[00:00] Leaving the world of SAP to bring artisan bread to Houston
[06:19] Finding the breadmaking niche and doing the proper market research
[10:32] Transitioning from making bread at home to moving into a kitchen space
[19:02] Connecting to Curate Capital and Softeq through personal relationships
[27:37] Understanding market oversaturation and where your business might fit
Why do people call you, “The Bread Man”?
After two decades of a career in consulting and SAP, Tasos felt unmotivated and unhappy in his current position. Baking bread at home, using his mother’s recipe, felt like a fun escape and a nice thing to sell to family and friends. Soon, local chefs, restaurateurs, and grocers began to reach out to Tasos, referring to him as the bread man and hoping to purchase loaves for their customers. Taking the leap to start the business felt impossible, but Tasos believes that Bread Man Baking Co found him and showed him the need for his products.
“My parents are Greek immigrants. Out of necessity, my mom made bread for our family 2 or 3 times a week. The reason for that is Wonder Bread, for example, didn't exist in Greece. The rustic artisan bread that my parents were accustomed to in the village was expensive here.”
How did you figure out what the market needed to launch your business successfully?
Finding a niche was essential for Bread Man Baking Co, especially in a market where bakeries and bread makers already existed, seemingly in oversaturation. When taking the dive to go all in on owning his own business, Tasos and his wife did a lot of market research, reaching out to local chefs and restaurateurs. Tasos explains that fulfilling a niche came with the realization that consistency, quality, and good customer service were a necessity.
“I interviewed and collected data from local chefs. I wanted to understand: Where are the gaps? What are your must haves? What are your nice to haves? What are you lacking currently, with your current supplier? What do you want to seek out of a new supplier?”
Have you seen the standards for bread change in restaurants and in American homes?
When Tasos’ parents moved to the US from Greece, his mother had to make artisan bread at home, with only white breads like Wonder Bread in American grocery stores. Now, Tasos explains that people have higher standards for ingredients, both at home and at restaurants. With Bread Man Baking Co. appearing in restaurants and grocery stores throughout Texas, Tasos is happy to answer questions from people looking to feed their families the very best.
“In today's climate, people care about what they're feeding their families. They're reading more ingredient labels. We retail with Whole Foods, you can go to Whole Foods and find our bread. I get emails and phone calls…asking me questions about the grains that we use.”
What would you say to someone like yourself, who feels like maybe the market is oversaturated?
While Tasos had to conduct a lot of research to find Bread Man Baking Co’s niche, he explains that a niche is a necessity in today’s growing markets. To stand out, the idea behind a business doesn’t necessarily have to be original, but the approach someone takes has to fill a gap. Bettering the community and industry also has to be top of mind, as business owners and entrepreneurs should be seeking to improve and innovate on what already exists.
“Everybody wants to create something that differentiates them from their competitor, whether it's saturated or not. I think you have to go in with a mindset of analyzing it down to the minutiae to understand where you can do it, but do it differently and better than the next guy.”