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Inspiring Conversations with Stephanie Dolly of Dolly’s Delights™️

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Dolly. 

Hi Stephanie, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started in 2016! Knowing my whole life that I wanted to own my own business like my dad! I’m a single mother of two and I wanted to give my children the best life possible so they didn’t endure some of the same struggle I had to… I went through many ideas and business plans but one day I just began baking something that came natural. As a child, my mother would have us kids in the kitchen helping daily. Pretty much all the Dolly women can cook! One day I made cheesecake in a jar and mini sweet potato pies, something I felt I could call my own. Once finished I uploaded pictures to my Facebook pg and the rest was history! Immediately the orders began. At the time I was living in Georgia but my plan was always to go back home. Well, it was time! I didn’t have much so I packed up my kids and sold what little things we did have and I got us back home. The transition wasn’t easy but I knew I was on to something and by all means, I’d try it out and if failed I would do something else! First thing I did when home was borrow 40$ to get supplies and made my first batch of jars in Michigan to get started. Again, after posting pictures of my product the messages began, I had sold out time and time again. My only knowledge of business was the research I was doing online myself to scale and grow my business. At the beginning, it was tough living with others until I found my home! I’d get backlash and talked down by the homeowner asking why I’m doing this, basically saying there’s no money in it so get a job. I knew I had to push, keep going and ignore the hate. The ultimate goal was to keep business flowing until I get into my own home. I sucked it up, I started selling more, making connections, taking classes, and had made a name for myself in the community! I had a good product! From class to competition to trade shows and seminars I took what I knew and learned and made a name for my bakery here in Grand Rapids, MI! I’ve faced many obstacles as a black business owner and a single mom. I think both reasons as to why I can’t quit! No matter how tough, I remember that I’m doing this for my children and I do this for other entrepreneurs that think they can’t but actually can. Within 1-2 years I had pushed myself out of my home and into a commissary kitchen. This allowed me to become a licensed retail bakery in the state of Michigan. Without much help or direction, I paved the way for myself! I reached milestones that they said couldn’t be done and I’m a role model for others who think they can’t do it! I’m not a graduate of college and I don’t have a pastry chef degree! I had to learn laws and operations. I personally took steps to separate my business and myself from what’s shown. I’m now able to say, this is the correct way to do it. Many people cook out of their homes to sell and it’s actually not against the law. I started under the Michigan Cottage Food Law and then grew a following for my business before I moved out of home and into an establishment! The last six years have been hard work and dedication. I had my first grand opening Feb 2020, it was awesome!! We had each news station out, many customers old and new and had just got the city of Comstock Park excited about our new bakery! The buzz was great I was meeting more people and getting more connected and Covid-19 came! I took a hit with many other small businesses and it basically shut me down! It was quick, one day nonstop orders the next day the government had shut the world down. These past two years has not been the easiest for me. I never fully closed but always took orders for my customers because they needed me! This had been made into my new norm, it sucked! I had to have faith and be patient, to know God makes no mistakes. I knew I’d be back on the scene again! It’s now 2022 and I’m just getting back out here to reopen the store! Since Covid we have gotten a new push cart and dessert truck! I’ve acquired new licenses and adapted to the new way of the world. Currently, we have pickup in-store and we’re mobile, you may order online, door dash, or grub hub. Look for us downtown Grand Rapids and around the city with our cart or contact me today with your order! 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Nothing worth it comes easy! I had to do a lot of research. I also had to keep a positive outlook that would prevent me from quitting before seeing results! Not much starting funds, no business loans or funding! I had to start by cooking in someone else’s home while being ridiculed. Haters (people that laughed and talked bad) no helpers (employees) no knowledge of bakeries, laws, and very little directions.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a small business owner! I own a small bakery! We specialize in cheesecake, pies, and customized cakes. I’m known for my cheesecake and banana pudding in a jar and my custom specialty cakes! I’m set apart by my price it’s very reasonable and I give each individual customer a chance to customize their order to their liking! I’m most proud of the recognition of my company, I hear great things about my product from taste to presentation! I’m personable with my customers and we try to accommodate every need or want. Along with the usual ordering of products I offer I also do events, parties and offer dessert packages 

Any big plans?
My plans for the future are to scale my business to become not only a bakery but I am working towards having my product in grocery stores around the world! It may lead to a re-package and a slight rebrand but that is an ultimate and attainable goal I plan to reach very soon 

Contact Info:

  • Website: DollysDelights.co
  • Instagram: Dollysdelights15
  • Facebook: DollysDelightsgr


Image Credits

News 17
Jaime cheeks photography’

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