Darling Donuts is bringing community together with their made-to-order mini donuts
Local donut business is fostering community while promoting inclusivity with vegan and gluten-free options
Alyssa Lancia, the founder of Darling Donuts, grew up in Stoney Creek. Her family ran a banquet hall and as such, she learned the ins and outs of running a business at an early age. Her interest in business continued as she studied business Human Resources at Western University.
After graduating and beginning to work in HR for a few years, she questioned if this field was what she was truly passionate about. Lancia remembered how she loved to bake and play around with gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan recipes during university due to her gluten intolerance.
“I've always had a love and passion for baking and cooking. When I was at Western, I remember. . .there'd be a lot of exams and midterms. I would procrastinate [because] I hated studying. So, I would just start baking random recipes from Pinterest,” said Lancia.
To help reignite her previous passion for baking, she got a mini donut maker and started bringing mini cinnamon sugar donuts to events and birthdays. During the Thanksgiving weekend of 2018, she then also began selling them on local Facebook mom groups . She received a huge, positive response and her business took off from there.
“I realized people like food [and] many things where you don't have to commit to [something] like a big slice of cake or a big donut. You can have a mini bite, not feel guilty and then try a lot of flavors,” said Lancia.
Darling Donuts is currently run in Lancia’s home and makes made-to-order mini customizable donuts. Pre-orders are collected through its website and Lancia recommends customers to pre-order their donuts at least two to four weeks in advance as she only bakes Fridays to Sundays.
Gluten-free and vegan options are also available to ensure everyone in the community can enjoy them.
By catering to customers with various dietary restrictions, Darling Donuts aims to bring together a community of people to enjoy their products. They hope their donuts can satisfy people’s sweets cravings and create special memories with every bite.
“Although we sell a product, we're about bringing people together to enjoy our sweet products [while] enjoy[ing] a lot of flavours and a little bit of sweetness in their life,” said Lancia.
While they have a set menu on their website, they are also open to new, customized flavours for their customers. When they release new flavours, they always include a gluten-free version and a vegan version so more people can enjoy them. Most of their products are also nut-free, though, they are not a nut-free facility and there is the possibility of cross-contamination.
In the future, Lancia hopes to collaborate more with other small businesses. She recently started “Work Nights”, a night where female small business owners can network and have fun once a month.
“It really got us a lot of positive traction to show [that] we're not just about sell, sell, sell, but it's more about what we're doing in the community . . . and it gets people to connect with you,” said Lancia.
More towards the future, Lancia hopes to continue to be able to showcase fun, new, exciting flavours while also working on automating their process to make it more efficient and move their business outside of her house.