Entrepreneur Life – Interview With The Founder Of Doughlicious
Sundried is an independent UK business that was founded by entrepreneur Daniel Puddick. We encourage the growth of small businesses and want to empower consumers to choose ethical companies rather than defaulting to multi-national corporations and faceless conglomerates.
We spoke to founder of gourmet cookie dough company Kathryn Bricken about all things sweet and her journey to developing Doughlicious Gourmet Cookie Dough.
In a nutshell, what is the story of Doughlicious? What motivated you to develop the idea?
I have always been passionate about creating fabulous food. Before starting Doughlicious, I enjoyed working in product development in the United States and Canada. When I came to England, my friends would ask me to make them a really good chocolate chip cookie. My recipe not only tasted utterly delicious, it was also a healthier version of the classic. I soon got requests to make them extra cookie dough to bake in their own homes! I realised there was a gap in the market for making gooey American-style cookie dough that could be baked in minutes in the comfort of your own home yet with no added refined sugars or preservatives.
I was conscious of making my cookies accessible to all, so set about creating a gloriously gluten-free recipe. I am health conscious but not obsessed and believe that all foods fit as part of a balanced diet. I am acutely aware of the need to protect our planet for future generations. As a producer of artisan cookie dough, we constantly look into ways to minimise food waste and Doughlicious encourages you to become a conscious consumer as you only bake what you need (we have lots of yummy recipes on the blog for using up any extras).
What was the biggest challenge you faced when setting up this business?
Finding a manufacturer that could match the quality of my homemade cookies. It simply wasn’t possible. It made me really connect with my purpose for setting up Doughlicious which was to share gourmet, gooey American-style cookies that make people hum with happiness. I wasn’t prepared to compromise on taste or quality so I decided to set up my own factory and manufacture all our cookies in-house.
It, undoubtedly, made the process much more time-consuming and complex but I don’t regret it for a moment. I have met so many inspiring people who taught me so much along the way, enabling me to learn about my own strengths and weaknesses and build a strong, knowledgeable team.
Doughlicious cookies are built on quality; we don’t take shortcuts and will continually work to give our customers the very finest cookie dough products - which is the core aim of the Doughlicious dream.
How do you manage a healthy work-life balance?
I’m working on it! I am so passionate about Doughlicious that I find it hard to truly switch off. I suppose it is because I understand the power that food (and cookies!) has to bring people together, enjoying getting creative in the kitchen (we have lots of baking recipes on our blog) or simply having a coffee and a cookie with friends.
I am always coming up with new ways in which we can build on the business, although I don’t really like the word 'business', I prefer 'community' as our whole ethos is about creating a culture of conscious consumers, mindful of themselves and the society around them.
I love spending time with my family (who have inspired some of our top flavours) and our adorable dog, Kevin, or going to Columbia Road Flower Market with friends on the weekend. My favourite way to de-stress is cooking; I have hundreds of cookbooks and relish getting creative. We have a section on the blog where we are starting to share our favourite cookbooks; everything from Nigella’s ‘How to Eat’ to Yotam Ottolenghi’s fabulously flavoursome ‘Plenty.’ If I want something super simple, I bake one of our Chocolate & Vanilla cookies and crumble it over an affogato.
What’s been the most exciting part of developing Doughlicious?
There have been lots of memorable moments in the Doughlicious journey. I still pinch myself every time I see the boxes lined up in Selfridges Food Hall or Whole Foods Market UK. I also get a huge buzz out of reading emails from contented cookie monsters or meeting our growing number of fans at in-store samplings. Those moments make the late nights, early starts and hectic days all worthwhile.
I was also really proud to sign up to Kindred. It's an incredible app that allows businesses to offer amazing discounts whilst also donating to charity at the same time. It was a big moment because I felt I was truly giving back to some really worthy causes. You can find out more about our partnership with Kindred here.
What does the future hold for Doughlicious?
We have lots of exciting plans for 2020! First up is the launch of ‘Dough Chi’ - an utterly irresistible cookie twist on the Japanese dessert mochi. We call it “cookie dough with a soul”. We teamed up with add.ice cream to create these magnificently moreish vegan (and gluten-free) ice cream bites with an oh-so-doughlicious cookie coating. They are ready-to-eat from frozen or can be baked so you have a warm cookie with a molten creamy centre. As for the rest of the year, we will continue to grow our blog, alongside a number of super exciting projects which must remain top secret for now…
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
I have learnt so much over the years and am truly grateful for how running my dream business has allowed me to discover so much about myself and the world around me. There are a few things that I think are really important:
Stay humble – At the end of the day, we are all humans doing our best in life. Never think that because your business is growing, you are too important to help someone else.
Build a strong team – I love the saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and I try to instil that into Doughlicious. Every person is important and plays their own role in our community. From the website to the packers to the designers, every individual is needed and valued.
Two ears, one mouth – I have over 20 years experience in the food industry (and, thanks to my mom, a childhood of delicious cookies) but I don’t know everything. It is really important to listen to others who might see ways to improve. Whether friends, family, industry experts, customers or the Doughlicious team. I aim to make people feel able to speak up and contribute their ideas.
Find your core – You can make lots of money in the food world by using cheap ingredients and diverting away from your core values. For me, I knew that was not what I wanted. Quality and community are the very roots of the Doughlicious tree. Listening to my gut and my guiding principles spurred me to running my own factory and building the Doughlicious we have today.
Learn to embrace failure – Not everything will work when you first try it. I failed to find a suitable manufacturer and ended up running my own factory. I love the quote from C.S Lewis, ‘Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.’ Things that seem like failures often tend to be gifts which spur you onto following your true path and releasing your full potential.
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Summer or winter? Summer
Morning or night? Morning
Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla - although you can have both in our Chocolate and Vanilla cookie!
Sweet or savoury? Sweet - I am chief cookie monster!