This is a follow up story for Dollop Gourmet. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 5 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Heather Saffer and I’m the founder of Dollop Gourmet. Dollop Gourmet is a line of better-for-you delicious vegan frostings. Our frostings are made without soy, gluten, dairy, or animal by-products and contain less sugar than traditional frostings.
Dollop Gourmet frostings are sold in retail stores and direct to customers through dollopgourmet.com.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
The biggest news is that Dollop Gourmet was acquired by a really great Canadian company less than six months ago. These guys are experts in the industry; they’ve been making frostings and glazes for over forty years. I’ve been working with them on the brand ownership transition and I’m excited about the future that Dollop Gourmet has in store.
A great way to build your network is to genuinely help others when you can.
Under the new ownership, we’ll be improving the quality and flavor and launching some new products. Dollop Gourmet is the perfect addition to Mimac's portfolio as Mimac is mostly focused on business to business and Dollop is focused on consumer products. We’ll be keeping all the same brand properties Dollop has always had, such as vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and lower sugar, but we’ll be introducing some new equipment to improve texture and mouth-feel.
This truly is the best partnership that I could’ve hoped for. I spent several days this past summer in Toronto working with Mimac and we really had a blast. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Dollop under this new ownership.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
One of my biggest lessons was how to sell a company! I knew in my mind I was ready to sell but finding the right buyer took longer than I anticipated. Even after finding the right buyer, I didn’t realize how long the process would be to actually close the sale.
This all started when an individual reached out to me saying he had a few investors and they had an interest in acquiring Dollop Gourmet. I decided I was ready to move on and that the timing was right, so I proceeded to discuss an acquisition with them. We negotiated directly and with our lawyers for a long eight months before the deal fell apart. We just couldn’t agree on terms and I had to walk away. The entire process cemented in my mind that I was ready to move on and pursue an acquisition with someone.
Once I knew for certain that I was ready to sell my company, I started reaching out to brokers and potential buyers. I listed the business with two different brokers. The problem with the brokers was that they were mainly passive sellers, meaning they listed the business for sale and then waited for potential buyers to contact them. The process of responding to inquiries and vetting potential buyers took longer than I liked, therefore, I decided to take matters into my own hands and start searching for a buyer myself.
The first thing I did was reach out to my contacts in the industry and let them know I was ready for acquisition. I then decided to socially share my intentions. If people don’t know your intentions, it’s hard to get what you want. Almost immediately I was contacted by a company who said they had been following my journey for a few years and were interested in discussing an acquisition. Although the negotiations with this company were much smoother, easier, and all-around more pleasant than with the investor team, the sale still took about six months to close.
Another big lesson this past year was about what happens after you sell your company. What do you do next? My business was my identity for so long that I started to question who I was after the ink dried. As an entrepreneur, it’s a challenge to not pressure yourself to figure out “what’s next” immediately. How do you find your next business or career? How do you start over from scratch? What do you want to do with your life? These are questions I found myself grappling with.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
I will be helping Dollop Gourmet ad hoc where needed but the acquisition frees me up to pursue my next passion which his helping animals. I’m launching a new apparel and gift brand in the next day or so that I’m very excited about it because it’s close to my heart. The brand is called, Heather & Donald and all of the designs are one of a kind hand-drawn designs by me. My main goal with Heather & Donald, Donald is my rescue dog, which is to raise money for animal rescues. There’s nothing sweeter to me than seeing an animal live their best life. I’ll be donating 20% of all net profits to different animal rescues every month. If you want to be one of the first to shop for a cause go to HeatherandDonald.
Heather & Donald emerged when I was trying to figure out what’s next for me. I started pursuing several different ideas but none felt quite right. I felt like I was trying to push myself in certain directions because of what “people” thought about me and what “people” would think would be the next natural pursuit for me. Eventually, I got so frustrated with myself that sat myself down and wrote out what I truly love, what my hobbies are, what I look forward to each day, and what always makes me smile: Animals, desserts, and wine. So I started thinking about how I could tie those three things together and achieve my ultimate desire to help animals? That’s when I started doodling the three things that make me smile - animals, desserts, and drinks - and I thought hey, these are cute, maybe other people will think so too. I worked on several more doodles, built a website, and now I’m about to press “Live” and allow others to share in the vision!
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I’ve mostly been reading fiction the past year. Reading fiction is a great way to escape and unwind. Earlier this year I read Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson and got really into building a funnel because of it.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Don’t be afraid to help other people, even if you’re busy. A great way to build your network is to genuinely help others when you can.
Perseverance is the name of the game. Most people succeed because they just never give up.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. It’s easy to fall into the comparison hole but you’ll never get where you want to be if you’re stuck in a hole.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
I’m just getting started with Heather & Donald but I’ll be looking for some complementary brands and animal rescues to partner with. If you think we’d collaborate well together then please reach out!
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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