DoughP Before Shark Tank
Kelsey Moreira founded Doughp in 2017. Prior to launching the business, she had worked in corporate America for 10 years. Due to stress, however, she had developed “a really unhealthy relationship with alcohol”.
After becoming sober in 2015, she turned her attention to baking and rediscovered her passion for desserts. Instead of alcohol, she spent most of her free time in the kitchen, which she called “her happy place.” At one point, she experimented with vegan baking, substituting flaxseed egg instead of butter, but quickly found that she couldn’t let go of the latter.
Not long afterward, she perfected a cookie dough recipe that was safe to eat raw. Not only was it egg-free but it was also delicious and decadent.
Wanting to share her creation with the world, she quit her 10-year career in tech and officially launched her business, which she called Doughp. Soon afterward, she opened a small kiosk in San Francisco’s Pier 39; she also did corporate catering gigs.
Eventually, she decided to try her luck on Shark Tank. Driving to an open casting call, she arrived at 6:00 a.m. and found herself beside hundreds of other hopeful entrepreneurs. Three hours later, she was in front of the show’s producer, who to her surprise, loved her cookie dough.
Several rounds of video submissions and phone interviews later, she received the call that she’d been waiting for- that she would be filming for the show. Her segment was late included in the 22nd episode of the 10th season, which aired on May 5, 2019.
Doughp on Shark Tank
Kelsey walks into the tank and introduces herself as the founder of Doughp Cookie Dough. Seconds later, she tells everyone she’s seeking $450,000 in exchange for 10 percent of the company.
Jumping into her pitch, she reveals that she was born in Texas, raised in California, and runs the very first cookie dough bar in San Francisco. As the camera zooms in on the cookie dough, she mentions how nice it would be to relive their childhood and says they sell nostalgia by the scoop.
However, she emphasizes that “they’re anything but childish”. She points out that they already serve more than 20,000 customers every month and that they’d like to be in every city across the U.S. In fact, their expansion is already underway as they will be opening additional high-traffic storefronts in addition to franchising and expansion into supermarkets.
With her pitch out of the way, she invites the sharks to try some of the samples that she’s brought with her.
Wheeling a small cart toward the sharks, she hands each of them a small plate, which contains six different flavors, including a special vegan avocado cookie dough. Robert is the first to try the dough and immediately points out that it’s sweet.
As the rest of the sharks dig in, Kelsey goes over the flavors which include the O.G. Chocolate Chip, the Vegan O.G. Chocolate Chip, Cinnamood (White Chocolate Snickerdoodle), Raisin’ the Roog (Oatmeal Raisin), Chocoholic (Local SF Chocolate Served Three Ways), This Smore Is Hella Doughp (Marshmallow, Graham Cracker, and Chocolate). Robert says that he loves the names.
Kelsey goes on to say that the cookie dough is available in three different sizes: Self Control – 1 Scoop ($6), Legit – 2 Scoop ($10), and Fully Commit – 3 Scoop ($13). She also tells the sharks they have a storefront in Pier 39 in San Francisco.
Asked whether or not that’s their only storefront, Kelsey says yes- that it’s their only physical brick-and-mortar location at this time. She also tells the sharks that the picture on the screen is an actual picture of the store. She also reveals that they’re doing $11,000 per square foot. The sharks are impressed.
Barbara asks if they have any competitors. Kelsey says there are some competing companies including one in New York City.
Robert asks when she started the company. She tells him she started in April 2017, after working ten years in tech, which she had started when she was sixteen. Lori is curious why she started working so young. Kelsey tells her she started as a high school intern but that the work had put a lot of pressure on her, which caused her to develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
However, she states with a smile on her face, that she is now three years sober. The sharks congratulate her on their achievement.
Kelsey continues by saying they’ve done over $850,000 in sales over the past year and a half. Kevin asks about their net profits and she tells him they have a 35 percent net and cut ratio. With more prompting, she reveals that their net income for the current calendar year is $240,000.
Barbara asks about her plan and how she envisions the company moving forward. Kelsey jokingly says “World chocolate dough domination”, which garners laughs from the sharks.
Continuing, she tells them that she’s focusing on high-traffic storefronts. She also reveals that she’s currently in negotiations for a spot on the Las Vegas Strip, which sees more than 72,000 visitors a day.
Kevin asks about the $4.5 million company valuation, which he feels is too high for what they’re currently at. He also believes that competitors will eventually pop up. Kelsey compares her company to the Cupcakes business, which despite having a number of competitors, is still thriving to this day.
She also tells them they’re expanding into wholesale through grocery stores and various major chains such as Whole Foods. Asked whether or not they have any wholesale now, she says yes- that they have small jars of the product, which are just hitting the market, including the San Francisco Airport.
Robert praises Kelsey for being an amazing operator; he’s also impressed with her story and numbers. However, he tells her he’s not a fan of cookie dough and questions the number of people who do. Kelsey defends by saying that a significant amount of people do like cookie dough.
Mark can’t believe Robert doesn’t like cookie dough but the latter says it’s too sweet. Kelsey says people do like the product and that they make each scoop for $0.69, which they sell for $6. Mark claps and the other sharks are impressed at their margins as well.
However, Robert questions where their value is at $4.5 million. Kelsey says she came up with the valuation, which doesn’t include their upcoming Las Vegas location, considering the growth of their pier store and other sales. Asked what she thinks she’ll make from the eventual growth, she tells them they’ve been growing at a 25 to 30 percent ratio
Barbara says she’s never met such a sophisticated storeowner. Kelsey credits her 10 years at tech for where she is now and says she knows exactly where the company is headed but needs their help to get there.
Robert says he wishes it was something else as he can’t get past the cookie dough. He goes out.
Barbara agrees with Robert and says she’s also not a fan of cookie dough. Lori also agrees but says she understands how some people may like it. However, she feels that it’s not a healthy enough product for her and for that reason she goes out.
Kelsey reveals they’re also planning on releasing some snack-sized packages, which would offer portion control.
Before she can continue, however, Kevin jumps in and says that while she has proved herself to be a good operator, she only has $335,000, which she will presumably make from the $2.2 million over the next year, to distribute to her investors. He also puts her company’s valuation at $1.8 million after doing some math and states again, that the valuation that she gave was too high.
Kelsey says she understands as there are many different ways to do valuations.
Mark points out that Kevin does this all the time. To Kelsey’s disappointment, however, Kevin tells her he’s out.
Kelsey thanks him for his time and turns her attention to Mark, who is the only shark left.
Mark praises Kelsey for what she’s managed to do so far. She tells him that she needs his help as he has connections with stadiums and arenas. To her dismay, however, Mark isn’t too enthusiastic about investing in cookie dough as he claims, it will contribute to the recent rise in obesity. He ultimately goes out as well but wishes her the best of luck in her endeavors.
Kelsey respects their decisions and thanks them for their time.
In the exit interview, she states that the sharks made a mistake in not investing in her company. However, she’s optimistic about their upcoming store on the Las Vegas Strip, which she says, will bring tremendous growth to the company. Not only that but she’s also optimistic that e-commerce sales will go up.
Doughp Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
Kelsey might have walked away without a deal but that didn’t stop her from doing what she said she would. A few months after the episode aired, she landed another investor, who offered her $500,000 in exchange for an undisclosed amount of equity.
With that, she was able to open up a second brick-and-mortar location on the Las Vegas Strip in the Miracle Mile Mall, which sees more than 75,000 people a day. Not only that but they also installed a number of cooking dough vending machines in Las Vegas’ McCarren International Airport.
Shortly afterward, she and her husband moved to Las Vegas, where they continued to grow the business. The move also saves them money as Las Vegas’ income tax is significantly lower than California’s 9.25 percent.
And for a while, things were great. Not only were sales up, but she also made it onto the Forbes 30 under 30 list.
In 2020, however, things took a huge step back with the covid-19 pandemic. For one thing, she was forced to close her brick-and-mortar locations due to coronavirus-related restrictions. She also furloughed her staff during the peak of the pandemic, many of whom she’s known for years.
While she has since reopened the brick-and-mortar locations, traffic to the stores has gone down more than 80 percent. What’s worse, is that there are no signs that it will get better anytime soon. Kelsey also agreed that it wouldn’t be responsible for them to encourage potential customers to travel to their Vegas store given the health risks. They also haven’t been able to hire back most of their staff.
The good news is that their e-commerce sales have increased since the pandemic- from $50,000 in 2019 to more than $2.5 million in 2020. And by 2021, they had reached the $5 million mark.
Three years after appearing on the show, Doughp received an update segment, which was included in episode 1324. In the follow-up, she revealed that it was actually one of the sharks’ ideas that led them to their new product- Doughp Props, which are essentially bags of bite-sized cookie dough.
She also revealed in the follow-up that they are now in Walmart, Costco, as well as a number of smaller grocery chains. She also says that the jars of cookie dough were also available on QVC at one point, where they sold well, and that they will be inviting her back. She also reveals that their lifetime sales are at $9.4 million.
For those who are interested in trying their cookie dough, you can order their products directly from their website at doughp.com. They currently have 13 different flavors including Cold Brew Crew, PB Pretzel Crunch, and Feeling Lucky, all of which are limited editions. They also have a Mystery Cup option, which includes a random flavor.
Each 8oz cup, which is equivalent to 15 cookies/27 spoonfuls goes for $13, while their bite-sized bags go for $17 each (each bag contains approximately 30 drops).
On top of that, they also offer monthly subscription boxes, which include two 8oz cups in unique rotating flavors. If you want, you can even build your own subscription for $69. Gift boxes, which include two cookie dough flavors, a sticker pack, a confetti popper, and a customized note card, are also available for $54.
They also have an active Doughp crowd campaign, which you can check out at wefunder.com/doughp. As of writing this post, they have met their first goal ($220,000) with the help of 189 investors.