Kelsey Moreira

Founder of Doughp

Serving up nostalgia with every scoop and curating dope moments of self-love, Doughp – the legit cookie dough company, burst onto the dessert scene in 2017 in San Francisco. After a journey in self-discovery and sobriety, founder Kelsey Moreira renewed her love for baking and inadvertently created an amazing edible cookie dough recipe from scratch that can be enjoyed either raw or baked. Kelsey recently took Doughp on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank and she was named in Forbes 30 Under 30 for how quickly she’s grown this business and her mission-driven mentality behind it.

Doughp continues to take the world by storm, shipping thousands of boxes nationwide every month. Best of all, not only is Doughp sweet on the outside but it’s sweet on the inside with its long-standing mission to bring attention and awareness to mental health and addiction recovery with raw truth. #Doughp4Hope is their national campaign giving back to the community by prioritizing mental health for employees and guests alike – and donating a portion of every purchase to the SHE RECOVERS® Foundation, providing life-saving resources to women in recovery.

Where did the idea for Doughp come from?

After 10 years working in tech and struggling with alcoholism, I finally made the decision to get sober. I found so much peace with my time baking in the kitchen – it really became my happy place! I rediscovered my passion for dessert and was overjoyed by the idea of building something that was truly MINE after 10 years working for someone else’s vision at Intel. In February of 2017, after baking vegan for a few months, I found a great substitute for raw eggs – but I loved butter WAYYY too much to let it go. So I found myself digging into my cookie dough recipes raw and much more guilt-free without the risk of salmonella!

I knew I wasn’t alone in my cookie dough indulgences and thought how cool it would be to share a scoop of dough with friends/family without having to sneak a bite! In April of that year, I was set to have my sabbatical from Intel – 10 weeks paid vacation to travel the world. Instead, I readied myself and set off to start a cookie dough company! From there, the company grew into more than I could have ever imagined! I quit my job at the end of those 10 weeks and focused full-time on making Doughp what it is today.

I have built Doughp into a platform to influence, inspire, and spread joy with our #Doughp4Hope initiatives. Mission-driven, cookie dough fueled!

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Typical day begins around 430am, I start the day with a quick workout – indoor cycle or a yoga session on a fitness app, saves time vs. my old commute to the gym! I do a quick meditation on TenPercent, great training app that helps me manage the onslaught of thoughts flying through my brain (yes it starts running the moment I open my eyes!). I make a smoothie, cup of coffee and head up to my desk. I work to make it productive by religiously living by my Asana! I keep all my tasks in Asana and each day review the meetings I’ve got and line out in my journal what I’ll do in each 30 minutes slot of the day surrounding any meetings. I also work tirelessly to group meetings together to allow for more deep work time. I go to bed by 730/8pm most nights and get up to do it again the next day!

How do you bring ideas to life?

I’m a big proponent of just DOING it. I just go, try it in a low cost method, get feedback and either trash it, or fuel it. We do this with new flavor releases, new products, etc. I just love to get it out there and see how people respond and adapt on the fly.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Given Doughp’s focus on our mission, it’s exciting to see so many other businesses slowly start to speak up about mental health! I am constantly trying to influence other employers to put mental health policies to work in their company and just generally make it a more acceptable topic at the “water cooler” – even the virtual ones we’re in these days!

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Meditation is a real game changer. It’s more than a buzzword. It’s really a super power. The more regularly you can adhere to finding a 10-15 minute window to meditate before you jump into the day’s chaos, or before you close your eyes to sleep, it’s like a little reset for your brain to be able to tackle things with a more level head, evaluate what’s most critical and just make the most of your day!

What advice would you give your younger self?

LISTEN – to others, and your gut! Take the early days to listen and soak up the valuable feedback that you’ll get direct or indirectly from your customers and data. Changes down the road will be much more costly than now!

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

You don’t need to drink to have fun. It’s hard to believe – I know, BUT it’s the real deal. I have MORE fun, and MORE meaningful relationships as a result of my decision to stop drinking. People like me for who I am, we talk about stuff that really matters and have plenty of fun things to do and see that we get to remember. PS: No hangovers!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Every day I find time to connect. Who else should I know? Who else could I learn from? What’s happening on LinkedIn? Chiming in on conversations on LinkedIn or accepting a seemingly one-off intro request often have led to incredible things!

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Our mission-driven mindset has been the best “strategy” we’ve employed, but it works because it’s authentic. Doughp is here to remind the world it’s ok to not be ok. As a result of our mission and in-person experiences, for the first 3 years, we operated almost entirely off word-of-mouth marketing! I only started venturing into paid advertisements at the end of 2019!

We put a lot of effort into our email and text marketing to make sure our customers know what’s happening in the Doughp world and strides we’re making to break the stigma around mental health & addiction recovery. I’m selling cookie dough, which at the end of the day is a commodity. What I’m really selling is a movement people can be a part of and connect with. A reminder that they’re not alone in whatever they’re facing! The fact that the cookie dough is ridiculously delicious is the cherry on top!

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I had to come to terms with the insane costs and operational challenges of running a brick & mortar storefront. The opportunity to scale the company at the speed and size I wanted would present many more challenges with physical locations versus online. Given the pandemic, we saw our brick & mortar business drop 82% YoY, but luckily we were prepared to pivot and had been steadily growing our presence online.

Turned out we needed that more than ever as we shuttered our last physical storefront in October in a commitment to the online business. In 2019, we’d sold ~$50k online. By February 2020, we’d already surpassed all of 2019’s online sales. In 2020 our online sales passed $2.5M … THATS A LOT OF DOUGH! I’m so proud of the team that helped us get here. Being able to roll with the punches and move towards what IS working.. It’s been surreal. *Pinch me.*

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If I could start another business right now it would be a canned mocktail business! I had this idea when I started Doughp and – you know which way I leaned.. But the growing movement of sober curious individuals is a really lucrative way to shake up an otherwise archaic industry!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I just discovered a great meal prep company we found here in Vegas called FoodieFit — really incredible for my fast paced days to be able to pop a super healthy meal into the microwave and have it be actually good for me, preservative free etc. Best of all — no dishes! I’m back up and at it in my office within 15 minutes!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Asana is my go to! I love their mobile app for when I get ideas on the fly, I can schedule a task to explore/follow up on that idea in a week or whenever. It really keeps me organized on the “what must happen today” train so I don’t get side tracked on less important tasks.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

My all-time favorite book is You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. Great read and was the catalyst book for me; I read it and quit my job within a couple of months. 😉 Watch out!

What is your favorite quote?

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

Key Learnings:

  • A mission-driven mindset can change the game for your company’s trajectory and ensure you’ve got a lasting community instead of one-time buyers. Bonus: you’re helping change the world in some way!
  • Use a tool to prioritize your tasks, and take the deliberate step of mapping out each 30 minutes of your work day so you stay on track, distraction-free for real deep work time.
  • Sobriety is awesome! Choosing to not drink can give you more energy and time back, bring you more meaningful relationships, and give your business the best chance of success having you focused & in the zone, all the time!