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Meet Kimi Bahret of The Sconer in Arlington

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kimi Bahret.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kimi. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’ve always been a traveler. I’ve enjoyed seeing many parts of the world and while on one of my trips, I experienced afternoon scone and tea hour. Surprisingly it wasn’t in the UK, but rather a resort on a Caribbean island that catered to their mostly British guests. I absolutely loved it and wanted to bring the experience and at the very least a good scone, back to the US.

I’m a marketer by trade so I asked a lot of people questions about scones, like if they liked them, what they liked about them, why don’t they eat them more often, etc. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but through that discovery process, I started developing the idea for my business. During a visit back home to Houston, I baked scones for my little sister. She ate all of them… in one sitting! I kiddingly called her the Sconer and the name stuck.

Starting the business remained a dream until about 3 years ago. I applied and got accepted into an accelerator program called The Circular Board (now Alice) that was virtually run for female small business owners. I met brave and amazing women that helped give me the strength to take the next baby steps to start up on my own.

One of the first steps I took to start The Sconer was to quit my job as a Marketing Director. I actually quit traveling on a 3-month solo car-camping trip to Canada. My plan upon my return to Dallas was to join the Peace Corps. I thought it was a win/win solution for an aspiring entrepreneur and the country I’d be serving. But while I was on my solo adventure the desire to start up The Sconer, immediately, grew. So that’s what I did when I got back to Dallas!

Has it been a smooth road?
I knew it’d be tough, but it’s tougher. For someone that grew up surrounded by mostly corporate warrior types of people, entrepreneurship was completely foreign to me. One of my biggest hurdles in the beginning, and still now, is the itch to go back to something stable and predictable.

Owning a small business yields a completely different day, each day. Especially being a one-woman show, baking, building the website, working on new recipes, filing my quarterly taxes, you name it, it’s a juggling act. Cliché as it sounds, my struggle right now is funding. My business is 100% self-funded and I’m making some big decisions regarding resources to take the business to the next level, namely building an online store. I’d say one of the biggest struggles that is constantly overhead is the question of where to spend my time.

Given that resources are so limited, it’s very important that my vision is clear and my time isn’t spent spinning my wheels on something that doesn’t work for the business. My vision hasn’t been the same from the beginning, and I’ve changed strategies A LOT. It’s about figuring out what works and it’s definitely still something The Sconer is trying to figure out.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Sconer story. Tell us more about the business.
The Sconer specializes in petite artisan scones. I launched The Sconer at a small farmers market in Oak Cliff (called Tyler Street Market) through Good Local Markets (GLM). Tyler Street Market is no longer open but GLM still operates great farmers markets at White Rock Market and Paul Quinn Market.

The sweet scones, like Blueberry, Chocolate, and Lemon were the first scones introduced to customers at the farmers market. They’re all topped with a Signature Swirl of vanilla cream cheese icing and I developed some wonderful, loyal customers there. One thing customers kept asking for were savory scones. So that was the next line introduced at the farmers market, Sausage and Dill scones.

Remember all those questions I asked people about scones? Well, I took the responses and developed my scones around what people wanted. The Sconer’s scones are different from most scones because they’re all about two inches in size, making them perfect for entertaining, breakfasts for kids and adults. Many people say that scones are often too dry, too big, and not sweet enough. That’s why The Sconer’s scones include ingredients to help keep them from getting dry, like the vanilla cream cheese topping and gruyere cheese, for the savory scones.

The business is at the beginning of a new endeavor right now and is starting to sell online, nationwide. With the move from Tyler Street Market to Dallas Farmers Market (Downtown Dallas), we lost many of our initial customers. Selling scones online helps us connect back with those initial customers, making it the most convenient for them. Many of our customers are asking for scones to be shipped to their homes and with the new frozen line, we can do just that!

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Scones are a niché baked good. So our challenge is to find scone lovers. By selling our scones online it opens up the whole nation for us to locate them and share this wonderful scone with them! In the next 5 to 10 years I hope to see the online store further developed and to develop some loyal customers nationwide, similar to what I’ve seen at the farmers market.

Once customers see what a great product we have, I’d like to expand the product line with some other ideas I have (not sharing any company secrets!). Opening a scone and tea shop was something I initially wanted for The Sconer, but that changed when I started working part-time at a coffee house and saw the level of investment that I would need to start it. Part of the reason I love owning and building a business is the problem-solving.

I like planting the seed and watching it grow, metaphorically speaking. I’d much rather make small baby steps and drive for organic growth than seek funding and grow big overnight. Right now the market is pretty saturated in the coffee house industry so I don’t believe the timing is right anyway; that could change in 5 or 10 years though. I have some ideas to grow the brand when it is better established, but until then I’m just enjoying the ride.

Pricing:

  • -Online Ordering: $25.00/dozen, plus $10 shipping
  • -$2/scone for local orders, plus $10 delivery fee (1 dozen minimum)

Contact Info:

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