there. It’s spotting trends that aren’t in your area yet also. Doughnuts were here but no one was doing cookies the way we do. From the initial traction on EAT MCR it just seemed to hit it off straight away, and there’s no REAL reason why that is. It’s hard to know exactly why but you know when it happens. I think people were backing us as well. We’ve always been very independent and community focused and people like to see us do well for those reasons.

What makes for good gooey social media?

Something that we’ve always worked on with our clients is how to keep it fresh. You’ve got to do new things regularly. If your base products are really good then that will keep people coming back. But to create a new level of hype every week you need to launch something new. So we have a vegan special and we alternate between specials on doughnuts and cookies which gives us a constant flow on socials.

It’s also really important to interact with everyone who interacts with you. There are some brands that ignore their market, you can’t do that.Social is the perfect way to build a local customer base, even by doing simple things like sharing their posts with our products. Also in the background as well though, we always try to get back to messages with personal responses. You have to make sure people feel valued and let them know there’s a person behind the brand that they can speak to. Also just having a bit of fun and not taking it too seriously goes a long way. We have a product that resonates on social media but it is backed up by actually being excellent in real life.

What does the future hold for Gooey?

New products! We’ve got a really talented team in the kitchen so we are looking at making more bakery offerings. We want to explore trends from all around the world and develop them for our customers. We’ve also got plans for doing ice cream! That will include ice cream sandwiches and other sweet things. On top of that we are also rolling out a Deliveroo night-time delivery service and even a nationwide cookie delivery service. And finally, we also have plans to take our kiosks further afield!

When you started EAT MCR did you think you would wind up selling doughnuts?

Nope! Hahaha! We had absolutely no idea. We’ve always tried to be flexible in what we are doing and knew that we wanted to eventually make something of our own.But I would say it’s mostly come from spending so much time around people doing food & drink that absolutely love their own products. That really rubs off on you.

Gooey provided us with some doughnuts and cookies as a part of our Piccadilly Day Pass special offer. Don’t miss out on this month’s local Food & Beverage vendors in our coworking space! Book your £10 Day Pass today!

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