The gourmet treats and pastries seen on baking TV shows or your Instagram feed are beautiful to look at, but difficult for an aspiring at-home baker to recreate. North Carolina native Kristen Baileys seeks to fill this skills gap.
Her Raleigh-based startup Bake Eat Love (BEL) is for bakers of all experience levels, from tweens to adults. Its core product is a subscription kit which teaches you how to bake a different gourmet dessert each month. Each box includes non-perishable pre-measured ingredients, a recipe card, online how-to videos, necessary baking tools and even email support.
“We believe that there’s an equation to be able to make a delicious gourmet treat,” said Baileys, the startup’s Co-Founder and CEO. “You don’t have to be a professional baker or pastry chef to bake like one.”
This fall Bake Eat Love was selected as one of 11 finalists for the 34th cohort of NC IDEA’s $50K SEED Grants. [On Tuesday, NC IDEA revealed the seven winners of the SEED grants at its 2022 Ecosystem Summit in Winston-Salem. Among the recipients were Triangle-area startups LabRunner, Phase Dock Inc., ROSA Technology, Social Cascade, and Spring & Mulberry. The links are to prior GrepBeat profiles; we’ll roll out a story on Phase Dock in the coming weeks.]
While working full-time at Raleigh-based software unicorn Pendo—Baileys was ultimately the Director of Growth—she launched Bake Eat Love alongside her husband Nick in 2019 with the hopes of inspiring people to ‘bake something different.’ This mission reflects a desire she had before the company existed.
During the holidays in 2018, Baileys asked her parents for a baking kit that included all the tools she needed to make gourmet treats she saw on TV. She soon discovered the kits with the items she was looking for—baking knowledge, tools, and pre-measured ingredients—didn’t exist. It got her wondering: “Maybe I could create my dream product and see if others wanted something similar.”
Turns out many people did crave something similar: the startup has shipped over 20,000 baking kits to date.
With new themes each quarter, the “BEL Box” is designed to use specialty ingredients and encourage people to bake recipes they wouldn’t normally bake. This quarter, for example, has the theme “Showstopper.” Some upcoming recipes include Ginger Cake Rolls, Chocolate Peppermint Whoopie Pies, and Tiramisu Filled Cupcakes.
Baileys said, Bake Eat Love’s recipes tend to “put a spin on a timeless classic” and are geared towards teens, tweens and adults. Those approaches differentiate the startup from other baking education companies, such as Red Velvet NYC (which focuses on traditional recipes) and Baketivity (which primarily targets kids).
“I would say our recipes are more advanced, but you don’t have to be an expert,” she said. “We take you wherever you are and we break everything down.”
Baileys said many recipes call for a specialty ingredient, but it can be expensive and you typically need only a tiny bit. With Bake Eat Love, you don’t have to worry about sourcing, measuring or wasting it.
“It makes it a fun and special baking experience that you don’t have to spin your wheels on,” she said.
Aside from its subscription boxes, BEL offers B2B services, including corporate virtual cooking classes and custom baking kit gifts. Interestingly, Baileys said that a majority of the corporate classes have been for tech companies.
Currently, the Bake East Love team has two full-time employees (including Baileys) along with two part-time contractors, including her husband and co-founder, Nick.
For 2023, Kristen said that Bake Eat Love will focus on growth within its core products—selling the subscription boxes and working with its B2B clients.