Treatsie: Sweetly Rolling Off Customers' Tongues

by Mark Carter  on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013 12:00 am  

Treatsie -- with co-founder Keith Hoelzeman -- ships to customers in all 50 states and will look to expand internationally soon. (Photo by Bob Ocken)

Currently, Treatsie is sending out about 330 boxes of artisan treats per month. That’s 330 paid subscriptions from customers representing all 50 states. Interest in the startup’s unique delivery model has spread beyond U.S. borders, and Treatsie plans to go international beginning next year, starting with Canada. Its online store, launched about three months ago, has been a big hit as well.

“We’ve always been on a road map to get to e-commerce as fast as we can,” Walden said.

Treatsie’s subscription model allows customers to sample high-end treats, discover what they like and then order more without getting stuck with products they don’t like. Walden said that’s how the firm solves what proves to be a barrier to the market for many customers.

And through its blog, Treatsie wants to tell the stories behind these local treats, whether the setting is Little Rock or Los Angeles, while helping small confectioners break out of their local geographic market. 

“We want our content to be relevant,” Hoelzeman said. “When people think of artisan sweets and the stories behind them, we want them to think of Treatsie. We want to be that trusted resource.”

Treatsie’s customers think of it around the middle of the month. Each month, Hoelzeman and Walden recruit wives, family members and friends to fill orders at Treatsie Command Central, retail space located in a strip center just off the Markham/Rodney Parham intersection in Little Rock.

Walden said it takes about four hours to fill the orders, some of which are shipped in cool packs to prevent potential melting. The team packs on Saturdays and then ships out the first Monday after the 15th of each month. 

For now, plans call for growing monthly subscribers and the online store. Soon, Treatsie will launch a line of themed boxes such as chocolate, coffee and even bacon (yes, Virginia, there are bacon-flavored treatsies) as well as a four-tier executive gift plan. Plus, it’s exploring the addition of sugar- and gluten-free products.

Bringing candy to the people: a noble and just cause. Turns out, one customer discovered through Treatsie that she loved a sweet treat produced by a maker located just blocks from her home in Portland, Ore. 

“That’s the opposite of how we expected it would work,” Walden said. “But it’s kind of become like culinary tourism for treats. We’re excited about the potential there, where instead of just ordering candy or giving a gift, you get an experience.” 



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