- Claire Kalikman
Last Crumb Has Sold Hundreds of Thousands of Cookies This Year: Here’s How
“We’re the Rolex of cookies,” Matthew Jung, CEO of Last Crumb announces. Like the luxury watch brand, Last Crumb’s cookies are hard to come by, and priced at a premium, but so worth it when you get your hands on one. The inventive cookies are sold in a limited drop model on a weekly basis, a strategy more familiar to sneaker brands than baked goods companies.
And yet the direct-to-consumer brand is strangely wholesome and familiar. The cookies are so large, they’re meant to be shared with people — both physically and online. Co-founders Derek Jaeger and digital marketing veteran Alana Arnold spent years perfecting their recipes for a marketable, street-style spin on your grandma’s traditional chocolate chip cookie: The “The Madonna” cookie, for instance, is a quasi-spiritual experience built on peanut butter and milk chocolate, while the “Donkey Kong” is a wild take on banana cream pie with ivory white chocolate and marshmallows. Thinking outside of the (cookie) box The company’s tagline — “cookies are so good that your grandmother will disown you” — says it all. Last Crumb started in August 2020 and has since sold hundreds of thousands of cookies through weekly drops. The company wanted to create a different kind of cookie brand. Jung commented that, “Last Crumb provides an amazing product paired with a ridiculously unique customer experience,” from a packaging and brand perspective. He notes that they were thinking about how luxury fashion companies box and sell their products while they were creating Last Crumb. “We’ve increased the amount we spend on premium packaging and now sell out in less than 10 seconds each week,” said Jung. “Our waitlist is somewhere in the tens of thousands.”
And the viral word-of-mouth strategy is working. “To date, Last Crumb hasn’t spent a dime on marketing,” said Jung. Instead of following the common advice to find your customers across every channel, Last Crumb has instead doubled down on just a few forms of media including Instagram, email, and, most recently, TikTok. This targeted approach has helped generate customer loyalty and allowed the brand to provide more personalized and streamlined content. No cookie monster here “I’m no founder, but I’ve been here since the beginning,” said Jung. “When I was exploring the opportunity with Derek, I would share the cookies and the response was exactly the same from everyone: ’Oh my God, this is the best cookie I've ever tasted.’” But as someone who started and sold multiple businesses, Jung needed more than just a good cookie to invest. He also looked for the right thinking: experts in their fields who stayed in their lanes, a communal love for breaking antiquated rules, and a commitment to focusing on experience, brand, and sales — in that order.
“I have no experience in baking, but I know how to recognize a market fit and the power of a clean strategy. if you make something really great and it resonates with people and they want it, you know immediately. You don't have to beg them.”
All about the dough Last Crumb hasn’t had to beg for funding either. A cool and eclectic collection of high-profile food and beverage entrepreneurs, advisors, and venture capitalists recently injected over $1 million into the brand, including entertainer Zedd, Electric Feel Ventures’ founder Austin Rosen, Talisker Ventures, and private equity investor Michael Silverstein, just to name a few.
With the extra dough in 2021, brand building remains the priority, while expanding production and fulfillment at their California facility is the secondary focus. Photo Credit: Audrey Ma
Room to rise The company is also hyper-focused on their goals and doesn’t let themselves get directed off course. Jung explains that, “As a team, we talk a lot internally about how to be successful we need to be super disciplined and focused. It’s easy to partner with everyone who calls and wants to collaborate, but then you can forget what you’re actually doing. We don’t want to try to do everything and be good at nothing.”
Jung also explains the importance of being intentional with hiring and the development of new flavors. “If I could hire 30 people today I would,” said Jung, “but you have to grow the team more precisely than that. We don’t hire someone to use factory machines. Our cookies are handmade.” Unlike other DTC brands that outsource manufacturing or use a third-party logistics provider, Last Crumb is "unique in that we make our own product, we fulfill our own product and we're a direct-to-consumer brand.” This affords the company maximum control over the quality of cookies and the customer experience, so they can deliver the best every time.
The customer experience helps to develop the brand. “Because you get this luxurious unboxing and ‘wow’ factor, you also get this experience that happens with you and the people you're with that is memorable and that you want over and over again,” explained Jung. “With that said, we haven't even scratched the surface yet.”