Katarina Poletto, Chief Dessert Designer and Founder at Dolled Up Desserts
Dolled Up Desserts is Hamilton’s award-winning gluten-free and vegan wholesale baking manufacturer. They make simple baking mixes and delicious treats for the not-so-simple diet, so you can enjoy dessert simply. By providing professionally crafted, verified allergen free baking mixes and baked goods, Dolled Up Desserts helps give the power over the enjoyment of baking and food back to people with dietary differences. Confidence is in their cake.
Katarina Poletto began Dolled Up Dessserts through the support of the SBEC Summer Company program (a micro grant and business mentorship program for students 16-29) in the Summer of 2016. In the Fall of 2016, Poletto had planned to attend grad school in Chicago for social work on a scholarship, but with the success of Dolled Up Desserts, Katarina felt she had made a lasting market impression and that the universe was showing her the entrepreneurial path was the way to go. She decided to pursue Dolled Up Desserts full-force.
The products of Dolled Up Desserts can be found in Hamilton (and various cities across the GTA) either as fresh baked goods or as premium baking mixes.
The prepared gluten-free and vegan baked goods can be found at locations like: Durand Coffee, Relay Coffee, The Kitchen Collective, Salty Espresso, The Mustard Seed Co-op, and more!
The gluten-free and vegan premium baking mixes can be found across Hamilton at locations like: Goodness Me!, Real Food Market & Kitchen, The Kitchen Collective, James North General Store, Goats in Motion and The Mustard Seed Co-op (plus locations in Brantford, St. Catharines, Burlington, Mississauga, Guelph, Waterloo, Barrie, Toronto and more)!
We asked Katarina a few questions about being a female entrepreneur. Here’s what she had to say:
Q: Any advice to women starting their own business?:
A: Live your brand. As much as what Dolled Up Desserts creates is incredibly unique and of professional quality, our brand is what builds our tribe. If you do not breathe, love and represent your brand in everything you do, then you will not be memorable amongst the competition, and let me tell you, the competition is FIERCE. I attribute our dedication to brand continuity as a large portion of our success, that and hustle. From the way I dress when I am at a market (victory rolls and a polka dot apron!), to the way we post on social media, to the way we name our products – since we invested (and are still investing) into making our brand genuine, when we put in the work, our brand becomes something people fall in love with instantly. Be confident and believe in your brand. Invest in your brand to be on point, 24/7. It might cost a lot, it might be challenging to maintain (I struggle with brand consistency all the time). Other entrepreneurs, whatever gender, will stand in your shadows if your brand is consistent and genuinely you.
Q: A business tool that you could not live without?:
A: Quickbooks by Intuit has helped me keep track of our growing customer base and their transactions. When I started the business I did all invoicing and client management manually. When it came to tax season, I had to spend extra time organizing my invoices, only then to discover I had clients with overdue invoices. Quickbooks really keeps me and my finances more organized so I can spend more time building my team and growing the business.
Q: Do you have a favourite female-owned business in Hamilton?:
A: Real Food Market in Westdale is hands down one of my favourite female owned and operated Hamilton businesses. I share my time at the Kitchen Collective with their production team most days and nights, so I would consider my team and their team to be friends. Lia, one of the partners and founders of Real Food Market, was the first member at the Collective that I got to know personally and professionally, and she has become a confidant, an advisor, a collaborator, a customer, and above all, a friend to me and my staff. Her partner Shana is a powerhouse and such a kind and smart woman too! I can’t wait to continue working with them in the future and growing our businesses in tandem. I should also mention, their red thai curry is the BEST in the city.
For more from Katarina and Dolled Up Desserts, follow them on social media!
Social Media Links
Youtube (This will be new and big for Dolled Up Desserts in 2018): Search Dolled Up Desserts