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3 Creative Ways This Startup Survived and Thrived During Uncertain Times

Sometimes the key to keeping a business moving forward requires a spark of creativity and having a lot of fun.

At the height of the COVID-19 health crisis, businesses of all kinds, all over the U.S. were shutting down—either temporarily or permanently. Brick-and-mortar restaurants and food shops were hit especially hard. However, there were many bright spots despite all the bad news. Take Jennifer Green and Gigi Pascual of Dough & Arrow for instance. They cooked up some creative solutions to keep their Costa Mesa, Calif.-based custom cookie and coffee shop moving forward.

Courtesy of Dough & Arrow

With an open, colorful storefront on a bustling street, Dough & Arrow opened in 2017 with eye-popping cookie displays throughout the store, perfect for selfies, boomerangs and photo ops to celebrate cookies. Pre-pandemic, the goal was to be a high-quality foodie destination that attracted people from all over Southern California.

Like so many food businesses when COVID hit, Pascual and Green had to close Dough & Arrow’s doors and focus on delivery and take-out instead. But they didn’t stop there. They leaned on trusted experts like FedEx Office for high-quality labels, signage and other printing services to help get the word out that, yes, Dough & Arrow was still doing business and in a big way.

“We could no longer have people experience the smell and layout of the shop,” says Green. “We had to pivot our entire strategy.”

Here, Green shares three creative ways Dough & Arrow refocused the business and found success despite uncertain times.

1. Developed new ways to package their tasty products.

The great thing about cookie dough is that you can mold it any way you want. When Dough & Arrow had to close its doors to in-person customers, it was time to reimagine how they’d sell cookies. The solution: Using their cookie dough in a multitude of new forms. One was called Take & Bake Cookie Dough.

“It was a huge hit for us as people were at home,” Green explains. “They were able to enjoy our cookies fresh as if they were in store. It was something fun to do as a family activity.”

They also began repackaging the edible cookie dough they’d offer to customers by the spoonful in the store and sell it by the pint for takeout. Dough & Arrow relied on FedEx Office to print labels and stickers for these new products. “The result was better branding for an innovative new strategy that was eye-catching and fun,” Green says. 

Image Credit: Courtesy of Dough & Arrow

2. Found a new focus for team building. 

When difficult situations arise, a lot of people want to get over it and move on as soon as possible. Green, however, says her biggest priority has been rallying her team around Dough & Arrow’s rebound and capitalizing on future opportunities. “I have realized as a leader how important communication is with the team – that even when you don't know all the answers, to share the direction that you're heading in is the right path,” Green says.

To do this, Green held frequent team meetings to serve as a sounding board and to cement the idea that everyone was in it and working together. She leveraged FedEx Office to print materials like directional signage and posters that helped the Dough & Arrow team visualize and document everyone’s concerns and ideas.

“The result was well-organized meetings with increased communication,” Green says. “The stability of our team and each person's knowledge of their role is what makes our business special.”

Image Credit: Courtesy of Dough & Arrow

3. Encouraged repeat visits and increased brand loyalty.

At Dough & Arrow, engaging their customers and increasing awareness about their products required having some fun. What they came up with was called the Cookie Passport. Green worked with FedEx Office to print a colorful checklist with illustrations of various types of cookies. Customers could take the passports home and keep a log of all the cookies they tried.

“The Cookie Passport is an eye-catching way for us to encourage repeat visits, walk-ins, brand loyalty, fun, and to remind customers of the brand and our cookies at home,” Green says. “Thanks to FedEx Office, this was a crucial strategy for us during COVID-19 which worked out really well.”

Click here to learn how FedEx Office can help your company find creative solutions to help push your business forward.

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