Carol Bagozzi is one of the brains behind Strategy, Brands and Social Media for Weekend at the Cottage. The team first approached Paula Reile and the Business & Commercialization [now the Business & Commercialization Innovation Centre, or BCIC] team to help them with their project. They came with a LOT of ideas, and simply didn’t know what they didn’t know.
“When we first started working with Niagara College, we had lots of ideas,” she says with a laugh. “We thought we knew what products we wanted to start with and why. Then, as we got further into the process of refining ideas with Paula and her team, we realized other products might align more with the vision of the brand. The beneficial part of that exercise was realizing what you know and what you don’t know,” says Bagozzi.
We last checked in with the Weekend at the Cottage team in March 2021 when they had wrapped up the project and been provided research insights and marketing strategies from the BCIC team.
They had their strategic marching orders and plans to develop their own line of spice blends and scale up their holiday fruitcakes.
Fast forward to November 2022; Carol and the team have done that and more.
The spice and seasoning blends project, while not 100% complete, is well underway, with samples filling Carol’s office. The scaling-up of their holiday fruitcake was a success and has seen major growth.
“We started by producing 100 holiday fruitcakes two years ago. Last year, we produced 400, and this year are on track to produce 2,000. Not only that, but we are also now shipping our fruitcakes across Canada,” says Bagozzi.
A big part of being able to do all this work, Bagozzi notes, was having the established framework that the BCIC team provided and having a plan in place to create accountability.
“The information shared with us was in-depth and came complete with a solid rationale behind every decision. The supporting research was also thorough and extremely helpful.”
“I would 100% recommend that others reach out to the BCIC team. It was very exciting to work together and was pivotal in our trajectory. We identified the need to make changes but needed help to proceed on a proven path. The BCIC services were exactly what we needed, and it was a great experience.” – Carol Bagozzi, Weekend at the Cottage
The other big change in their business is the new online store. It features their new BBQ sauce, the holiday fruitcake and candles. There are also several more products in the pipeline that they will be adding to the online store come spring.
One theme that came up frequently during the project with NC was the need to differentiate themselves from others in the same marketplace. Bagozzi attributes a lot of the ideas and research the BCIC team did that they are now implementing.
“The team really forced us to think about what makes Weekend at the Cottage different. So for example, with our new BBQ sauce, we’ve developed a line of recipes and videos that are going to feature that BBQ sauce. It stays true to our original content focus but incorporates the new products and encourages customers to try out the recipes,” says Bagozzi.
Another idea they are using is putting QR codes on their labels, just another way to try and increase web traffic and get customers to watch videos or purchase their products.
And the conversations and relationships with the BCIC team have not stopped since March 2021. “I actually reached out to Paula a couple of months ago to just pass some ideas by her and that’s how we’ve been able to come back around and chat again. She’s very open and happy to share her knowledge,” says Bagozzi.
“I would 100% recommend that others reach out to the BCIC team. It was very exciting to work together and was pivotal in our trajectory. We identified the need to make changes but needed help to proceed on a proven path. The BCIC services were exactly what we needed, and it was a great experience,” says Bagozzi.
To learn more about the capabilities offered by the Business & Commercialization Innovation Centre team, visit the Business & Commercialization Innovation Centre page on our website.