The Rise Of The Cookiepreneur
dana dewedoff is very well-rounded, and if you check out all of her experiences under the age of 30, you will understand why. but while it may seem like she really has done it all, Dana will tell you that there is still more for her to try.
"It's important to change the way you pursue success. Each of us is born unique with our own gifts and each with our own potential that is unlike any other. A lot of people have passions but perceive success as only wanting to see themselves at the top, and therefore take the safest road in life, rather than pursuing their own path to true happiness by unlocking the gifts and potential that is already inside of them. I know that I have taken the road less traveled, and that means I have taken a number of risks, but I am thankful for navigating my life this way because I can honestly say that I have given many of my gifts a try."
dana can be seen wearing a number of a different hats-and it may seem like she is everywhere-but her true home has always been in the kitchen baking. and for those who know her personally or professionally, spending time with Dana also means eating the cookies she brings along.
"I bake thousands of cookies throughout the year; and I guess it's kind of funny, but I leave them on friends' doorsteps. And then run away. I bring them along to business meetings. You just never know who could use a smile, and I feel like my cookies have the power to do that. I know baking does that for me. It truly makes me happy."
dana has been known as the 'Cookie Girl' since the age of 14. while most girls her age were spending time in sports, she spent most afternoons perfecting her now signature chocolate chip cookie. but it was at the age of 16, that dana truly knew she had a gift. because that is what her boss, Charles Manning of Peter Pan Bakery in Moorestown, new jersey, told her one winter afternoon. dana learned a lot from working in that bakery, but felt she didn't need to be the one stocking cookie and donut shelves and cleaning dishes. she would often look back in the kitchen and wish she was the one creating. all she wanted to do was give her pieces of happiness to the world.
"Well, I will never forget the day I put out samples of my own baked and brought-from home cookies on the counter for customers to try. I loved watching their smiles as they took bites of my own creation. I did it because I felt really empowered after giving a box to Mr. Manning one afternoon. He looked at me, took a cookie out from the box, flipped it upside down, and told me that I had "a gift." He also said, "they aren't brown-bottomed." Then he took a bite. I knew right then that I no longer needed to be the one greeting customers and cleaning dishes. And after Mr. Manning passed away, I left my job in order to pursue my passion at Wegmans Bakery."
at 17 and 18, dana baked cookies at the store. but it was not an upgrade. She would open the freezer, open a box of pre-packaged dough, line up the frozen balls of dough onto the parchment paper, and put the trays back on the rack to be baked. the only real creativity she got to experience was when a team leader would let her decorate the sugar cookies. but this of course, was not in her job description. and dana found herself again, not challenged.
"I recall asking the manager if I could be promoted to create behind the scenes. Many times, in fact. But he told me that my smile was an asset and it's what sells the cookies. And that was when my dreams of owning my own cookie shop someday were shattered. Shortly after, I did leave the bakery, and I began to limit my baking to Holiday's and Special Occasion's."
for dana, that meant working along side her mother to put together hundreds of cookie gift boxes during Christmas For friends and family. she would bake, her mother and grandmother would wrap. as for the other months in the year, dana would go all out for her children's Birthday parties or offer to bring cookies to a political event or family gathering. any excuse really, to bake, dana was all in. this went on for many years. until 2015.
"Some bad things happened that year. But by the Fall, it was like a switch went off inside and I began to bake like I was 16 again. I used baking as a way to center myself. And connect with my children."
And she hasn't stopped since. her cookies are now on the rise and a part of her own personal brand. She sold a few thousand cookies to raise money for the Alzheimer's association and she was even featured on the news. I think it's safe to say that dana has used her passion of baking to persevere through the tough times. and caused a few hundred smiles in the process.
"When people showed up to support my bake sale for the Alzheimer's Association, I realized that I was using my gift to the fullest. My kitchen was full of help. We had volunteers. Customers. People interested. People encouraging me. And I just knew I was on the right path. I felt so much love. That to me was success."
In the fall of 2017, Dana was looking t0 wear the baker hat again. this time, to offer her signature cookies for purchase during the holiday season. with of course, one more thing in mind. since she loved to help others she wanted to make sure her cookies also benefited a cause. so she approached her husband joseph carney jr. asking him for guidance. he told her to create her holiday cookie business for a cause. dana took her passion to the streets.
and she asked him to join her.
And just like that, Carney's Cookies was born.