Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall...(or: What We Do in the Off-Season)

Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall...(or: What We Do in the Off-Season)

Posted by Sandy Lee on

Have you ever wondered what we do in the off-season here at Leckerlee? It’s a question we get asked a lot.

The height of lebkuchen season runs from October to December, and many people assume we more or less have the rest of the year off.

(To clarify: the “we” here is myself (Sandy) and my beloved partner, whom I roped into the business many years ago. During lebkuchen season, we typically have up to 20 employees supporting the business, but in the off-season, that dwindles to just the two of us.)

Here's how the year breaks down for us.

WINTER

Lebkuchen season is intense. We work 100+ hour weeks and there isn’t a moment to spare. By January, after the holiday rush, we start to work more “normal” hours. But we can’t take a break just yet, as we have to start designing the new tins for the coming season!

Working with our long-term design partners at Strohl, the process takes about three months from start to finish. In fact, we just received the initial prototypes for our 2024 tin designs! We're not ready to reveal them just yet, but here's a tiny sneak peek at the lids to give you a sense of this year's colors:



From this point, it's another 3-4 month wait for the tins to be manufactured and delivered, which is why we have to start the process so early in the year.

Come late winter, we’re also already chatting with our larger retail partners, who make their holiday buying decisions by spring.

After our final baking days (usually in January or February), we start to wind down the season. We pack away the equipment, tally up inventories, and catch up on a lot of administrative work, including accounting, taxes, and post-season analysis.

SPRING

By the start of spring, we’re ready for an extended break. At last, we have the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate from the insanity of lebkuchen season.

But spring isn't entirely without work: we begin to plan out the coming season in terms of marketing, website updates, production improvements, new offerings, and any other changes, etc.

We need to consistently chip away at tasks throughout the year in order to ensure a successful lebkuchen season in the fall.

SUMMER

Summer comes sooner than we'd like. For us, the warmer months mean switching to pre-season mode. We start ramping up hiring efforts, procurement of supplies, and marketing initiatives.

Our fun annual photo shoot with photographer Rebecca Stumpf -- to create all of the images we'll use in our fall marketing -- typically takes place in early summer.

We begin to plan everything in detail: crafting the words that will be used in our marketing emails and selecting the exact photos that will be used for each campaign or social media post.

Believe it or not, we even get a head start on the season by doing things such as assembling shipping boxes, thousands of them, that will be used for online orders during the holiday season. We also prepare and freeze meals for ourselves that will be eaten in the fall. As crazy as that might sound, every hour of work that we can do in the summer means one less hour of work that we will need to do during lebkuchen season, when time is scarce.




FALL

Come October, we are strictly in execution mode. Our entire focus shifts to baking lebkuchen to the highest standards and getting it to our customers. Once the season starts, we run at full speed, seven days a week, until mid-December.

How smoothly the season goes will be the direct result of the preparation work we've been doing throughout the entire year.

And that, in a nutshell, is how we typically spend our off-season.

---------------------------------

Today, in early May, the fall seems a long way off, but we find that it always arrives before we know it.

But for now, it's springtime, and the flowers are blooming. It's our time to enjoy the flexibility that we are blessed to have with a seasonal business like Leckerlee.

We just returned from a few weeks in Europe, including stops in Nuremberg, Berlin, and Vienna. We combined work and pleasure and had an amazing time. It’s wonderful to be able to have a job where “research” entails visiting European bakeries and tasting their products. 🙂

Stay tuned for some upcoming highlights from our trip!

FALL PRE-ORDERS

Did you know that we're now accepting pre-orders for the fall?

By pre-ordering, you can save 15% on all products including lebkuchen and mini lebkuchen, gluten-free lebkuchen, Basler leckerli, and Leckerlee mugs and sweatshirts.

Select the earliest ship date in mid-October or a later one that suits you during the holiday season. You can change or cancel your order at any time. Use code 2024PRE.



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