Sammy and Maddy Davidoff always had one goal in mind: To start a business or launch a product that can bring happiness to their customers. So they decided to combine their talents. Maddy has a culinary background, and Sammy worked extensively in PR and marketing. Their combination of expertise led to the idea of C.B. Dough. What’s the story behind this startup and how it brings happiness to its customers? Let’s find out.
While both sisters were brainstorming on business ideas, it was important for them to do something they and their customers could love. Their love for C.B. Dough is understandable considering their pre-C.B. Dough lives.
Maddy was developing recipes for major food and baking brands and testing recipes for magazines. Her baking experience gave her a deep love for baking. Meanwhile, she also learned the chemistry and science behind recipe development. On the other side, Sammy started her career in the PR industry, which is where she got introduced to some cannabis brands as clients (now we know why CBD infused cookies). She also spent time working on influencer marketing strategies as a freelancer. Sammy and Maddy never had to convince each other to start C.B. Dough. They were both instantly in love with the idea.
I was testing cookies five days a week. We love cookies, and cookies bring joy to people. And Sammy had experience with CBD. So, we decided on the CBD cookie business as a great way to help us achieve our goal (selling a product that brings happiness).Maddy
The sweet launch of C.B. Dough
Sammy was living in California, where CBD was (and still is) a booming industry. Her own experience with CBD and its calming effects first led her to consider creating a CBD product. Although CBD-based cookies were available at the time, they lacked the taste and quality Sammy was looking for. There were also no ready-to-bake CBD dough products. Sammy and Maddy got together and decided to do something about it.
Before we move ahead, let’s see what Harvard has to say about CBD. CBD stands for cannabidiol. While CBD is an essential component of marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant.
C.B. Dough is a health- and wellness-based brand that produces small batches of ready-to-bake CBD infused cookie dough designed to add some delicious calm to self-care routines.
The legally permissible amount of THC in CBD products is 0.3%, but each C. B. Dough cookie contains less than 0.1% THC, far under the permissible limit. Unlike THC, CBD does not result in a ‘high,’ but can have a calming effect on your mind and body.Maddy
There are many ways to consume CBD, but C.B. Dough wanted to do something unique – to combine CBD and an artisan baked product. As part of the development process, the duo also did plenty of research to understand the CBD industry and its growth potential. Both Sammy and Maddy wanted to solve a simple problem: lack of truly delicious CBD baked right products. The result was C. B. Dough.
How C.B. Dough differentiates its products?
Each ingredient that goes into our cookie dough is hand-curated and selected based on quality. Our sugar is only the purest cane sugar, not processed with bone char like the sugar in many mass-produced baked good products. We hand make our vanilla using Kentucky bourbon and quality Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans. We only use butter containing pure cream, no ‘natural’ or artificial butter flavor.Maddy
Additionally, C.B Dough uses brown butter instead of regular butter, giving a salty toffee flavor to the cookies. All C.B. Dough ingredients are natural or organic and are locally sourced. Each cookie also contains 15mg of CBD. The brand offers three varieties:
- OG: A classic, mouth-watering chocolate chip cookie
- The Reverse: A chocolate dough base with bursts of white chocolate chips
- Vegan: A vegan and gluten-free cookie made with old-fashioned rolled oats, almond flour, and almond paste
What strategies make C.B. Dough a success?
Initially, Maddy and Sammy planned to prepare the dough at a ghost kitchen in Denver and focus on retail distribution. However, like many other small businesses, C.B. Dough had to pivot its strategies due to COVID-19. But the sisters were quick and smart to understand the situation and adapt. They launched their website and started focusing on direct-to-consumer deliveries. Sammy and Maddy leveraged the power of the digital economy from day one. Now they are shipping cookie dough nationwide.
As we become more established, we’re starting to see more interest from retailers. They have never tasted such a delicious CBD based product and love the idea of selling the dough for their customers to bake at home.Sammy
The pricing is attractive too. Two jars with six cookies each retail for $30. As far as CBD products are concerned, the pricing is very competitive. Moreover, the customer receives an incredibly high-quality product. How about that?
Such high quality at low prices makes our margin smaller. But we believe in providing our customers with the best quality at reasonable prices. Remember our goal of happy customers?Sammy
At C.B. Dough, the sisters are also very serious about their environmental impact, highlighted by the use of recyclable glass jar packaging. In the future, C.B. Dough is also planning to start a program where customers can send back the empty jar and get a discount on their next purchase. How cool is that?
Not just another marketing strategy
The COVID-19 pandemic forced Sammy, a marketer by trade, to redesign the entire C.B. Dough marketing strategy. The new strategy had a big focus on leveraging the power of social media, especially Instagram. C. B. Dough has acquired many customers through the social channel thanks to influencer content, highlighting the cookies’ fantastic taste and quality. And, this social media word of mouth strategy is definitely working. Sales tripled from October to December of last year and are continuing to trend up in 2021.
As an owner, I regularly reach out to our customers and ask for feedback. We always get an overwhelming response that our cookies are great, the service is fantastic, and customers love the packaging.Maddy
However, one big challenge with any CBD-based product is regulations. For example, Facebook does not allow advertising for CBD products, and many payment processors do not accept CBD customers. UPS and USPS are the only companies that will deliver the products. It was not easy to start a business with such regulations and during a pandemic. Still, Sammy and Maddy did it, and their continued success proves their ingenuity when it comes to marketing and operations.
Our goal is to be available in every supermarket across the country eventually.Sammy
What strategic mistakes helped C.B. Dough grow even faster?
Initially, Maddy and Sammy tested some deliveries via ground shipping. Fortunately, very soon, they realized their mistake. Shipments took eight days to reach customers. By that time, the dough wasn’t in great shape. Now C. B. Dough is very strategic with its online ordering and shipment system, using 2-day shipping and dry ice. It has a higher cost, but the customer experience is as close to perfect as it can get.
Although not a mistake, another early shipping incident also proved highly educational. The learning happened when a customer did not receive her dough on time because her apartment complex didn’t inform her she had a perishable product. Recognizing the need to avoid this hiccup in the future, C.B Dough now sends its shipments with a “perishable” sticker.
Our goal is happy customers. If something isn’t right, we take that feedback seriously and always improve the customer experience. Our customer obsession is one reason we see a very high percentage of repeat and regular customers.Sammy
Finally, what advice do Sammy and Maddy have for our budding entrepreneur readers?
- Maddy is a firm believer in the words by Mark Twain, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Just do what you love.
- In the male-dominated CBD business, Sammy and Maddy have faced challenges, but they are incredibly proud to be a successful female-owned CBD company. They both advise female entrepreneurs to trust in their abilities and leverage the unique experiences they bring to the table.
- Maddy and Sammy treat their team like family and work hard to create an inclusive environment. The work is hard, but the reward is very “sweet” for this CBD cookie dough company.
Disclaimer: The information in the above story is provided by the startup and The Strategy Story takes no responsibility for the authenticity of the product and services offered by the startup. Reader’s discretion is advised.
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