Darci Hammer’s Doodle Eats was born from a simple question: “Why can’t gluten-free folks enjoy the same delicious food that everyone else is eating?”
After being diagnosed with celiac disease over a decade ago, Hammer had to take her culinary life “back to the basics very quickly.” It did not take her long to discover that the market was lacking in gluten-free alternatives for those who either need them, want them, or both. What was worse, products available at the time were, as Hammer puts it, “hardly imitations.” The quality, the flavor and thus the enjoyment were not there. Hence, the question above that drives the daily operations of Doodle Eats.
Philosophically, Doodle Eats turns the traditional approach to gluten-free eating on its head.
“Food is a core part of our lives,” notes Hammer, “Doodle Eats exists to make delicious food that everyone can enjoy and smile with every bite, and our products just happen to be gluten-free.”
As a woman and an independent business owner, there have been plenty of challenges to getting this vision to materialize. In addition to production and packaging, there’s an endless amount of quality control work and marketing. Learning how to leverage social media has been the crucible that every small business owner must undergo nowadays.
It’s all about, as Hammer observes, keeping people “just as energized about Doodle Eats as I am.”
The rewards for all the hard work have been tangible. Hammer has seen glowing reviews of her pies and breads from an ever-increasing number of satisfied consumers. She has also seen the reach of her products stretch out of New Hampshire into Massachusetts and Connecticut. Her steady focus on making delicious food has enabled Hammer to grow a customer base that outstrips just the gluten-free population. Her pies, in particular, have proved appealing across ages, palates and gluten sensitivities. The breads are generally tailored more to the gluten-free crowd, who are more than happy to finally have access to Hammer’s signature “gluten-free fresh rustic bread.”
Hammer’s advice for emerging entrepreneurs is to network, and learn as much as you can from the successes and failures of others: “There may not be a company that has been on your exact path … [but] there are plenty that have done something similar to learn from.” T
Michael Ferreira is a freelance writer and a philosophy instructor. He enjoys writing about literature, philosophy, people and places. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org