Fresh Cash Injection Into Last Crumb Shows Why CPG Should Prioritize Brand Building In The Age Of Direct-To-Consumer
Matthew Jung was reluctant at first to join Last Crumb, a luxury cookies brand that sells street fashion- and celebrity culture-inspired premium treats for $140 per curated box of 12 cookies online, as chief executive — for much the same reason why many still find it hard to believe consumers would pay nearly $12 a piece for the most the popular snack of all time.
The direct-to-consumer brand’s sales to-date, however, dispels all that suspicion: Packaged in a similar style of fine wines designed by branding agency Truffl, and handmade in limited batches using high quality ingredients, Last Crumb has sold over $1 million worth of cookies through weekly drops within just three months, and the number of shoppers on its waitlist continues to increase significantly.
Bonding over high-end, luxury experience with everyday snacks for over a decade, Derek Jaeger cofounded Last Crumb alongside digital marketing veteran Alana Arnold after spending nearly two years formulating and perfecting their recipes produced through a proprietary three-day dough preparation process.
“We use the best ingredients, and we built a baking system specifically tailored to direct-to-consumer,” said Jaeger. “It was an OCD approach to every single flavor and cookie that we put out there.” These 12 flavors, ranging from the most common chocolate chip to cinnamon toast crunch and birthday cake, also put on an edgy spin on traditional cookies when it comes to naming — “The Madonna” for the peanut butter and milk chocolate flavor, and “Donkey Kong” that combines the creaminess of ivory white chocolate, thick pudding and marshmallows, to name a few.
The goal is to “give every cookie a story that comes to life with every bite,” according to Arnold. “We wanted this to be like a conversation starter that brings people together, as our tagline goes ‘cookies are so good that your grandmother will disown you’ — we stand by that.”
Last Crumb’s strategy centered around premium experience, storytelling and exclusivity has proven effective in cultivating a loyal fan base who are actively sharing and engaging with its products across social media. “We have spent zero dollars on marketing,” said Jung, “because these social posts and videos of unboxing [our cookies] have a really interesting compounding flywheel effect — the more people we sell cookies to, the more people are talking about us.”
Now with a fresh capital injection of just over $1 million led by a group of high-profile food and beverage entrepreneurs, advisors, and venture capitalists, the company, also known to offer the Rolex or Saint Laurent of cookies, is expected to expand production capacity and capabilities, in addition to hiring new employees, which together will help triple its revenues in the near future.
These investors include globally renowned entertainer, Zedd; Electric Feel Ventures’ founder Austin Rosen; cofounders of TRUFF Hot Sauce, Nick Ajluni and Nick Guillen; founder of Larry & Lenny’s Cookies, Barry Turner through Talisker Ventures; founders of The Stable, Nik Larsen and Chad Hetherington; Nik Sharma; Room 9; Riverside Ventures; and private equity investor Michael Silverstein.
Riverside Ventures attributes Last Crumb’s weekly sellout to its 100% digital playbook and ability to keep consumers excited. “It's amazing to see people miss out on their weekly cookie drop and become more motivated and enthusiastic to get them the following week,” the VC firm commented. “It has a similar feel to SoulCycle customers logging on the second bikes open. The demand after only a couple of months on the market is mind boggling.”
Silverstein, who has been a board member of a myriad of high-growth CPG brands including Better Booch Kombucha, believes Last Crumb cookies deliver technical, functional and emotional benefits. “With Last Crumb, tasting is believing,” he said in a statement. “This is a product built on better ingredients, better recipes, and creativity… No mass packaged goods company could imagine the kaleidoscope of chocolates, caramelized butter, Maldon sea salt, lemon, espresso, macadamia nuts, caramels, vanilla, fluffy marshmallows. It’s like a wizard with magical recipes has come to your door.”
Over the next 18 months, Last Crumb will continue to focus on brand building while expanding its production, fulfillment at a facility in California that’s already seven times the size of its previous plant. The team will ultimately develop 80 flavors in total that will be introduced to consumers over time, according Jung. But one thing will remain the same — customer experience always comes first.
"If we can pay off the customer experience, we can pay off building an amazing brand. Sales will come organically, and then the right opportunities will present themselves,” said Jung, “We don’t have any factory machine lines cutting and spitting out cookies that are perfectly molded; people make these, and we’re shipping a lot of boxes in a pretty expedited way so they can maintain freshness.”
Commenting on Last Crumb’s future growth trajectory, he added: “We haven't even scratched the surface yet. I think that our values won’t change, regardless of the channel that we might explore down the road.”