LEXINGTON BAKES with Founder, Lex Evan feature #70 of Together Talks
Updated: Oct 25
"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.
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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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!
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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Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with LEXINGTON BAKES feature #70
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