Baked Goods

By Fung, Abby | Stanford Social Innovation Review, Spring 2008 | Go to article overview

Baked Goods


Fung, Abby, Stanford Social Innovation Review


Dancing Deer Bakery helps most when it keeps its eye on the bottom line by Abby Fung

In 1994, Patricia "Trish" Karter and two partners founded Dancing Deer Baking Company as an all-natural Boston bakery that sold cakes to upscale local restaurants and cafes. Today, the company sells more than half a million units of cookies, cakes, brownies, and mixes through national supermarkets, retail stores, and the Internet. Dancing Deer will generate $15 million in revenue for the fiscal year ending June 2008 and hopes to pass $50 million in sales by 2012.

Increasing sales means increasing social impact for this double bottom line business. Dancing Deer is located in and hires many of its 85 employees from Roxbury a low-income Boston neighborhood. Many of its employees are low-to-moderate income, minority, and female. Because Dancing Deer believes in motivating its employees and cultivating female business ownership, employees own a 10 percent equity stake in the business. In addition, Dancing Deer donates a portion of its proceeds to One Family Inc., an organization created by the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation to end family homelessness in Massachusetts. Since the philanthropic partnership began in 2001, Dancing Deer has contributed $200,000, says Toni Wiley, One Family's executive director. "We look forward to seeing our work grow as Dancing Deer grows."

Social enterprises can often have problems balancing business and mission as they scale up. But Chris Gabrieli, managing director of Ironwood Capital, a minority stakeholder in Dancing Deer, says, "They never use the mission as an excuse not to do well on the core business." Instead, by concentrating on its business strategy, the company has been able to serve its beneficiaries better.

Business First

For Dancing Deer, the integrity of its products lies at the core of its business. "First and foremost, we are a natural foods company, and we haven't changed that," says Karter. "People trust that we are who we say we are and people can experience that firsthand by eating our cookies."

Consistency for Dancing Deer means "pure food, no preservatives, [and] nothing artificial," says Karter. A multiyear winner of the National Association of Specialty Food Trade Award - the specialty food industry's equivalent of the Oscars - Dancing Deer refuses to compromise on the quality and purity of its products. This principle was put to the test in 1999 when Williams-Sonoma approached Dancing Deer about selling the company's molasses dove cookies in its retail stores during the holiday season. "They wondered if there was a way we could make it hold up for a four-to-five-month period, and there was no way we could do that without compromising the product because it would not be chewy or fresh or natural," says Karter. So she turned down a lucrative sales opportunity that would have doubled the company's revenues at the time.

But Dancing Deer quickly heard back from the kitchenwares giant. "Williams-Sonoma respected our decision and understood the value of a quality product. They came back and had us make a shelf-stable gingerbread mix for them, and we've had a very fruitful relationship with them [ever since]," says Karter. Williams-Sonoma became Dancing Deer's first reseller. Sales through resellers have since grown to make up 19 percent of the company's revenues.

Since that time, Dancing Deer has cultivated many other distribution channels. The company first sold its products in local specialty stores but eagerly tried new and different markets to expand regionally and nationally over time. "We broke into Bread and Circus [a supermarket chain in Massachusetts and Rhode Island that was acquired by Whole Foods Market] in 1996 and got distribution in Whole Foods in California in 1997," says Karter. "Whole Foods was our first national wholesaler. We also got a toll-free number in 1997, and that eventually grew into a Web business. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Baked Goods
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.