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LEXINGTON BAKES with Founder, Lex Evan feature #70 of Together Talks

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

"Together Talks" feature #70: LEXINGTON BAKES presented by KLS, freight company

Some Background on LEXINGTON BAKES

Today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the luxury to interview Lex Evan, Founder, of LEXINGTON BAKES (LXB). LXB is a is an eco-conscious luxury bakeshop serving elevated American classics. From delicately rich fudge brownies to cheerfully bright buttery blondies and sinfully decadent cookies, their unique and extraordinary treats are handmade in Los Angeles with their guiding principle of Radical Ingredient Transparency®. LEXINGTON BAKES believe the best ingredients are natural and ethically sourced with kindness and respect for people and the planet. Not only do they list the ingredients in each of their treats, but they are fully transparent about how they source premium ingredients. They want you to know exactly what's in your next bite, so you never have to wonder, "what's in this?". Founded by designer, writer, and pastry chef Lex Evan, LXB officially launched online in January 2022, and is slowly growing a loyal fanbase.


Joy, Break, IG post

Lex had been baking for over 10 years, it coincided with his start at Johnson & Johnson as a designer. He told us he loved baking and it started with baking and bringing in pastries and desserts to his colleagues at J&J. The feedback and demand he received gave him confidence. But he swore he wouldn't turn it into the business because it was so joyous to him. Lex took a break from his baking as he ventured into other entrepreneurial paths. He took the opportunity to learn other industries and skills. Ultimately it led him to exhaustion though and he proceeded to get back into his joy, baking.


When he ventured back into baking, an unexpected IG post sparked the beginning of LEXINGTON BAKES. From a small audience of friends and family on IG, Lex received overwhelming demand for his clean ingredient brownies. So, he put up a google form and a Venmo link and within 5 days had $5,000 deposited in preorders for his $10 luxury brownie. Shortly after fulfilling those orders, he put his branding expertise to work and officially launched a DTC site on Shopify, immediately selling out his next 3 product launches.


Lex thought this would be a DTC company, but within three months Foxtrot Market decided to carry LEXINGTON BAKES in all 22 of their stores starting in June 2022. Shortly after that Erewhon approached him to bring LEXINGTON BAKES into their LA stores. All signs were leading to making this work, he just needed more product to keep up with demand. With the increased partnerships he envisioned leaving J&J and going fulltime at his startup.


Design Strategy

Prior to his 10 years at J&J Lex worked as a design manager at a wet-wipes manufacturer. His cumulative 15 years of experience allowed him to understand the CPG space from the private label and global brand sides. His roles gave him the opportunity to understand the ecosystem and more specifically how to make a product work within it. The biggest key in his opinion is knowing to design and market for not only consumers but also retailers.


Lex credits his time at J&J allowing him to have a first hand vantage point of multiple brands and categories and how they operate. "Many people don't know this, but designers are arguably the closest department to consumers. We are essentially trying to dissect their psyche to understand their wants and needs.", Lex shared with us. Not only expanding his knowledge of design, but also the business components provided him the framework to build a business profitably. He meticulously designed the brand to be scalable from day 1. The big "Aha" moment for Lex was realizing that the customers of brands are retailers, not consumers.


Lex explained his greatest frustration in the corporate environment was being labeled just a designer. He wasn't given the opportunity to voice his opinions on where the business was going or how they could capitalize. Lex sat on these ideas for when the moment was right, then his IG post happened. He told himself it was the best time in his life to start this.


His opinion was transparency behind the ingredient, practices, and company. That is why LXB is partnered with ethically sourced organic ingredients. The company currently has 3 SKU at 100% organic and moving to having the remaining 3 SKU as well. All ingredients are real and contain nothing artificial. This level of creation and freedom is what Lex was ultimately striving for. The flexibility to lead and to follow and to execute his ideas into implementation.


This is evident by the path he brought his products in terms of their makeup, but also his devotion to flavor. Flavor is what he believes sets him apart from similar dessert options. "Consistency is the ultimate goal for LEXINGTON BAKES. Because of how we bake our goods, the top and bottom are crispy but the middle is gooey.", Lex explained. One way the company achieves this consistency is by only using the middle of the baked tray. A perfect square with perfect consistency every time for the exact controllable same delicious flavor is what to expect when consuming LXB.

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Demand

The first instance of demand exceeding expectations was the IG post. The second was roughly 6 months after LXB had started and Lex had a meeting with a head of VC in the CPG space. The feedback he paraphrased, "You've knocked it out of the park with the flavor!", Lex told us. He felt validated for leaving J&J and going all the way in with LEXINGTON BAKES. Betting on himself and his perspective on the trends, Lex brought his vision to life and was executing.


Lex advised his first goal was to sell $100,000 of product in the company's first year. He achieved it and said he felt amazing to hit that goal. The next goal was to get into 300 locations. While he ultimately fell short on that due to an issue with his co-manufacturer, they still doubled their store count. Again showing the demand is there and the next step is increasing the supply. Fortunately Lex shared with us he found a new co-manufacturer who aligns with the formulation and process of LXB. The partnership should be up and running in the next month or so which will take LEXINGTON BAKES to the next level.


The new partnership has created two goals for Lex and his brand. He hopes to be in 500 stores by the end of year 3 with a focus on Southern California. LXB already has a presence in Chicago and Texas and with his supply chain and eco-system rooted in California, he is excited to grow the presence and brand awareness there as well.


Pull not push

LXB was born out of demand not a push. This coupled with his vast knowledge of CPG has given Lex a different path than most entering the space. We asked if he was nervous or had any fear starting his company and he told us he didn't because of his experience. The trepidation came from wanting to make sure he stuck to his strategy and remained diligent with the plan. "It can be easy to get excited or complacent when success happens. Often times I have people telling me how I've 'made it', but I don't feel that way yet. It is still early on for myself and the company and we just want to stay the course.", Lex explained.


Growing the company is what Lex is most excited about. He shared with us he has spent every weekend baking for the last almost 3 years. With the new co-manufacturer he will get a relief from that aspect, but that time can be focused on the business side. He credited again the pull of LXB sharing with us, "I've yet to try and sell a single cookie or brownie. IG post was a hunch, Foxtrot then Erewhon reached out to me. The pull is coming from all areas which is how I designed the company."


The product is unique, the mission and initiatives are pure, and the strategy Lex believes makes the company in a unique position. The entire package that LXB offers provides them an advantage to separate from the pack. But he shared with us he doesn't want to take shortcuts at any stage. The identity of the brand and the consistency of the products are the core of LEXINGTON BAKES. Continuing to produce incredible flavors is what is on Lex's mind and recipe development just happens to be his favorite aspect of running the company. Incredibly he produced 8 new flavors within the first 8 months!


Influence

The overall goal for LXB is to create change, sustainable and impactful change for not only consumer options, but business practices as well. Lex hopes to help be a part of moving business practices in a positive direction. One initiative of LXB is "1% for the planet", however to date Lex and his company have given over 10% of revenue, not profit, REVENUE to various causes. Also he donates brownies and cookie ends (the excess of each production that isn't used to local foodbanks.


The culture of LEXINGTON BAKES is one inclusivity, transparency, and the willingness to listen, learn, and adapt. As Lex explained to us, "I imagine that everyone I interact with whether working directly or indirectly with them they are viewed as part of our LXB circle. To treat everyone with kindness." Kindness is the single key word for the culture that he plans to create.


We asked Lex to sum up his current view of the company and it came back to the claim that he has "made it", "People say you’ve made it so far, but doesn’t feel that way. Yes it is hard for people to get to this stage, but for me personally, making it is years and years into this. And eventually being in a couple thousand stores." He continued by sharing that he anticipates devoting a minimum of 10 years in this role for his company. He has so many ideas to continue to create while growing and building the company. But the biggest dream for him is to create value for people in the world. If he can't be the one to change the food industry, he will damn sure try to influence it along the way. Lex is doing his part by making better products for people and doing business the conscious and right way. To him it would be a win in his book to influence and impact other companies as well.


Piece of Advice

Our chat with Lex ended with him sharing his piece of advice:

"As a designer, in my case, the best thing I could do was consume knowledge. It also applies to business. You don’t know where inspiration will strike from. As a business owner, read, listen, watch, consume as much info and knowledge as you can. You don’t know what will strike a solution for a problem that will arise.”


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In Closing

KLS wants to thank LEXINGTON BAKES and Founder, Lex Evan, for today's "Together Talks" feature. Follow along for the LEXINGTON BAKES journey with their social handles below!

Together Talks with LEXINGTON BAKES with Founder, Lex Evan, feature #70 - presented by KLS, Klimson Logistics Solutions, freight company

Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with LEXINGTON BAKES feature #70

*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, freight company, is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign, "Together Talks". If you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!


Why KLS?

Our precise and reliable effort.

We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.


Our Process?

Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.

Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.

The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.

Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.

Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.

You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.

For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.

This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.


Services offered?

Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.


Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth

LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).

Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.

FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.

Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution

What makes KLS different?

There are thousands of freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.

Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand whenever we can.

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