Thanks to a collection of young Sydney entrepreneurs, desserts are now just a click away. Due in large part to the growth in online shopping, instant accessibility is rapidly becoming the norm, and dessert makers are taking note. They’re delivering raw chocolate, doughnuts, cakes and more.
The options are as varied as they are creative. Woah! Nelly Bakes and Grumpy Donuts lead the pack in the doughnut department. Fluffë is setting the standard for bespoke fairy floss (which is a real thing these days). Booza Ice Cream covers the frozen side of things. Raw, vegan chocolate is available via Damn Good Chocolate and Love Little Chocolates is new on the scene.
“You want to be able to get anything with the click of a button these days,” says Samantha Cordingley of Damn Good Chocolate. “The common theme is we have less time; we want things to be easy and less effort, and delivery sums that up.”
Whether it’s because delivery in the food and retail industries is now commonplace, or because so many of us feel there’s not enough hours in the day, the dessert-delivery model works. For many of the businesses dominating the circuit, bricks and mortar was never an option – it’s easy to make products at home or at local, rentable kitchens. And the delivery model keeps the time between making a product and it arriving at consumers’ doorsteps short. Setting up shop never really made sense.
“There weren’t really doughnuts around when we started, so we kind of did it out of necessity,” says Janelle Smith, namesake and head doughnut maker at Woah! Nelly Bakes. “And we realised that people really loved it.” Smith and crew bake or fry the doughnuts, then hop into vans and deliver, “from the hills to the CBD”. It’s an efficient process that minimises delay and maximises product control. And it’s working.
Tedy Altree-Williams, owner of Booza Ice Cream (based in a factory in Marrickville), says the retail experience often attracts a different audience. But seeking out and finding quality, she says, keeps people engaged in the long term. “I think we would have had a different response if we started a retail shop,” says Altree-Williams. “But if someone finds an ice cream that they like and they connect to it, you get that loyalty.”
Felecia Oxton, who runs newcomer Love Little Chocolates with sisters Kim and Danielle and Belgian-taught chocolatier (and lifelong friend) Renee Braddick, believes the risk of starting a business without a tangible location is worth the reward. “It’s so convenient. It’s cost-effective for us as a business,” says Oxton. But unlike store-based businesses with a constant visible front, she says, “We don’t have a shop to fall back on.” The model relies upon visibility of a different kind.
Image sharing on Instagram and Facebook has contributed hugely to the success of businesses like these, whose products rely as much on their aesthetics as on their culinary calibre.
“Social media is huge,” says Smith. “I don’t know how anybody did business without it.”
“I think I can pretty much attribute 100 per cent of our success to social media,” says Elise Honeybrook, one half of the two-person team (with Scott Clark) behind Grumpy Donuts. “It’s a direct link with our customers. Everything needs to be very ‘Instagrammable’.”
Nathan Hunter, creator and “king of Fluffë”, echoes this. “Instagram is the only thing I use to market Fluffë,” he says. “When I play with it in cool ways, people comment on it and they tag their friends.”
And that only adds to the demand. People want doughnuts, and ice cream, and boxes of chocolate, where they want them, when they want them.
“[The demand is] very scary,” says Honeybrook, “It’s hard to keep up with sometimes, but it’s a good problem to have.” Hunter has the same “problem”: “I had to disable the online orders recently because I couldn’t keep up,” he says.
They all share a love for their craft; an appreciation for the end product; and a dedication to the consumer experience. Packaging and aesthetics play a huge role. “What we’ve tried to create is a really beautiful product,” says Oxton. “We put a lot of work into packaging and how [the chocolates] will be delivered. When you get them and open the lid, they’ll be perfect.” Hunter puts a personalised note in every box to maximise the customer’s experience. Altree-Williams has created a system – using dry ice and Styrofoam boxes – that ensures “ice creams arrive frozen – guaranteed.”
Cordingley believes the online-delivery model is the future of all consumption; desserts are just the current step. “I would go as far as to say that in this digital age, it always starts online. You always search for a brand online, see what other people have to say, and then go from there,” says Cordingley.
The future looks sweet. Sydneysiders can get dessert anytime, anywhere – conceived locally and created by hand – delivered to their front door.
Grumpy Donuts delivers to the inner west, inner east and the CBD.
Fluffë delivers nationally, and to select locations internationally.
Woah! Nelly Bakes delivers from the hills to the CBD.
Booza Ice Cream delivers along the Eastern Seaboard.
Damn Good Chocolate delivers to inner-Sydney suburbs.
Love Little Chocolates delivers to major cities across Australia.