Cookie Dough Revolution

Photography By DO, Unless noted.

Kristen Tomlan, a business owner, solved an age-old problem between the deliciousness and fear of salmonella. DO Cookie Dough Confections is safe to eat both raw and baked. This allows everyone to enjoy their cookie dough in any way they like.

(c) Evan Sung

What are the roots of your love for baking? What makes baking so special?

My mom is a professional chef so I was able to learn all about baking and cooking from her. Baking has been a source for happiness, comfort, and sometimes even therapy. Baking is a wonderful process that transforms simple ingredients into delicious treats. It’s an outlet for creativity in many ways. Baking is all about sharing. Baking is for special occasions, celebrations, as well as for our friends and families. It has always been about sharing that joy.

Were you allowed to eat raw cookie dough growing up? Which is your favorite type of baking?

I was allowed to have unbaked cookie dough. Cookies were my favorite thing to bake. I was allowed to have some of the dough. It was a family favorite. When I made cookies, I always had some cookie dough left over to give my dad after he returned from work.

What was the impetus for creating DO? Did other names have been considered?

My “aha!” moment occurred during a girls trip to Philadelphia. The cute cookie shop was open for business, so instead of buying freshly baked cookies, we purchased a frozen tub of cookie dough. This cookie dough could be used to make homemade cookies at home. As we sat in our car, I thought, “Why isn’t this a thing?” I wanted somewhere to eat my cookie dough straight from the bowl, right out of the oven, or mixed with ice cream. It was called “DOUGH” from the very beginning, because it was all about cookie dough. However, I wasn’t going to spell it the traditional way so I came up with DO.

(c) DO

How daunting was the idea of starting your own business?

The idea was overwhelming. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t have any experience running or starting a business nor in the food industry. Trusting my gut and leaning on my husband, along with a few good friends, advisors and advisors, I didn’t let my doubts slow me down.

In what ways did your previous career in experience design help you with DO?

My previous career helped me immensely. My previous career was in designing retail environments and customer experiences. I also came up with innovative concepts for clients. This taught me to look at every moment of the customer journey and think about what memorable moments will keep them coming back. It was much easier to do it myself and for a cause I believed in than it was for others.

What was your thought process when establishing branding for DO?

I wanted it bright and colorful. Cookie dough is a nostalgic experience. Since everything cookie-related, including the cookie scoop, measuring cups, and mixing bowl–is circular, I knew that I wanted to use circles.

Were you surprised by the success of DO?

I thought that DO would be a big hit but was stunned by the response. We had to open four-hour lines. I was blown away by the response! It was amazing to see that there were so many people who shared my love for cookie dough.

What is it like having a business in New York City? Why did you choose Greenwich Village over other options?

I love New York City so very much. Because of its central location and easy accessibility to public transport, Greenwich Village was the perfect choice. It is located in the heart NYU’s campus, sandwiched between fashionable SoHo and bustling Union Square. New York is amazing but it also has its challenges. It’s also expensive which makes it hard to start a business.

What keeps you excited about running a business?

I’m an incredibly creative person. It’s always fun to come up with new ideas and launch new products. It’s all about spreading happiness, and the best thing about my job is seeing the joy my business brings others.

(c) DO

What is your best seller? What are your favorite seasonal flavors?

Our Signature Chocolate Chip is our most popular recipe. It was the first one I created. This cookie has warm, nostalgic vibes. We strive to make all the traditional cookie flavors available, but we also enjoy playing up cultural and seasonal moments. These seasonal flavors are inspired by wherever we travel. Some of these flavors are inspired by childhood sweets, favorite desserts or travel destinations. You can also submit flavor suggestions online or in-store.

Was it difficult to create a cookie dough that was safe to eat raw but could also be baked?

It took a lot trial and error, lots of experimentation and so much tasting. It was simple to duplicate the recipe across all other types of cookies once I had cracked it. To ensure safety, we use pasteurized eggs as well as heat-treated flour.

What age group enjoys DO the most?

It’s a wide range. Our sweet treats are loved by children, but adults often act like children again when they sit down to eat cookie dough. We believe there are options for everyone, even vegans and gluten-free.

In what ways have you expanded the business? Are there any future plans?

The business was started online as a direct-to-consumer. We have opened numerous retail locations and pop ups since inception. We also launched a line baking mixes and flour, as well as AcaDOmy (now virtual baking), and launched many new products. I also wrote Hello, Cookie Dough.

How would your friends describe you?

Funny, thought-provoking, determined, strong. What advice would your first-time entrepreneurs give? Trust your gut. Only you can know your business. Your vision is yours, so go ahead and make it happen.

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