Dough Baby just popped up on State Street, and all eyes are on the female trio running the show.
Meet Kristine Miller, Kathryn Gullickson and Hannah Ancona — owner, manager and pastry sous chef, respectively. With a heartening story to tell, the Badger Herald sat down with Miller and Gullickson to hear it out. And the hook? — they’re just getting started.
The following interview was edited for style and clarity.
The Badger Herald: What’s the story behind Dough Baby?
Kristine Miller: It’s kind of a concept we both [Miller and Kathryn Gullickson] had at the same time, thinking about what Madison needs as far as pastry and bakery. We’ve definitely been missing a small batch donut place that makes good quality donuts. Greenbush is awesome, but I think we’re ready to see the next level up.
BH: Dough Baby is all female-run. Did you go into this business with this goal?
Kathryn Gullickson: I think it kind of just happened organically. We just wanted to work in an environment that really created a culture of teamwork and empowerment — just feeling good at the end of the day. We brought Hannah [Ancona] in as our baker, and she worked with us prior to [Dough Baby]. We became this trio, and it kind of just snowballed into this symbol of female empowerment — like a girl gang, as we like to call it.
BH: Have you gotten positive responses to this?
KM: We actually have. People look on our website and see what our team is. I didn’t think it would be that unusual to be honest, that it was a woman-run business — but apparently it is. It’s pretty cool that people noticed, and we get feedback on that.
BH: Do you have a business mission?
KM: We definitely want to focus on women and children. Dough Baby is named after my son, and it’s close to our heart. I feel like that’s a demographic that needs all the support it can get, and is kind of undermined in our society.
KG: Kristine had been a pastry chef for years, and I think she saw a hole that needed to be filled. The thing that made me so drawn to the project was that she had this experience and she had the knowledge of local sources, and places where we can get really good ingredients. I think what a lot of people don’t understand is, yes, they’re donuts, but it takes a lot of time and it takes really good ingredients to make our product.
I think it’s putting the integrity back into donuts and actually being really proud of the product that includes so many local sources. You feel good about it because you’re not only utilizing the products around you and helping out smaller businesses while you’re making you’re own product, but you’re also putting out this really great product that you can be proud of. You can feed your kid and be stoked to give it to him because the ingredients are true and real.
BH: What advice do you have to female entrepreneurs?
KM: Wow, we’re so new. But it’s really surrounding yourself with a supportive team.
KM: We’re obviously friends, so we support each other on a friend level. Our partners at home — boyfriends and husbands — have total support. I think a lot of times people are in situations where they’re not necessarily getting that — and it is difficult. It’s a million hours a week, you never stop working, so you really need that backbone to get through the difficult process of opening a business. Obviously you need financial support, but I think [support] is almost bigger than the financial piece.
KG: The support and the team and having a passion, and an overall goal and a clear vision [is important]. If you just keep putting in the energy and putting in all the good vibes, I feel like you’re manifesting something good to happen. Just put your nose down and grind.