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Deanna of Deanna's Delights®
Plant-Based Baker's SCORE Pitch Event Led to Delight-ful Outcome

Deanna's Delights®, Deanna

Title / Role: Founder
Location: Laurel, Maryland
Formed in: 2018
www.deannasdelights.com
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My successes.

One of my biggest successes was that I was a runner-up in the 2021 Black Entrepreneur Pitch Event. That win led to a consultation with Magic Makers®. I used my runner-up win in my pitch to a grocery store. While the manager and staff loved my company's plant-based cookies, the regional office did not like our packaging. We took that feedback and upgraded our packaging which is the reason we were able to sell in select 7/11 stores, four locations at the University of Maryland, and in multiple Hudson’s throughout BWI Airport with more airport locations to come.  The preparation for and participation in the pitch event helped us focus on who we are and why our business exists.

What do you do?

Deanna's Delights is a healthy dessert company that offers plant-based desserts, free of the top 6 allergens - dairy, nuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, and crustacean shellfish. We offer soy-free options as well. Mothers can feel safe offering these desserts to their kids with allergies. The best part is that they are so delicious that people without allergies love them. We mostly sell online but have products in some retail outlets.

What inspired you to start your business?

It was 2013, maybe earlier. I was in the grocery store with my child who has allergies. They begged and begged for one of those boxed desserts full of allergens which turned the trip to the store into a nightmare. We left the store without finishing the food shopping. After that, I was determined to figure out how to make desserts as good as those in the store that my child would enjoy. And I did to such a successful extent that another mother told me that I had to "share these with the world."

It was 2013, maybe earlier. I was in the grocery store with one of my children who has allergies. They begged and begged for one of those boxed desserts full of allergens which turned the trip to the store into a nightmare. We left the store without finishing the food shopping. After that, I was determined to figure out how to make desserts as good as those in the store that my child would enjoy. And I did to such a successful extent that another mother told me that I had to "share these with the world."

What's special about your business?

Children with allergies are singled out because they can't eat what other kids are eating like at birthday parties. Kids with allergies can't eat the pretty birthday cake like everyone else. Instead, they had to settle for an allergen-free alternative that is typically dry, crumbly, and has a weird texture. People without allergies would have no interest in trying these alternatives. I flipped that switch with Deanna's Delights. I create allergen-reduced recipes that have great flavor and texture such that everyone wants to eat the allergy-reduced dessert, not the traditional one. No more singling out the kids with allergies!

What is your relationship with SCORE? SCORE client What influenced you to seek help from SCORE?

In 2021, I heard about SCORE DC's Black Entrepreneurs Pitch Event, decided to join, and was assigned a Mentor.

How SCORE helped.

My SCORE mentor helped me through my pitch preparation, supported me during the competition, and gave me feedback after the competition. In fact, I contacted my mentor just recently to talk about funding sources and he quickly responded. I love that SCORE gives me access to free business resources and expertise.

What's great about my mentor?

My mentor was very responsive and supportive. He gave me great feedback.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

Take advantage of your local library. They have numerous resources. Use SBA's Small Business Development Centers and SCORE. Surround yourself with supportive people. Try your idea out on people outside of your immediate family and friends to test the marketplace before you invest thousands of dollars.

What would you tell a fellow business owner about SCORE?

Every person starting a business should get a SCORE mentor. It's free and you get access to business tools, resources, and a great mentor. The support that SCORE provides is invaluable.

Additional media
Deanna's Delights® Plant-Based Cookies
Deanna's Delights® Plant-Based Cookies
My mentors
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712 H St NE PMB 98848
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Washington, DC 20002
(410) 962-6195

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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