Real Women Doing Real Things: Dana Loia, Founder of Dana’s Bakery

If you love macarons as much as I do, then you probably know about Dana’s Bakery!  Dana Loia, founder of the infamous bake shop, tells us a little about how she started her brand and her best advice for other female entrepreneurs who want to start their own food company…

Tell us a little about Dana’s Bakery and how it came to fruition.

Former photo-editor, now trained pastry chef, Dana Loia is the creative force behind Dana’s Bakery. Drawn to french macarons for their delicate beauty and distinct texture, Dana was surprised by the lack of variety in flavors. Pairing these traditional french treasures with the desserts she grew up enjoying, Dana created the artisanal line of American-flavor inspired french macarons we all love today.

Officially established in 2012, Dana’s Bakery started out in a small kitchen located in Hawthorne New Jersey. Dana’s dream was to make these amazing and sometimes hard to find treats available for everyone to enjoy! The Dana’s Bakery family has grown in a big way over the last few years. The bakery now has 25 employees, two retail locations, and is sold nationwide through their online store and select wholesale partners.  Thanks to all the love and support from macaron-lovers nationwide, Dana’s Bakery is now a go-to resource for delicious french macarons delivered right to your door.

What’s a “typical” day for you?

Every day is a little different, and constantly keeping me on my toes. When I am not running to meetings or doing various work or press events I am in the office. NO matter what my day has in store for me, it always starts with a 5am I wake up call. I GET STARBUCKS, hit up a work out class around 5:30/6am. Either SLT, Tracy Anderson or Cross Fit at ICE NYC.

Home by 7:00am for breakfast and hangs with my daughter Leni and husband Adam before i head out for the day.

The days that I am in the office, I try to get in an hour or so before my team arrives (which is at 9am). I like to get to the office early so I have an uninterrupted hour or so to catch up on my emails take advantage of the quiet time before I am pulled in a million directions!

9-10am, I have internal morning meetings with each department in the company to go over the production schedules for the day.

9am – Head baker and production team to go over any customs pending and the production schedule

9:10am – Fulfillment team to go over pending orders and shipping schedules

9:20am – Customer service and sales to check in on their pending items and plan for the day

9:30am – Management meeting to talk strategy and other higher level business things!

The rest of the day goes by pretty quickly. It is split between recipe development, meeting amazing customers and clients who come through our doors. My favorite daily actives include creating content for social media and covering the day to day on our Insta Stories which allows me to interact with our customers and followers on a more personal level. I have an amazing team, we work hard but we have a lot of fun doing it.  Every day is a little different, so you never know when a company arm wrestling match or Chubby Bunny contest may take place.

How did you get your start as a baker in general?

I have always loved baking and entertaining. From a young age I  found myself taking a recipe, and changing some of the ingredients to make it a different (better in my option) version! I would bake with my grandma, would always bake to alleviate stress. When I decided to quit my job and follow my passion I know that I wanted formal training so I could really immerse myself in the culture and everything that is “pastry and baking arts.”  They say when you do something you love it doesn’t feel like work. And it’s true.  I used to work in restaurants nights and weekends, and attend school during the day. Both an important part of my training, between the two I was literally “working” seven days a week, sometimes from 6am – 2am. Going to culinary school was one of the best decisions i have ever made. I learned so much, and enjoyed every minute of my training.

What’s your best advice for women who want to start their own food company?

The first and most important thing would be appearance and taste.  Your product needs to look good. If it looks good, you are one step closer to getting people to chose yours over the many other products out there.  It also needs to taste good. If they chose you (because you look so good), try you, and LOVE what they ate, they will come back for more. Looks get them in the door, and taste/top-quality product keep them coming back and recommending you to their friends. It is a winning combo, and it applies to everything (retail product, service or company experience) – not just food, but anything.

After that, be involved and listen to what your customers want and what you can change to better fit their needs and demands. This helped me grow and evolve the business to the best version of itself. I will always be involved and listen to what our customers are saying so we can continue to grow as our customer base grows. There is always room for improvement. There is no better resource or feedback than those of your customers (or as I like to call them, “my people”).

What’s your favorite part of your job? Any moments where you felt truly proud?

Being a business owner and experiencing such rapid growth has really shined a light on my strengths and weaknesses. One of the things I love the most and am most passionate about about is interacting with people and working as a team to bring exciting products to market. I am a social person by nature and I like to think outside the box which naturally leads to making these fun creations. I enjoy creating, and the social element as well as building a team of like minded individuals who share my passions and vision, who all work together to bring these unique products to market.. My proudest professional achievement was when we outgrew our old space, and invested in a custom built facility and new technologies that have enabled us to scale.

What’s the one thing you wish you knew when you first started that you know now?

One of the hardest things for me was learning that I can not do it all. At a certain point you need to pass the torch on (some things) and hire people who can trust and depend on to do what you are doing if not as well but better.  Take a moment to acknowledge your accomplishments, each one is worth of celebrating!

For more info on Dana’s Bakery, make sure to check out their website and follow them on Instagram!

One Comment

  1. Laura Evans says:

    Enjoyed this colorful article!
    Fight On!✌️

    I saw you receiving an award at USC
    during graduation for my daughter receivedon one too!