Bellbird Baked Goods in Christchurch is an artisanal bakery that labours for the best naturally leavened bread and the most exquisite viennoiserie this side of the world (or any side for that matter). We sit with owners Alice and Jeremy to talk a bit about bread and bikes.
Hello Alice and Jeremy. Could you introduce yourselves to our readers and tell them a little about what you do?
Hey everyone, we’re Alice and Jeremy and we run Bellbird Bakery, an artisanal bakery located at The Tannery in Woolston. Jeremy set up Bellbird in 2010 as a weekend project making croissants and danishes for the Riccarton Farmers Market. Last year we expanded our retail offerings so Alice – a trained chef – joined full time to run that side of things.
What got you into the bakery business and what’s different about Bellbird.
The idea behind Bellbird is basically to focus on products that take time, skill and good ingredients, to offer people great handmade bread and pastries that are a step above the commodity produced by industrial bakeries. All our products are made by humans who are working hard to approach perfection in their craft.
Tell us about your interest in bicycles and how that is relevant or intersects with your business.
We are fans of efficiency, sustainable living and human enterprise. Cycling ticks all the boxes, plus it is fun!
Do you encourage bike riding with customers and staff and have you found there are any economical benefits to that?
There is definite health benefits to cycling that may translate to economic benefits in the long run. Personally we don’t own a car so that makes things cheaper.
We have set up a loyalty scheme to encourage our customers to bike to the bakery. Each time they come by bike, they get a stamp and after 6 stamps they get a free croissant.
For the last two years Bellbird also participated in the Aotearoa Bike Challenge as a company, which involves encouraging our staff to cycle to work. We came in 2nd for a company of our size in Christchurch.
You’re now also an owner of a RAPID cargo bike. Can you share with our readers why you choose to invest in a cargo bike?
On the bakery side of things we wanted a way to move stuff around that didn’t involve purchasing a second delivery van. The bike is great for errands around the CBD, and it’s nice to promote the business while we do that. On a personal level, we enjoy to go shopping with the cargo bike. We find it more convenient and fun to use than a car, and often faster too!
Do you see a future for businesses and bikes and what could you suggest to business owners looking to adapt their traditional business model?
There is definitely a lot of opportunities for businesses to step up their game in terms of sustainable transport. Cargo bikes are a great way to lower your carbon footprint while appealing to your customers. A growing part of the population cares about the way businesses choose to deal with climate change.
We hear you enjoy using your time off to travel by bike. Could you share what about it is enjoyable and what’s possibly next on the horizon?
We are active members of the Warmshowers community, a network of people hosting other people who choose to travel by bike. We spent 3 months cycling around France (where Alice is from) in the summer of 2017, and we absolutely loved it. We now cannot think of any better way to travel. We love the freedom it gives you, and the many more opportunities you get to connect with the locals. Travelling for us also means trying new foods and cycling is a great way to stay fit while eating lots of food. Next on the wish list are countries such as Vietnam, Japan, Turkey and Italy…as well as going back to the North Island to explore the East Coast and Northland.
As cyclists we are big fans of your baked goods as they keep us going while on the saddle. For those new to your baked goods, what would you recommend they try?
Definitely try the almond croissant and the plain croissant, as well as one of our sourdoughs. Tip: our rye sourdough is great for cycle touring as it keeps really well and is quite compact.
Thank you, Alice and Jeremy!
Supporting local businesses like Bellbird that do good is just another way you can reduce your footprint. Find Alice and Jeremy and their cargo bike at the Tannery in Woolston (Wednesday to Sunday 7:30am–2:30pm.) or at the Christchurch Farmers Market every Saturday and Opawa Farmers Market every Sunday.