FullBloom Baking Company
FullBloom Baking Company was started in 1989 by Karen Trilevsky to provide wholesome, all-natural and delicious baked goods to coffee shops in and around San Francisco, California. Over the last 20-plus years, FullBloom has grown to $35 million in revenues and over 200 employees. The case chronicles the benefits and challenges associated with FullBloom’s relationship with the coffee giant, Starbucks, over the years, starting with Trilevsky’s tenacious tactics to win the account as it launched its first store in the Bay Area. In 2007, FullBloom opened up a new factory in Fremont, California with four times the capacity of its previous facility, with the goal of diversifying and growing its customer base. The new factory marked a significant inflection point in the company’s history, forcing Trilevsky to confront numerous challenges similar to those faced by startup companies, including hiring the right management team, defining the right strategy for the company going forward, and operating under cash-constrained circumstances.
The learning objectives of the case are to enable students to evaluate the challenges of growing a small, bootstrapped company from the ground up. Such challenges included scaling quickly but not too quickly, managing a dominant customer, diversifying into other sales channels, hiring an experienced management team, moving facilities, and building culture while trying to grow a low-margin business.