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Cleveland Bakery Leverages Viral TikTok to Flourish Despite Challenges

CLEVELAND, OH — In a modest 110 square foot kitchen on the outskirts of Lakewood, Victoria Narby, the passionate baker behind Art of Bread Bakery, is reinventing what it means to run a bakery in the digital age. Starting in August at a shared space within ‘Scoot! Cold Brewed Coffee Shop’, Narby faced a significant hurdle when the coffee shop shut down. Despite the setback, a recent viral TikTok video has ignited community support.

"Hey, if you're in Cleveland, Ohio, and you've heard of Art of Bread, I need to have a quick chat with you," Narby implored in her TikTok debut, detailing her predicament. With the coffee shop's closure, Narby found herself isolated in a kitchen-only space, tied to a three-year lease. Originally a home baker, Narby transitioned to this space for its affordability and the community feel of the coffee shop. Now flying solo, she is determined to make it work.

Struggling with low engagement on traditional social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, Narby turned to TikTok as a last resort to connect with potential customers. "I really don't know what to do other than to try TikTok and to put my face out there," Narby shared candidly. Her call for community support was met with an overwhelming response, leading to increased orders and business inquiries.

Art of Bread does not operate like a typical bakery with regular retail hours. Instead, Narby has crafted a unique business model focused on custom orders, chef specialty tastings, offsite pop-ups across East and West Cleveland, and the Favorite Stranger Market held on third Fridays from May to October in the bakery’s side yard. Additionally, bakery workshop classes add an educational twist to the offerings.

The response from the viral video not only turned the tide for Art of Bread but also highlighted the bakery's innovative approach to overcoming business challenges. "I want to have vendors come out, and I want to help other businesses make money, too," Narby expressed.

In an area not typically known for high foot traffic, Narby's strategy focuses on special events and pop-ups to draw attention. Her efforts demonstrate a compelling pivot from traditional bakery operations to a model that fits her unique circumstances and harnesses the potential of social media outreach.

As Art of Bread continues to evolve, Narby remains grateful for the virtual community's support and hopes more people will discover her culinary creations. "I need to feed you, because that's what I do. Please," she urged, inviting everyone to engage and experience her baking firsthand.



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