Name: Dawn Pascale
Business/Location: Om Sweet Home Specialty Bakery, Cliffside Park, NJ
Specialty: We focus on plant-based and gluten-free pastries, desserts and products for wholesale, corporate and private events. Our products are made in our 100% gluten-free and vegan facility.
The problem your business solves: We give consumers with food allergies and sensitivities the opportunity to enjoy decadent treats.
What’s your story: While working at Citigroup in 2005, I launched Simply Home Goods, a bakery that specialized in traditional cakes, cookies and pies. When I was laid off in January 2013, I decided that it was time to pursue my passion full-time. On a whim, I registered for the Vegan Baking Bootcamp at the Natural Gourmet Institute that was taught by the “queen of vegan desserts”, Chef Fran Costigan. Through the course, I was introduced to baking without dairy, eggs, and any refined sugar products. As my business expanded, I found more and more people asking for products that met specific dietary requirements. I saw this as an opportunity to create good-for-you, scrumptious and mindful desserts that appeal to everyone regardless of food sensitivities, allergies, lifestyles and preferences. So I started reformulating my Simply Home Goods recipes into vegan and gluten-free creations and launched Om Sweet Home in May 2013.
What are you most proud of about your business: When I could not find a palm oil-free butter alternative to use in my products, I decided to make my own. Our Om Sweet Home-branded, Non-Dairy Butter Alternative melts, spreads and whips like dairy butter and is free from the top eight food allergens. I use our vegan butter in baked goods and sell it via a selection of wholesale clients throughout New York and New Jersey. In December, I launched the Hello! Marketplace at our takeaway cafe, which showcases products from local plant-based and gluten-free food companies.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur?: It’s almost therapeutic for me when people come in into my bakery. When you have a 5-year-old who has never had a cookie because of food allergies, or someone with Celiac disease who can now enjoy a muffin, it’s really special.
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