Doughp

America's favorite mission-driven cookie dough. (AS SEEN ON SHARK TANK, twice!)

Last Funded June 2023

$608,273

raised from 531 investors

Highlights

1
$13M lifetime revenue; $3.9M in '22.
2
Sold in 1,000+ doors within 1st year of retail launch (Costco, Walmart, Target, Kroger, & more!)
3
Appeared on Shark Tank - TWICE. '19 and '22. Episodes re-air every month or so, all over the world.
4
Ranked #16 in Inc 5000 fastest-growing food & beverage private companies. (2021).

Our Team

I rediscovered my love of baking in early sobriety! I was experimenting w/vegan baking (spoiler: I sucked at being vegan! Doughp has butter!), and used a great egg sub in my cookie dough allowing it to be eaten raw AND baked! YUM! It's so much more than just a sweet treat, though. Our mission is what keeps me pushing through day in and day out!

Hey, we're Doughp!

Hey! I’m Kelsey, founder & fearless leader of Doughp (say it, “dope”!) We’re the country’s favorite edible & bakeable cookie dough company shipping nationwide and now carried at select locations of Costco, Target, Kroger, Meijer, Harmons, and more!

After 6 years in business, we’re finally opening up a chance for our community to join the Doughp family OFFICIALLY and help us take Doughp to new heights!

If you’re new to Doughp, the first thing to know is that we are SO much more than just cookie dough.

We do make some ridiculously tasty cookie dough, but we are on a mission to break the stigma around mental health & addiction recovery. Through our Doughp4Hope initiative, we raise awareness in the community, walk the walk with mental health practices inside the company, and donate 1% of all sales to nonprofits in the space. We’ve donated more than $100,000 to date!

Pretty sweet, right!? Let me tell you my story and you’ll see what we’re all about!

I started Doughp in 2017, off the heels of a 10-year career in tech. At just 16 years old, I had the amazing opportunity to start work at Intel. I learned an incredible amount during this experience, but it really sped things up for me from just being a kid to being an adult real quick.

Unfortunately, my troubles with anxiety had begun in my early teen years and only accelerated as I entered corporate America. Without healthy mental health coping skills at the time, I leaned on alcohol through the years, using it as a way to “fit in” with what I thought was the cool crowd and not deal with my emotions.

After facing my issues with alcoholism, I made the (amazing!) decision to get sober in 2015. Although at the time it felt like my life was ending, I realize now it was only beginning!

In early sobriety, I got the chance to figure out who I am, what I like to do, and more. One of the biggest realizations was how much I love to be in the kitchen! Baking was like a meditation for me in my recovery journey. Able to focus on the precision of the recipe, I could quiet my mind and really be at peace while baking.

I loved to bake as a child and share so many happy memories with the women in my family baking — and naturally, sneaking a bite of any dough/batter that remained! My love of baking really works out well seeing as I have a massive sweet tooth!

The joy I feel watching someone else light up trying a bite of what I created… there’s nothing quite like it! So nights and weekends over my first year of sobriety were spent largely in my kitchen - whipping up cakes, cookies, brownies, truffles. You name it, I made it! I’d bring the baked good into the office and slowly but surely, the requests started pouring in asking if I could make some cupcakes for their kids birthday party. Or a cake for this event. And on it went!

Within that first year, I was moved to San Francisco for a new job inside of Intel and, like many who move to the Bay Area, I attempted my hand at veganism. Spoiler: I totally sucked at it… I love butter way too much! (Who can relate?!) Over time I developed what I’d call a quasi-vegan baking style! Using butter in my baked goods, but I still wasn’t eating eggs at the time so I held onto an awesome vegan egg substitute using flaxseed!

Cookies have always been my favorite when baking - namely because I loved the dough but also the versatility in flavors you can make! This butter-filled but eggless style of mine led to a massive “ah-ha” moment when I realized my favorite cookie dough recipes were now totally safe to dig into raw - and I could bake some into cookies when I wanted a warm cookie as well! Win win!

All the bells were ringing… I’d get the chance to make something I love, watch other people light up when they try it, AND be solving a problem we all face in the kitchen when baking! No more getting your wrist slapped when you go in to sneak a bite off cookie dough, what if you could have as much as you wanted? Guilt free!

By removing the risk of salmonella (by making it without raw eggs!) and the risk of e-coli (heat-treated flour), everyone can finally enjoy cookie dough like they’ve always wanted.

I set my sights on starting a really dope dessert brand… hence the name Doughp was born! I went to a wood shop in SF to get help building my first food cart for $500. Then I found a commercial kitchen in Oakland who was willing to take me in ahead of a months-long waitlist and whipped up my first 100lbs of cookie dough!

I set out on April 20th, 2017 and had the first day serving up Doughp and we sold out in three hours!!! I knew I was onto something.

We were accepted into a popular food truck park in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood and I began setting up shop nearly 7 days a week! I started running catering business and opened up some wholesale opportunities, too! It was such a grind in the beginning, figuring everything out as a I went - but I absolutely loved it!

It was my 2-year sobriety anniversary on September 14, 2017 and on that exact date we wound up having a grand opening for our very first store! It was just a kiosk at the time, but I was so excited to open up a real shop! (We’d finally be able to load up for catering events and pack orders somewhere other than my tiny apartment!)

For this grand opening, I put on the Facebook event that we were celebrating my 2-year sober birthday and you’ll get 20% off if you say “It’s Doughp to be sober” at checkout. The response I got was incredible! Messages coming in from people a few weeks sober asking if I knew of any good 12-step meetings in the city, and from some people many years sober saying how cool it was that I was sharing this publicly.

This was my next big ah-ha moment. I realized that there were so many of us out there who are in recovery or are struggling with their mental health and yet we feel like we’re the only ones! I knew I could use Doughp’s platform for good both to keep elevating the conversation around these topics, but also to raise funds for those making progress in this space. Doughp4Hope was born!

Later that year, I was contacted by San Francisco’s famous PIER 39! They’d been hearing about my concept and wondered if I’d be interested in opening a store on the PIER! Having grown up in Northern California, this was a dream come true! We opened up this storefront in February of 2018 and wound up doing just shy of $1M in revenue our first full year of business. I remember calling my Dad saying, “Can you believe?! A MILLON DOLLARS of cookie dough!” I had no idea we’d wind up selling more than $13M in the years that’d follow.

To help fund our early expansion, I ran a debt round on Wefunder for ˜$150k! (This debt raise was set up with a revenue-sharing model to be repaid.) We raised the funds incredible quickly and 3 years later, we became the first company to ever successfully fully repay our Wefunder investors!

We spent the first two years of the business heavily focused on the brick & mortar concept with our scoop shops. It was a great chance to get an incredible amount of people in to experience Doughp in person and see our mission come to life firsthand, too, through various activations in the store. We were serving more than 20,000 new customers a month during the summer at the PIER, so I set my sights on our next tourist location and went to seek funding on a show you may have heard of!

I went to an open casting call for Shark Tank in San Francisco in 2018 and joined the approximately 120 entrepreneurs to be filmed that season out of more than 40,000 applicants! I was filmed for Shark Tank just 2 days before my 3-year sobriety anniversary… the gifts of recovery just kept stacking up!

I went in the Tank seeking funds for a storefront on the Las Vegas Strip! (Where better to bring my message of mental health & recovery than to the heart of Sin City?!) The Sharks had some incredible things to say about my skills as an operator:

  • Barbara Corcoran: “I don’t think I’ve ever met a more sophisticated store owner in my life”
  • Robert Herjavec: “You’re an amazing operator - in the top 10 who have ever walked through these doors.”
  • Mark Cuban: “Everything about this says it’s a great investment.”

In the end, the Sharks decided cookie dough wasn’t “healthy enough” and I left the Tank without a deal and it was the best decision I could’ve made! I found outside capital a few months later and was able to open a brand new cookie dough bar on the Strip in March of 2019!

Our first appearance on Shark Tank aired in May of 2019, and I was flooded with thousands of people who wanted to invest, open franchises, and some who just wanted to say how moved they were to see me sharing my sobriety on a national stage! Some had lost loved ones to the disease of addiction, others had loved ones still struggling… being able to bring up a topic otherwise so hidden in the shadows gave them comfort and that makes it all worthwhile.

2019 was a big year! I also got married (YAY!) and my husband wound up joining the company as co-CEO. It’s thanks to him we decided to double-down on e-commerce in late 2019. Incredible timing given what would come in 2020.

As the world came to a standstill, e-commerce was skyrocketing to new heights. Paid advertising was more effective than ever and we grew the business from ˜30 boxes a month in November of 2019, to shipping out more than 3000 boxes a week in April 2020! And we were able to net around $60,000 in profit that month, for example.

By late 2020, due to the tourism industry being hit hard by the pandemic, we made the difficult but necessary decision to close the physical storefronts and lean into what was working; e-commerce! Turns out this was undoubtedly the best choice we could’ve made and led us to closing $2.5M in online sales of our total $2.7M in 2020 revenue. NOTE: in every reference of revenues, we're referring to gross revenue.

After 2020’s operational growth spurt, by the end of that year we had our feet on the ground with a solid production & fulfillment network and were ready to look at what was on the horizon for Doughp to truly become a household name: retail!

We continued to grow our e-commerce business to $3.9M in 2021 and spent that year working on developing relationships with retailers and had an unbelievable response! They LOVED the product (many buyers saying it was hands down the best cookie dough they’ve ever tried… and they’ve had to try a LOT!) and they LOVED the mission and knew their customers would, too.

Doughp went from ˜20 retail locations in 2021 to more than 1000 retail locations coast-to-coast at some of the biggest names we could imagine by the end of 2022, including:

  • Costco
  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Kroger
  • Meijer
  • And more!

UNREAL! I had to pinch myself as we continued to get approval to launch in all these retail juggernauts. So cool to see us in-store in real life, knowing our message of mental health & recovery was making it into kitchens all over the nation!

In July 2022, we were invited to do a 4-day roadshow with Costco for a new location they were opening up and it was a massive success! We were the #1 selling frozen item that week, company-wide! We boasted an unbelievable 50% conversion rate during that event; for every 2 people that sampled our product, 1 person bought it. I had a blast getting to share Doughp with so many new people! (Plus, bonus points that I was able to meet the Costco CEO at that grand opening… he loved the Doughp and even went in for a second sample!) Costco has re-ordered and we’ll be doing three more roadshows this summer!

By the end of that year, we had to stop seeking new business and focus on the rollout of existing accounts and finding funding to support the marketing demands of this channel, too. The good news is:

  • Target expanded our storecount by 20% at the next review
  • Costco re-ordered another 3 full truckloads of product and has us on for 3 more roadshows this summer in Texas! Another region of Costco is also looking at bringing us in!
  • One of our big retailers is interested in taking us national this year saying they want to "move fast" after seeing us hitting benchmarks out of the gate and outpacing the category in a number of areas; This expansion will increase our door count to more than 4,000 in total!

Without the capital to spend on promotions, demos, and marketing for retail, we know there's even still so much room to grow! As our first year in retail wrapped up, my brain got to thinking about what else we could do. What maybe isn't getting across to a consumer when it’s sitting alone on a shelf vs. the times we’re there selling it like hot cakes at that Costco roadshow, for example!

Our first year in retailed boiled down to these key learnings:

  1. (1) Pricing: In some stores we wound up hitting shelves as high as $10/pouch of our snackable, bakeable bites! (OUCH!) That’s a steep ask for a new-to-brand person to try us out. Across the board, we knew we needed to get down from an $8-10 average retail price closer to the $6-7 mark. We’ve started rolling out this price decrease over the last couple of months and are seeing an impact!
  2. (2) Packaging: Being focused on brick & mortar and then e-commerce gave us a lot of space to explain. Explain who we are, what we sell, why it’s awesome, how it gives back to our mission and more! In retail, we’re granted approximately 5 seconds of someone’s time and from about 5 feet away. We realized our packaging needed to be updated to share the most key things: 1) it’s cookie dough and 2) your purchase supports a good cause. Our new design gets that across straight away!

(3) Promotion: Our sales in retail to-date have been largely just the product of them sitting on shelf and seeing how we can move the needle with our owned audience. We’ve put a mere ˜$60,000 in total towards retail promotions like Aisle. But with more funding, we will be able to lean heavily into sampling. When they try it, they buy it! Like the Costco roadshow we mentioned above, for every 2 people that tried it, 1 bought! We will be getting a demo crew on the road, region-by-region to support these retailers and introduce customers to the brand, and get Doughp into their carts!

    (4) Placement: This may have the biggest impact of all our learnings… where we’re at in the grocery store. We made the decision to launch in the frozen novelty set (think ice cream bars, popsicles, etc.) because of our shelf life. We knew having 1 year frozen could safeguard us from buy backs for expiring products. But we’ve learned three important things since then:

    1. (a) Our customers are looking for us in refrigerated cookie dough, not in the freezer. Nearly 80% of them in a survey with more than 1000 respondents said the refrigerated dough section is where they’d think we’d be in a grocery store.
    2. (b) Our refrigerated shelf life is actually better than we thought! With the packaging we use now and enhanced sealing methods, we’re near 90 days on a refrigerated shelf life. Double what we had previously!
    3. (c) The break n’ bake category is ripe for shaking up! It’s been long run by Nestle and Pilsbury and has seen incredible success from a new entrant who’s serving the gluten-free and vegan market. This break n’ bake category is a format that customers know and are looking for a product like ours. Doughp is able to hit the sweet spot serving customers who love gluten & butter but want to support an emerging brand, want more unique flavors, and want to know the brand is using ingredients you’d find in your own pantry. Check, check, and check!

      After 6 years and more than 6,000 5-star reviews from customers, one thing is for sure: Our product is incredible and our brand resonates with consumers.

    We’re stoked to put our learnings into action with our current retailers and our excitement is overflowing at what’s possible by navigating into the refrigerated cookie dough set where customers are looking for our product! There are new opportunities arising for us in the food service space that will really move the needle on revenue, as well. Up, up and away!

    After years of Doughp fans asking if they can invest in the business, it’s finally here. We are growing at light-speed and need additional capital to fuel this growth; including expanding our team and investing in R&D and marketing for retail growth. We’ve tested the waters last year, asking who from our community might be interested in investing through a Community Round petition and had over $100,000 pledged in a matter of days. See what they had to say below.

    Doughp has been the most fulfilling journey. It’s hard to believe one decision to get sober back in 2015 has led to this much, but it’s even more awesome to know we’re just getting started! Join the Doughp family and invest today.

    As always, Have a Doughp day!

    Kelsey

    Founder & Fearless Leader

    Doughp

    Investor Pitch Deck:

    Forward-looking projections are not guaranteed.

    Forward-looking projections are not guaranteed.

    Forward-looking projections are not guaranteed.


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    Overview