Lazy Bake’s Katie Duffin is anything but lazy. She’s known since she was a little girl that she wanted to be a pastry chef. Favourite childhood times spent baking with her Aunt Susan planted the seed. Working one summer in Calgary’s famous Decadent Brulee (then Decadent Desserts) helped fertilize it. But, the idea went into hibernation before germinating further.
After high school, Katie went to University of Lethbridge and majored in Business and Marketing. She spent a semester in Malaysia and then worked for six years in London, England before moving back to Canada in the fall of 2019. You see, anything but lazy!
It took a pandemic to bring Katie and her biz skills back to Calgary. And, the pandemic also helped her love of baking finally blossom into a business. “When I came home, I naturally started baking everyday. I asked myself, ‘How can I get more people into this? How can I help them overcome the thought that it’s complicated?’”
Home meal kits have been a trend for a while now. So Katie began to research home baking kits. What she found led to frustration. There were too many steps, added ingredients and too much clean up. “They were hardly helpful,” she said in our phone interview. This was just the consumer problem Katie wanted to use her business skills to solve.
“I wanted to develop kits that would have the fewest steps and added ingredients. I wanted minimal clean up plus I wanted them easy enough that kids could use them on their own. After all, my seven nieces and nephews are my number one taste testers. I had to please them!”
Katie had found her “why?” Give people the satisfaction of baking something but make it as easy as possible.
Katie launched Lazy Bake in October of 2020. Cookies and brownies were obvious recipes to include but the idea of beer bread had inspiration that came from close to home.
Katie’s father Tim Duffin has a long history in food and beverage production. From working with Longview Beef Jerky to Big Rock Brewing, he went on to become one of the founders of Village Brewery in Calgary. Katie saw a recipe for beer bread and started experimenting with flavours and types of beer from Village.
Now she has a full fledge collaboration with the company. There’s a Dillapeño Wit (her favourite), Everything Blonde (featuring Silk Road Spice Merchant’s Inglewood Everything Blend) and Cinnamon Raisin. The kits call for enough beer for the bread and a bit extra for the baker. Katie suggests using a Village tall boy can and suggests a flavour for each bread.
To Market, To Market
Anyone who grows a garden or a business can tell you that it’s one thing to germinate a seed and get it to blossom, it’s another thing to watch your garden or business grow to the point where you get to harvest the fruits of your labours. Katie’s strategy is flat out sell, sell, sell.
You’ll find her at markets from Millarville to Crossfield. And now, about fifteen stores across Alberta stock her products as well. She also invests in photography and uses social media to reach lazy bakers with giveaways, collaborations and shout outs.
“I love it when I’m at markets and I ask people “have you heard of Lazy Bake? and they say, yes I follow you on social media. I also love hearing from friends with kids that their kids are having fun making goodies with the kits. Getting the products in front of people is the key.”
Levels of Lazy
Katie is still working part-time as a server in a restaurant while she tends her growing business. But, she has dreams for the yield her business can bring.
“I’d love to have a full-time kiosk at a farmers’ market like Crossroads or the Calgary Farmers’ Market. I’d like to be able to hire people and have a permanent kitchen space. It’d be great to offer an annual subscription service and to vary the product. Some people may like to try something ‘less lazy’ and some might want something ‘extra lazy’.’ I’ll be working on those ideas.”
Katie seems to be in touch with her customers and their needs. Just in time for summer, she’s launched a Camping Cookie Kit. These chocolate chunk filled morsels can be made in a skillet over an open fire. She was hard at work trying to get Campers’ Village to pick it up and sell it when we talked. She’s got chutzpah.
Her company may be called Lazy Bake but the woman behind it is industrious, energetic, imaginative and diligent. I look forward to all the levels of lazy she innovates for home cooks. She will surely help many people savour it all.
Note: This is NOT a sponsored post. Photos were provided by Lazy Bake.