Updated: 5 days ago
SEPT 06, 2021
In our First edition of Meet Our Team, we have co-founder and chief-baker Daniek Godschalk, aka DG, who has been baking brownies for as long as she can remember. DG is here to tell us a little bit about her background and running a business.
Tell us a little about your family history and brownie baking, as it appears to be in your blood.
Both of my grandmothers from two different parts of the world used to bake for a living. My Mother’s mum in Mexico used to sell large quantities of baked goods to hotels and restaurants – even the Selfridges equivalent. On my father’s side in Curaçao, my Grandmother used to also bake for a living. Even today, the people of Curaçao remember her for her baking legacy, particularly as the island is small, so everybody knows each other.
My baking passion came from both sides of my family. I watched my Mum bake (inherited from her mother), and I also saw my Grandmother bake as well as my aunts. I started baking with friends at their houses after school. It became a tradition that if it was my classmate’s birthday or a school trip, I would bake. I grew up around many ladies who have baked their entire life.
Are the women in your family proud of you for continuing the baking legacy?
For sure! I think the element of being in London makes it even more impressive. As my family is from Mexico and Curaçao, London seems so far away. My family are honoured that I made it this far with my family recipe.
What made you switch from investment banking to baking brownies?
Both Ayo (co-founder) and I knew that we wanted to break out of banking and try entrepreneurship at some point. Ayo tried his hand at entrepreneurship at a young age. I remember him saying that he would sell cookies and drinks in the school playground, so he is used to buying and selling!
Was there a moment you realised brownies were the way you wanted to go?
One day I had made dinner for Ayo and his friend, and I served warm brownies for dessert with ice cream on top. Ayo’s friend told me the brownies were delicious and asked where I had bought them from. At this moment, Ayo had a lightbulb moment and said ‘this is what we need to build our business from’, and that is where it began. Soon after, we teamed up and started developing our recipe, designed the packaging, and well, here we are today. We had no idea that having a friend over for dinner would lead to us creating a business.
Where do you see the business going in 5 years’ time?
At the moment, we have different branches of the business; the online shop, pop-ups and now market stalls as well – there is a lot of potential in Vegan markets. If we can expand into all of these areas, we may also reach other cities too. Right now, we are based in London, but who says we can’t spread into other cities as well?
Have your expectations of running the business been met?
There is so much to running a business, particularly when you start out. My daily tasks stretch from running to the shop to grab flour as I’ve run out, to meeting clients at a charity event that are handing out DG Brownies. We want to understand every part of the business in order to grow and scale it, which means learning about it hands-on in every branch possible.
Ayo and I sometimes hand-deliver orders to our DG Family. When you deliver the brownies, the customer usually assumes that you are the delivery person rather than the co-founder of the business. I always try and chat to them to learn more about who enjoys our brand, and it’s good to see who is buying our products. In sum, understanding all areas of a business is difficult, but is important.
How many hours do you spend baking a day?
I think between 2-4 hours a day. If we have large orders, a pop-up, or a big corporate event I tend to spend more time baking. Once, however, I baked non-stop for 15 hours!
What do you enjoy most about your job as co-founder and baker?
I think the most incredible feeling for us is the fact that we created a brand, a product, with our own hands and we get to see people enjoy it. People are choosing DG brownies to give to their friends and families to celebrate their birthdays to celebrate occasions. So when they choose DG brownies it makes me think: ‘wow we’ve created something that didn’t exist before and now people are choosing our brownies to celebrate special occasions’. The rewarding feeling this gives me is like no other.
Outside of DG Brownies, where are we most likely to find you?
In an ideal world, on the beach. Growing up in Curaçao meant that I was surrounded by beaches. And not just any beach, but beautiful beaches. I’m like a fish, I love being in the water. In London, you would find me in museums and galleries; both Ayo and I love art, so when we aren’t working, this is how we spend our time. I’m also a massive foodie, so I love exploring London’s food and restaurant scene.
Thank you, Daniek, for taking time out of your day to speak with us.
Written by Fiona Philp
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