I was absolutely delighted to chat with the incredibly talented and busy Elizabeth Rose whilst she was zooming between her bakery stores Patisserie 46 and Rose Street Patisserie. We had a great chat about business, adapting to pandemic times and her social media. I would thoroughly recommend checking out their socials – be warned you’ll leave hungry!
Elizabeth Rose co-owns Patisserie 46 and Rose Street Patisserie along with husband John Kraus. They are the perfect match as Elizabeth creates what you see and experience, and John creates everything you eat.
These aren’t just your usual bakeries. John is a hugely talented baker named in the “Top Ten Best Pastry Chefs” by Pastry Art and Design in 2005 and 2006, as well as named a “Top Ten Chocolatier” by Pastry Arts Magazine in 2010. In 2014, John came home with bronze after captaining the USA team for Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie and in that same year John was inducted as a member of the prestigious Relais Desserts Group.
Elizabeth has dived right in as CEO, overseeing the company’s expansion, and ensuring continuity and high standards in all aspects of the enterprise. Elizabeth has been recognised with a 40-Under 40 award from the Minnaepolis-St. Paul Business Journal. The awards and recognitions for the couple could go on, and thus it’s no surprise that the bakeries are absolute winners in Minnesota.
I’m Elizabeth Rose I am the co-owner of Patisserie 46, Rose Street patisserie and Bread lab, which is our production facility. My business partner is the chef, his name is John Kraus.
We’re out of Minneapolis and St Paul’s, Minnesota. We’ve two stores in St Paul’s and one in Minneapolis, and then our Bread Lab, which is our production facility. We’re not a huge organisation, but also, not a tiny one.
What is your role in the business?
I am the business end of our organization and John is the baking aspect. I create the brand experience and John, the Chef, creates everything you eat.
It works well because I couldn’t make toast to save my life!
What’s the difference between Patisserie 46 and Rose Street Patisserie?
Patisserie 46 is our original flagship store. This July, Patisserie 46 will be 11 years old. I was brought on 6 years ago because John was at a point where he had Patisserie 46 and he wanted to expand into other neighbourhoods and marketplaces. However, the Patisserie 46’s branding and experience is very specific to that neighbourhood.
And so, with my marketing background he brought me in to expand on that brand, and that created the Rose Street Patisserie. Our expansion plan was to take that and place it in different locations. The true real difference is the name, right, it’s still us, it’s still the same products, the same experience. The way I explain it is that Rose Street is the sister brand to Patisserie 46. It’s the store that you could see anywhere, because it’s not too specific to a locale.
How has the past year been for you and your business?
We haven’t had guests inside of our stores since last March. So we are interlacing with guests inside of our locations for the first time after the pandemic. The nice thing is we aren’t alone. It’s not like it’s just us re-learning all of this. You know, the whole world is going through it in different stages.
So, it’s been interesting. I think we can all, collectively try to remerge from this. We’ve been really fortunate that our teams that we worked with over the course of the last 15 months, have been so incredible. This concept of how do we all make it to the other side of this.
I would say it’s definitely very challenging. The word I think that everybody has used over the course of the pandemic has been ‘you have to pivot’. I’m definitely tired of that word as I’m sure any business owner is. But going from you can’t be in-person, to navigating into curbside, to online ordering – which we’ve never done before – and to take our very loyal guest base and bring them along on each one of those new pathways was not a small feat. But I really can’t say enough about how incredible my team has been to manoeuvre through all these challenges.
I think at the end of the day, I look at it, and I go, we’re all still here standing. As small and silly as that might sound, it’s really something that I stop to reflect on to say the fact that our stores are still standing. All of us are in good health and we were able to get to the point that we’re at right now. It feels really momentous. Without our loyal guests we truly would not be here in this moment.
How has your reopening gone?
It’s been really interesting. You know, I have six plus years of experience with this organisation, and we have had almost two years of not having guests in front of you. And I know it’s not that long, but it feels like that long. In one of my stores I don’t have anyone working at that store, who has worked with me prior to the pandemic, so they’ve never had guests inside of the space.
So there’s a lot of emotions to navigate because everything feels new again. We’re in this brave new world and with that newness comes another potential challenge for awkwardness in how we do it. But with my teams and our guests they’ve just been really incredible and so excited to just finally get back inside. To simply pick out their own pastry. Things that were so foreign for the last however long, to where we are now. The concept of ‘oh I can go inside’, and it’s like we’re reemerging, and it’s spring on top of that. The timing is really beautiful.
How successful were your home kits, such as your french toast, and how difficult was that to implement?
It was actually really beautiful. It came from very early on, when we moved online. People were asking for certain things and we weren’t sure if it was really a demand. We realised people couldn’t go anywhere and they were looking for activities to do with each other at home.
It’s another beautiful thing that emerged through the pandemic, so many more people returned to cooking and returned to the hometable together. Because what did we have? We had a ton of time on our hands in ways that we’ve never had time on our hands. And I think that was really lovely for us to see people finding time to reconnect at the dinner table.
So when we started doing those home kits, it was really exciting because everyone wanted one. And to go from something pre-pandemic that we had never done, or never thought to do, to seeing that demand increase because they wanted to make it at home.
I would have never imagined someone wanted a french toast kit to make at home, but they love it. People give it as gifts as well and I think that was something that surprised us, but it was also, if we can’t invite you in to serve you, how do we extend our experience to your home table. And to be connected with that consumer in similar or familiar ways, but in new ways.
How was your mothers day giveaway, what would your advice be to someone running their first giveaway?
I would say make it simple.
I would also say it’s another way that we show appreciation and another way for people to interface with our company, with our brand. It gets people excited, I mean is there anyone who doesn’t love something free? I mean, I would love to meet them, because I’ve never met someone who doesn’t!
But also, don’t we love winning? Who doesn’t love to win something? And you want to give. And just to see them show up, pick it up and send us photos and say this was the best day! Also think of how hard mothers had it over the course of this pandemic. You know, they wear so many hats, and we wanted to have a moment to say we really appreciate you. Because without mothers none of us would be here.
It got a lot of action, I mean everybody was excited about it. Then you see the mom’s bounce out of the store with their gift package that they had won. It warmed our hearts, and those are the things that we all needed as reminders through this, we can still share happiness. We might be in a really challenging time, but we can still share happiness, and a moment of happiness, even though there are things happening around us that are out of our control.
What’s a highlight of the past year?
I will share one small story with you that happened in January. We received a hand-written letter. And we do get them occasionally, but through the pandemic we got them a bit more. It was from a 9 year old named Henry, and he really wanted a specific pastry that we have, but we haven’t produced them in 3 or 4 years.
So we received this hand written letter and Henry happened to have his birthday on January 12th – which is the day before mine! So right there, I just couldn’t say no. The pastry is called the Beesting. So we wrote him a handwritten letter back, but we didn’t hear anything so we were really nervous.
What we did was rename the pastry the Bee Henry, in honour of him. The note we sent back to Henry said ‘please come and see us on your birthday, we have a special treat for you’. So we gave him a box full of Bee Henry. Because of the pandemic, again, we can’t have them inside. So we had to think what can we do to bring a little bit of happiness? And I think we can all say birthdays in the midst of all this aren’t really fun, but how do we make them a little bit more special?
Henry and his family showed up and we gave him a certificate that said we officially hereby rename this Bee Henry in honour of your birthday. The thank you card that he sent us was so beautiful. We posted the initial letter on social media and the amount of people that wrote into us, whether privately or publicly just to say I needed that moment of happiness and that made my week, my day, or my month better. It was such a great moment to remember that hand-written letters are so special. On top of a 9 year old to write one I was beyond impressed.
Also, at the end of his letter he said ‘P.S. if you can’t make it, tell me why?’ – this kid is amazing! How do you say no to him?
Your pastry photography is amazing, who does that?
We work with a pretty incredible photographer, Isabel Subtil (@isubtil). I would say she manages 90% of our content for digital photos. And then there are some that we take ourselves, of course, but not a ton. And that really has a lot to do with us being a part of the Relais Dessert. Relais is one hundred of the top pastry chefs in the world. We’re the first American born chef to be inducted.
What pushed you to start scheduling with Hopper HQ?
The social media aspect of having multiple locations, multiple brands and managing and navigating those things, it’s just kind of a nightmare. And this concept that I have to post to one and then post to the other account, it was just too time-consuming and it never felt efficient.
So I was introduced to Hopper HQ and I think it’s one of the best tools that I have. It really streamlines that process, because I can plan it out. I set it, forget it, and move on. And as someone who has so many different facets to navigate as a business owner, I can’t say enough good about it.
What is your favourite feature on Hopper HQ?
I think it would be the feasibility. I think we’ve all been in a place where we have to manage social media whether it’s one platform or multiple companies. And the demand for content we know is very, very high. so for me to be able to calendar plan that out So that I don’t feel overwhelmed or consumed with what am I posting today? Is one set up? Rather just get it in there and it’s done.
At the end of the day, if it saves me time to focus on all the other things, because I don’t think there’s anyone that doesn’t feel like social media can be overwhelming from a creation of content standpoint. So for me, I just have this hour which I schedule and calendar plan. It just makes you feel successful and not overwhelmed which, I think any tool to continue using, that’s the part that is critical.
Are there any exciting things to keep a look out with Patisserie 46 and Rose Street Patisserie?
We’re launching ice cream this weekend because it’s summer. We do ice cream and sorbet. We’ve started slowly promoting that, because also we’ve just re-opened our doors as of June 1st. Ice cream is one of those things that is very visual, so I wanted to wait until our guests are back inside. But it’s summer so I’m very excited to get that back out. And we do it every summer, it’s not new to us, it’s just something that is relaunching this week.
Who doesn’t love seeing that incredibly messy kid walking down the street with ice cream all over them? I just got very excited about the ice cream cake that we are launching. We’re going to do individual ice cream cakes. On our socials you would have seen the big ones from Mothers Day.