In 2003, I lived in Paris for a year.
If you know Paris, I was in the 6th Arr.
Did a lot of cool things that year.
What I didn’t do was visit a bakery called Poilâne. Unfortunately, for me, I didn’t know it existed.
After someone mentioned it to me recently, I looked up Poilâne on the internet. Then, the usual happened.
The site planted a cookie in my browser and adverts for their bread baking Masterclass started showing up on my Instagram feed. (You’re more than welcome to follow me there ;-)
There’s a new fad where ‘famous’ and not quite famous, yet delightfully talented, obscure people like Appolonia Poilâne teach what they do In this case, that’s baking bread.
I’d already seen those Masterclass adverts and thought at least once, “Don’t you have enough money?!!”
Besides, I don’t need to be baking (or eating) vast quantities of bread. When I saw that little square advert and this woman and a big loaf of fancy artisan bread, I didn’t follow Poilâne and I rolled past the boring adverts on Instagram for 5 months… until A 95-second video advert appeared. It’s narrated by the owner, Appolonia, who tells her origin story. A.K.A. How I came to be standing in front of you.
By chance, an admirer of the bakery had already told me the bare bones version of this story, yet still, it blew my mind.
After ignoring Poilâne and never considering this baking class, hearing her tell the origin story changed everything.
I followed the bakery on social media.
Looked up the Masterclass to see what it costs and revisited the Poilâne website to see what was going on there.
And now, I’m telling you about it.
Word of mouth is the single most powerful method of “advertising,” because it’s not really advertising, but then again, it kinda is.
If I ever get out of this Covid-tined existence, get a haircut and happen to be on the same continent as Poilâne, I’m definitely making my way to a shop, standing in line if I have to, and seeing if it’s the best bakery in Europe.
Food & Wine magazine and millions of people say it is.
We’re looking for a reason and a way to connect.
We love Superman just as much for his vulnerability to Kryptonite as we do for his ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
Your story doesn’t have to be, “I’m the greatest!” It just has to be yours.
It’s as irresistible as fresh-baked bread, or whatever you love but don’t get enough of.
And yes, some people are gluten-free. Which speaks to the fact that you’re not for everyone.
Yet, if you bother to tell your story the right way, you’re for more people than you, or they, may realize.
Tell your story and your people will stand in a line around the block. They do at Poilâne, I hear.