But to the three young entrepreneurs (each 25 years old), including Jeff Appareti, who serves as the Business Manager; Andrew Elia, Head Baker; and Geoff Jensen, it is really more of a mission.
The business was started on the principle of having a deep care for the products created and an emphasis of crafting each product by hand. There is as little mechanization used as possible to ensure that each loaf has personality while still exhibiting integrity and holding up to a high standard. Genuine Bread Company makes breads that are nutritious and facilitate an eating experience enveloping all of the senses. The goal is to bring bread back to its true purpose—the centerpiece and foundation for a well-balanced diet, which can be featured as an entrée rather than an afterthought.
The three young entrepreneurs were inspired to start the business through their mutual love of bread and good food. With the mission of bringing wholesome ingredients together, the trio discovered a type of bread they’d never tasted before and received tremendous feedback and kudos from people they knew and soon after, from people in the larger community they didn’t know.
Championed on by the enthusiastic feedback and encouraged by other local entrepreneurs, the three signed up for Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) Business Plan Intensive Course. Appareti, Elia and Jensen graduated from the six week long course with a completed business plan and the steps to start and run a business. Coming from three different backgrounds, Appareti a freelance web developer and graphic designer, Elia who graduated from Westmont College and attended graduate school for gerontology in San Francisco, and Jensen, who graduated with a studio arts degree from Westmont College, found WEV’s course extremely helpful especially in the way the accelerated program kept them focused.
“We discovered that there were questions we didn’t even think of asking,” said Elia. “WEV’s Business Plan Intensive program helped us craft a vision for what we wanted to create with our business. We also appreciate the empowerment aspect of WEV for both women and men. The training we’ve gained from WEV is enabling us to bring bread of a higher consciousness to Santa Barbara and beyond.”
Two months after graduating from the course they were ready for launch, and in January 2013, Genuine Bread Company was open for business. The distribution model is similar to that of a wine club or CSA, in that you become a member by joining a recurring subscription, then every week you get to pick up your order at a location you choose. People can also purchase one time orders as well.
What makes the bread unique they say is that the process used is more traditional – how bread was made centuries ago. They incorporate a French technique that uses a leaven as a sourdough starter that embodies a lot of flavor not found in commercial yeast. This medium takes a more delicate process to work and over last century, has been largely replaced by commercialized methods.
Genuine Bread Company describes their product technically as starting with a “wetter dough”, and a consistency that melts in the mouth. “The name took some time to come up with, but when Genuine was proposed, we all just said ‘yeah’ that’s it,” said Jensen. Genuine is at the heart of the business – doing what is true, transparent and in the holistic interest and health of the community.
“There is nothing really like it here,” said Appareti. “There are some places in San Francisco that have similar products, but this is something unique to our area.”
In just a few weeks, the breadshare has already garnered some monthly customers and are in talks with local businesses to expand their distribution. Current pick up spots are C’est Cheese and Goodland Kitchen (which are two other WEV businesses) and Lucky Llama in Carpinteria.
Women’s Economic Ventures Business Plan Intensive (BPI) is an accelerated, six-week business plan writing course, designed for business professionals who need access to capital quickly. Business Plan Intensive is perfect for new entrepreneurs and current business owners who need to implement a launch or a growth strategy and need an infusion of capital to succeed. The course includes emphasis on financial intelligence and integrated marketing techniques, and a viability study.
The next BPI course begins February 4 and there is one final orientation session in Santa Barbara and Ventura left. Orientations are designed to help one determine readiness for one of WEV’s business courses. Orientation is required to enroll in select courses such as the Business Plan Intensive program. WEV is a nationally recognized, local non-profit that provides business training, small business loans, and many other resources.
The final orientations for WEV’s spring business courses will take place:
• Monday, January 28th, 6-7pm in Santa Barbara
• Wednesday, January 30th, 6-7pm in Ventura
To register for a free orientation or for more information, please visit: www.wevonline.org/bpi-course-description.