Megan Gordon's Marge Granola began as Marge Bakery, a heartbreakingly sweet pies, pop tarts, granola and homemade Oreos pop-up frequenting farmers markets all about the Bay Area. Originally hired to design out a website and identity for Marge Bakery, we stayed on hand to first develop and launch a granola line, and then relaunch the whole business under the Oat umbrella of Marge Granola. Then we took Marge national, with features in the Wall Street Journal, Martha Stewart, and a million others, and on shelves around the country.
It all began with dressing that sweet little granola with a packaging solution that made it nearly as covetable to hold as it was to eat. A huge aesthtetic leap beyond the brown paper bag that every granola begins its life in, these are the little champions that almost immediately charmed their way onto the shelves of Bi-Rite and pages of Real Simple. We worked with Megan to develop a strategy that allowed Marge to bypass the capital- and time-intensive path of fighting your way onto shelves, store-by-store, and more directly target a market segment already inclined to not just like but champion Marge.
As Marge grew and moved from the Bay Area to Seattle – and as its founder and Neversink's founder fell in love – the brand grew up and into boxes that shipped and displayed easier, not to mention allowed the line to expand. Marge Original and Apricot Pistachio were soon enough joined by Hazelnut Cacao Nib, Blueberry Almond Flax, and a triple grain Muesli, all gussied up with their own distinguishing colors and illustrations.
"Snack Packs" (or "personal bags" as one customer puts it) earned Marge entry at the checkout in another 50 stores, while lowering the cost of entry (as it were) for new customers at markets or on the website. Meanwhile, postcards printed on – you guessed it – a real pretty and satisfying paper stock regularly go home with customers, and are just sweet enough as to be mailed back across the country several which ways, a long-view promotional plan that all comes down to what's simply fun.
Our first big leap for Marge, in making an end-run around large grocery stores, was customizing a clever little e-commerce system that gave that devoted early group of oat lovers (including a few key journalists) an easy, direct way to get their hands on more granola. Well before Shopify came around, no less the amount of capital necessary for a proper e-commerce website, the Marge website began piecing together a revenue stream that to this day accounts for nearly a quarter of the company's annual revenue.
There's ultimately too much more to fit into a single web page – no less the beautiful 3 month-old that owes his existence to the Marge-Neversink partnership – but it comes down to a brand growing by the force of its own enthusiasm, and maybe a little granola-generated energy. In so many ways, we can't wait to see what comes next.