As the owner of an agency that specializes in food marketing, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to chat with some of the movers and shakers in the food community. I love talking to business owners, founders, growers, sales managers, brand managers, and everyone in between. Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing their stories in hopes that it will foster connections — because if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that good food is made (and marketed) by good people.
Last month, I had the great privilege of sitting down with Kathie Armstrong, owner and founder of Kathie’s Bakery. Kathie welcomed me into her home and proceeded to hand me the best scone I’ve ever eaten, followed by the best shortbread cookie I’ve ever eaten. After spending a few hours with her, I realized that interaction perfectly summarizes who Kathie is: a world-class baker and businesswoman who loves to make and share good food.
The moment you meet Kathie, you can sense her enthusiasm for food. She’s passionate about feeding the poor, donating to Sharing and Caring Hands and apples from her small orchard to The Food Group. She’s passionate about repurposing and letting nothing go to waste. She’s passionate about teaching each Kowalski’s bakery the proper way to bake her products. Yet for all this passion, she is not hurried or rushed. She’s quick to laugh and share her story.
Kathie’s Bakery retail products. Image via https://kathiesbakery.com/
Like many passion-driven people, Kathie did not start her business with the intent of becoming a household name (though that’s doubtless where she’ll end up). Instead, her story begins at home, with her Finnish mother.
Kathie was raised on good old-fashioned, made-from-scratch food, with natural, delicious ingredients (and a little TLC). “Handmade” was a family mantra, and by the time Kathie was grown, she had been indoctrinated. She found herself doing a lot of hosting — people simply wanted to eat her food! When a local bakery asked about carrying her french bread, the business was born.
In 2004, Kathie brought her business to Minneapolis, selling baked goods out of her Wayzata bakery and a handful of other storefronts. The business eventually evolved into its current model: selling premium, wholesome baking mixes for foodservice and retail. Kathie’s Bakery products are incredibly versatile. Each mix can be used in a variety of ways; cookies can become the base for bars and biscuits can be dumpling dough.
Since 2015, Kathie has partnered with Kowalski’s, whose bakeries hand make her french bread, cracked wheat bread, cardamom bread, and baking powder biscuits and private label her other mixes. Kathie spent hours at each location working side-by-side with the Kowalski’s team, teaching them how to make her products by hand. “My mixes made my way”, she says with a smile.
Today, Kathie’s Bakery is poised for great things. Customers are hungry (pun intended) for delicious food made with real ingredients, and she has some exciting new opportunities on the horizon that could put her baked goods in your hands (and belly) very soon. In the meantime, you can try Kathie’s Bakery mixes by ordering from her website or visiting a Twin Cities Kowalski’s.
Keep an eye out for this #makerbaker and, if you get the chance, do yourself a favor and try one of her incredible mixes — you won’t be disappointed!
About the Author: Agency Director Allison Wasz is a holistic thinker and digital marketing expert through and through. She lives and breathes digital — strategy, social media, paid search, user experience, and content generation are part of her day-to-day. Allison’s drive to understand the ‘why’ behind every action makes her well-suited to helping businesses of all sizes and across all industries develop and implement their digital marketing strategies. She believes in an educational approach to digital strategy, empowering clients to grasp how digital works in tandem with traditional marketing. Allison is a coffee drinker, part-time yogi, and red wine aficionado who spends her free time eating guacamole and patiently waiting for the next George R.R. Martin book.