It all started with a sketch. A simple sketch of a jumping white fox has helped a Columbus, Ohio bakery make the leap to a social media and culinary darling.
Five years ago, the founders of Fox in the Snow had moved to Columbus from Brooklyn, New York. Following a career change and after working at several bakeries throughout New York City, Lauren Culley met her husband Jeff Excell while working together at Blue Bottle Coffee in Brooklyn. They decided to open their own bakery in Columbus, as Culley had grown up in Central Ohio.
The two spent a great of time deciding what they would name the bakery. Eventually, they were inspired by one of their favorite bands.
“We were getting ready to go to a Belle and Sebastian concert, and as some people do, we were listening to the band before we went to the concert. A song of theirs came on, and the first line is, “Fox in the snow, where do you go to find something you could eat?” My husband said, almost as a joke, “Oh, we should just call in Fox in the Snow.” For me, it was lightbulb moment, and that was the name,” says Lauren Culley.
Culley and Excell decided that the logo would be a fox jumping in the snow. They found a pencil drawing of it on Google Image search and were able to find the artist, who resided in Chicago. They contacted the artist to re-draw it for their logo.
With the business set to open inside of a renovated mason garage, the owners wanted to put a sign on the outside of the building to draw in customers. Unfortunately, due to permit fees and starting out with very little funding, they couldn’t afford to do that, so Fox in the Snow opened with no sign on the outside. One of the bakery’s regulars offered to paint the logo on the side of the building as a temporary fix.
They had planned on painting over it once they had the money for the permit fees, but soon discovered that they wouldn’t need to go the trouble.
“I was driving by the shop and there were people posing in front of the fox and getting their picture taken. It then became a thing that people still do to this day. It was a very happy accident. It was one of the only times in my life that being broke really helped me,” Culley says.
Without intending to, the bakery had become a viral discovery and a must-visit for that perfect Instagram pic. Although the buzz has been built organically through customers, Fox in the Snow has leveraged that by engaging with its social media followers.
It also helps that the bakery can justify the attention with a stellar menu. Scratch-made breakfast sandwiches, inventive pastries, and delicious coffee have elevated Fox in the Snow to one of the top culinary destinations in Columbus and a rising name in baking in the Midwest.
Everything works together to build a successful brand. Culley shares advice given to her by the founder of Blue Bottle Coffee long ago, who told her that “branding is just thinking about every single detail and how it fits together.” Fox in the Snow’s owners are constantly thinking about how to tie everything in, from the menu and logo to the music played in the shop and the merchandise offered.
The bakery’s special anniversary has caused Culley to reflect on the past five years as well as look forward to what’s next for them. Fox in the Snow now has three locations in Columbus, and the bakery has boundless potential to continue that growth in the years to come.