Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawn M. Belisle.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Dawn. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have been baking forever. Learned from my mother. Always entertained and cooked and baked but didn’t look at it as a business. I had a career as a lawyer practicing criminal law. I have been an attorney for over 20 years, first as a prosecutor in Fulton and Clayton County for 15 years and then as a criminal defense attorney since 2010. I continued to bake throughout my career.
Friends would ask me to bake for their events or would offer to pay me and that’s when I thought it could possibly be something to earn money on the side. I decided to actually give my company a name so that if I decided to make it a business no one would have the name I wanted for my business. I incorporated in 2008 but just as a formality and continued practicing law. My baking was mostly cakes and I had alcohol infused cakes with my Rum cake being the original. I added a couple other flavors to the cake line. In 2013, My friends started asking me about cupcakes (which I did not like at that time) and I was anti cupcakes. Cupcakes actually caused people to not want cakes anymore because they were much smaller.
So, I figured since there were so many cupcake shops and cupcake producers, I didn’t want to do regular cupcakes but would see if I can transform my infused cakes into infused cupcakes. I started experimenting with different flavor pairings based on drinks I liked or drinks that people would order at restaurants and social events. I took them to tailgating when I attended the Falcons games and they were a hit with the suggestion for getting them in the Dome. I did my research contacted the Georgia Dome food service department and got a contract in July of 2014 to serve them at the Falcons games and Dome events. In July of 2014 is when I decided to pursue my dream and make this a full-time business and start scaling back to eventually leave the practice of Law.
The cupcakes were then sold at Phillips Arena, Turner Field and NASCAR races at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Several local and national blogs, online articles and publications did stories on the cupcakes. We have since been in other articles, worked with a couple of liquor brands, attend festivals, events, Pop-Ups around town and was a contestant on Cupcake Showdown on The Cooking Channel in December 2016. Our goal is to open a non-traditional storefront in 2018 with a mobile cupcake truck and to start shipping nationally.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not smooth AT ALL! Getting the capital to scale is the biggest problem especially when one doesn’t have a lot of personal capital to begin with. Getting a loan is almost impossible if you don’t have personal cash on hand. Having the workspace, i.e. my own commercial kitchen, is also challenging because there are few commercial kitchens to work out of, they are usually very far and the cost to rent space can be very expensive.
Marketing is also a key element to getting the product in front of the people that will actually buy your product on a regular basis. Doing marketing yourself is very overwhelming and without help, it is difficult to get results. Again, having the funds to pay someone to help is also a challenge which goes back to having and getting cash to help the business operate and scale.
Delights by Dawn – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My company is a local online bakery that specializes in alcohol-infused cakes, cupcakes and other desserts. I am known for my gourmet cupcakes that are infused with different liquors. I have 14 different cupcake flavors and 6 different alcohol infused cake flavors. I am constantly trying to develop other unique or traditional desserts with the alcohol-infused twist.
I am most proud of the branding of my company that I have done myself. I am also proud of the products and the quality of the products that we produce. What sets me apart is the alcohol infusion of my products and also the uniqueness of the products I offer for those that want something more unique, luxurious and decadent for their desserts.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment was my acquiring the Georgia Dome contract in 2014 and the great publicity that I received from it because it was a barrier I broke offering alcohol cupcakes at NFL games.
- $45 per dozen for one flavor
- $47 per dozen for two flavor
- Website: https://www.delightsbydawn.com
- Phone: 6788520627
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org