Cookies aren’t just desserts these days—they’re a lifestyle.
Founded in August 2020, Last Crumb combines a high-end lifestyle experience with indulgent cookies in a multitude of creative flavors. Each of Last Crumb’s cookies are handmade in Los Angeles using a proprietary three-day dough preparation process, then baked to perfection.
But the recipes aren’t the only thing that makes Last Crumb stand apart from every other bakery on the block. Last Crumb utilizes an exclusive “drop” model inspired by luxury streetwear, releasing cookies on a weekly basis with very limited quantities available to purchase for those on the list.
Last Crumb’s Core Collection consists of 12 decadent flavors, such as “The James Dean (Oreo milkshake), “Netflix & Crunch” (cinnamon toast crunch), “S’mores Sans Campfire” (s’mores), and “Macadamnia” (salted caramel macadamia) and “Donkey Kong” (banana cream pie) among others.
Fortune recently spoke with cofounder and head chef Derek Jaeger about what goes into making bespoke cookies and what’s next for 2022.
The following interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.
Fortune: What inspired you to launch Last Crumb?
Jaeger: I was always confident that we had the product people wanted, and through years of trial and error, the brand seemed clear as day in my mind. Having spent my previous years in internet marketing, watching other brands and products become successful direct-to-consumer brands, I had to continually ask myself if this perishable food based “drop” model made sense, because prior to us it didn’t exist. Despite my initial hesitations, Last Crumb’s cofounder Alana Arnold pushed me to give the project a green light. Once we got our ideas on paper, spent a year developing the brand, we (no pun intended) dropped Last Crumb on Los Angeles.
Can you explain the “drop” model for each cookie launch, inspired by luxury streetwear brands, and why you chose that sales strategy?
We chose the drop model, keeping in mind how intensive our cookie creation process is, as well as our limitations for creating the perfect cookie. Thus, we implemented the drop model anticipating capping it at our production limit with the goal of meeting that mark. We’ve since well surpassed that goal and are looking to expand quickly.
There’s a lot more experimentation with flavor combos these days in desserts, especially in cookies and ice cream. But not every idea always tastes good in the end. What goes into the recipe development process to make these cookies unique but still tasty?
Our recipe development is where we pride ourselves; the goal is to simply be the best. After working through hundreds of iterations for every recipe, all the way down to the most minute details (like how certain sizes and shapes of chocolate chunks feel differently), we finalized our core collection. We will not be outworked on recipe development, and I think the customer realizes that in the end result.
What has fundraising been like for your company during the last year? Has the pandemic and economic downturn last year or inflation this year affected your plans?
We were fortunate enough to have been insulated from the pandemic issues. I think many other founders and investors saw the same potential in Last Crumb as we did and because of that we were able to close the pre-seed round in a few days. Because of the demand the fundraise itself generated, we were able to cherry pick the cream of the crop for a cap table we could have previously only dreamed of.
Looking forward, how do you want to expand Last Crumb in the next five years?
We have a lot of surprises coming up that we don’t want to ruin, but as long as our team is continually pushing the boundaries and testing new ideas, there are very few constraints to the teams’ constant creativity and additions for the future.
This is an installment of Startup Year One, a special series of interviews with founders about the major lessons they have learned in the immediate aftermath of their businesses’ first year of operation.