What you need to know:
- GEMMCRAFT is my business and passion. I make small batch, handcrafted pastries and manage an established brand across social media and through supplying to other local businesses.
- I built it from the ground up during my last semester of university in 2016, making it my full time job and generating profit within one year.
During one of my last semesters at UOW, I focused my research in the Digital Communication Practice: Final Project on engaging in an entrepreneurial exercise where I could use underutilised skills I had from my hospitality industry experience to combine with the Marketing Communications and Digital Media skills I had acquired throughout my degree.
Through copious research on current trends within the social media environment, entrepreneurial marketing strategy, and local events and catering industry knowledge, I formulated a marketing scaffold for an online pastry business which would operate in the Wollongong area. The final business name was GEMMCRAFT: a synthesis of my name and the artisanal nature of the small batch/craft products I would create.
I immediately registered GEMMCRAFT usernames across multiple social media platforms, set up an ABN and business name, and proceeded to design a website, logo, pricing list, business card, stockist labels, menu, and other graphics.
GEMMCRAFT gained enough success to become my primary source of income within one year of operations. I have supplied homemade bespoke pastries and chocolates weekly to eight local Wollongong businesses, while also managing media accounts, producing online content, sales, administration and marketing. Stockists have included:
The Fox & The Hair– Salon, Wollongong NSW
Swell Coffee– Cafe, Wollongong NSW
Bluebird Sweets- Market stall, Foragers Market Bulli
Rush 1 Cafe & Rush 2 Cafe– Wollongong University UniCentre, Wollongong NSW
Opus Coffee Brewers– Cafe, Wollongong NSW
Buck Hamblin– Cafe, Thirroul NSW
Bread Espresso &– Cafe, Thirroul NSW
Milk Thieves (Christmas stockist)- Wollongong NSW
I set up a Wix supported website where I posted the new GEMMCRAFT Menu, stockist list, testimonials, about page, and contact page where customers could order my products. The design was simple to place the emphasis on the visual content, as well as to fit with current industry trends. The website has been very useful since setting up, and I receive the majority of my orders through the website.
Analysis of Google Analytics data for gemmcraft.com shows steady growth and a diverse audience over the last year since setting up the site.
- A low average bounce rate of 34% shows that visitors are staying on the site long enough to engage with the content
- Demographic data shows that 50% of my website views are originating in Sydney, showing that my social media activity is generating copious interest from the greater geographical area beyond Wollongong, matching order trends where Sydney residents often travel down to purchase my products. Other data shows traffic from Wollongong, generating the 2nd most engagement, as well as Melbourne and other areas in Australia, as well as the UK and US.
- Individual page views have totalled approximately 10 000, with almost 2000 users accessing the site.
The largest growth area on social media was on my Instagram account, which is consistent with industry media trends in local small business, start up ventures, and in particular the events and hospitality industry.
Immediate growth was seen once I began to accrue GEMMCRAFT stockists in the local Wollongong area, who reposted my Instagram posts on their profiles and generated very welcome support from the local Illawarra community. This brand awareness boost generated enough followers to widen my post reach to a bigger domestic and international reach.
My current follower count is approximately 3400 followers with an average like count of 100 per post.
Facebook became a valuable secondary platform, where customers were able to use Facebook’s messaging function to send enquiries to me via an alternate platform. Individual sponsored posts garnered some traction within the local Wollongong community (over 2000 people reached in most recent campaign), however most engagement came from users liking the page after seeing my products or brand in stockists, Facebook or on other platforms. Posts generated an approximate organic reach of 200 users each post, however in comparison with the daily activity measured on Instagram, this engagement didn’t result in as much tangential value for the business.
Other Marketing Campaigns and Events
Wild Rumpus XMAS Market 2016
The Wild Rumpus XMAS Market consisted of a select group of local artisanal brands and artists selling their goods in a market pop-up inside Wollongong Central mall. The Xmas Market was a great opportunity to increase brand awareness, gain further experience in selling direct to the public in a busy weekend environment, gain experience merchandising in a sales environment, and meet existing social media followers in person. I hand picked all of the decorations for the stall and designed the aesthetic of the pop-up to appear consistent with my established brand.
Gemmcraft video project by Justine McKenna
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by UOW student Justine McKenna for a video project that focused on the collaborative nature of small business in the Illawarra.
The Tertangala: full page advertisement
Advertisement I designed and placed in UOW’s student magazine The Tertangala to reach local people and new audience, including staff and faculty:
Sponsored and Custom Content
Artistic pastry collections based both on communication with brands and inspired by some of my favourite artists.
Colour run wollongong: tropical treats + Brite organix pastel range
In collaboration with Colour Run Wollongong I created a social media post designed to generate buzz for the 2016 run through leveraging my following and local presence.
I also designed a social media post created to promote the new pastel hair colour range by Australian beauty brand Brite Organix in response to their 2016 PR kit.
Mulga the artist inspired treat tower
A GEMMCRAFT artistic project inspired by the vibrant, dynamic works of local Australian artist Mulga, who has painted murals and custom art for the likes of Coca Cola, Microsoft, Adidas, Mambo and The National Trust. All of the elements handmade for this dessert tower were completely edible, made from hand tempered chocolate, macarons, meringue, and biscuit.
Lumiopus Art Project
A series of edible, hand painted and hand made treats designed to reflect the colorful art of Australian screen printer Michelle Luminato.
welcome studio: charity launch event support
I was lucky enough to support the launch of the Welcome Studio in 2016 by donating some GEMMCRAFT treats for their first pop up gallery event. The Welcome Studio is a wonderful social enterprise founded in 2016 by Katherine Nelson and Luke Stellar that aims to raise money to support refugees and people seeking asylum in the community through the sale of artworks donated by local artists.