....secret new IZOLA croissant flavor....can you guess what it is?
Jenny and I are on a loooooong flight from London to San Diego as I type this, returning from a 10 day trip to Europe to visit potential engineering partners. WOW! What a fruitful trip...
Why were we in Europe? Jenny and I are laying the groundwork for both the near-term and long-term future of IZOLA. Our mission is to change the way Americans experience sourdough and croissants through:
1) Providing a delicious, hot-from-the-oven experience
2) Great hospitality - how you feel when you visit us
3) Delightful service
Sounds simple enough, right? But behind the scenes, it's complex. Some of the problems we want to solve are -
How can we make the IZOLA experience easier for customers (like increasing how much we bake and refining our ordering processes)?
How do we deliver even BETTER quality croissants and sourdough while scaling up production?
How can we be more productive so that we can pay our team better wages, reinvest in expanding IZOLA, and create more value for our shareholders?
To accomplish this, we must build partnerships with companies who are innovative, open-minded, and passionate about kaizen (continuous improvement).
FIRST STOP: SALVA - SPAIN
Salva has been a partner of IZOLA's for almost three years now - we use their ovens to bake all our sourdough bread and croissants.
One of the most exciting outputs of our upcoming renovation is that we'll be able to crank up our production at IZOLA's 13th St (Downtown) location early next year, so it's easier for the IZOLA fam to stop by anytime and grab a croissant. We'll be adding an additional deck oven and 2 more croissant ovens to the bake shop, as well as several Salva proofers.
We visited the Salva factory to test all the new equipment before it ships. We fine-tuned all the details like steam injection, ensuring our custom oven racks are spaced sufficiently to hold our lofty croissants (which are too tall for the default configuration!). And nitty-gritty details like how far inset the wheels on our rolling racks need to be to smoothly roll into our new proofers without hitting the sides. All crucial deets to solve before the equipment arrives stateside in December.
NEXT STOP: TECHNOLOGY UNLIMITED
- THE NETHERLANDS
Bread making is a bit like furniture moving - it's laborious and hard on the body. As we finalize our plans for IZOLA Main, our new zero-emission, highly automated manufacturing facility and bake shop, we're thinking through every movement that the team will make and asking ourselves how we can make the process more efficient.
This is where material handling comes in - equipment that facilitates the precise movement of bulk ingredients which will be groundbreaking for IZOLA and a model for the San Diego region, and Technology Unlimited is one of the leaders in this space. Rather than hauling 50-pound bags of flour and scaling each and every batch by hand, TU material handling equipment will dose our recipes automatically, precisely, and at exact temperatures.
This not only will supercharge our efficiency, but will allow us to provide even higher quality sourdough and croissants as we become more precise in our measurements, and temperature and pressure control. And we'll start receiving our organic flour in truckloads instead of flour bags and milk in 1000-liter totes, instead of single-gallon jugs, saving tons of paper and plastic each year, taking action on our environmental justice mission.
Our time with TU was spent seeing their equipment in action at a live bakery to help us think through the order of operations that would be best for our process. And finalizing where each and every piece of equipment will go for max efficiency and quality, and what utility inputs (electricity, water, air, refrigeration) does it need to run.
While in the Netherlands visiting Technology Unlimited, we paid another visit to Rademaker, the manufacturers of the equipment our croissants will run on. Jenny and I spent a week at Rademaker earlier this year testing our recipes on their equipment and confirmed without a doubt we will be able to actually improve the quality of our croissants by automating the process.
On this visit, we spent our time reviewing the IZOLA Main plans to ensure we had sufficient power supply going to the equipment. Rademaker has also had a busy year, continuing to innovate and improve their lines, so we were able to review their newest enhancements(including some top secret projects!). Rademaker is an incredibly innovative company and loves solving our challenges (thank you Arjen), we left them with a few new challenges to try to solve over the next couple of months!
FINAL STOP: ORIPAN - ITALY
We can have the best equipment in the industry, but it's nothing if we can't operate it easily, with precision, and with efficiency. That's where Oripan comes in - they supply software that will provide step-by-step instructions to our production teams on making our recipes on the new equipment, while tracking and collecting data on each batch of dough.
We had two full days of working sessions with Oripan walking through our sourdough and croissant production process one step at a time to ensure their system could meet the requirements of our recipes.
The goal is maintain the same level of control we have over our current, primarily manual processes as we increase production to 20,000 croissants per day in coming years. The Oripan team built a virtual IZOLA and we were able to track our process from ingredient arrival, to mixing, to dough resting, to makeup on our Rademaker and Rheon lines, to cold storage, proofing, baking, packaging and distribution.
It was an amazing glimpse of IZOLA's future. We are pushing the boundaries on how their system has been used in the past and are excited about creating something new and innovative with them. Once we mapped out what we wanted the system to do, we needed to map out the physical locations of all of the digital screens, scanners, scales, handheld scanners and utility requirements that we would need at IZOLA Main to properly move and track the inventory throughout IZOLA's ecosystem.
WHAT'S NEXT?? If you've stuck with us this far and are still reading, you might be asking what's next? After this trip, Jenny and I are even more confident that what we're building has the ability to revolutionize the bakery industry - we're forging a path to providinhigh-qualityty, delicious croissants and sourdough at scale. We're also even more confident that going from small-batch, handmade croissants and sourdough to automated production while maintaining or improving quality is an expensive endeavor, but one that if executed successfully starts to pay off in spades quickly. And so we'll continue to focus on raising funds while pushing forward on our plans...
ROUND 3 CLOSES THIS MONTH This quarter's equity round closes on Thursday, November 30th. While we have raised over $1.3M from the IZOLA family already, it's still not enough... So if you'd like to join us and become an owner of IZOLA, invest now.
We will be hosting our LAST Investor Interest meeting before round 3 closes on Monday, November 27th at 7p PST. If you'd like to learn more, join us on Google Meet. We aim to change the way America thinks about croissants and sourdough. The IZOLA way. Hot from the oven, great hospitality, amazing quality. Justice. Investing in American Green Manufacturing. Creating careers. Improving the quality of our bread and croissants. Planning to open 12 IZOLAs in SoCal. Hard? Yes. But so exciting to invest in American manufacturing and in our community.
Believe in what we do? Join us.
To learn more, RSVP for our Monday call and drop by for a minute and say hi or stay the whole time. It's a fun time and super casual. Never invested before? Not to worry! It's super simple. *Please only invest an amount you would feel comfortable losing. Investing in private businesses involves risk. Though potential returns are designed to reflect that risk, there is a possibility that you will lose your entire investment.