An incurable sweet tooth led Emily Dubner out of the corporate world and into the kitchen.
After a stint at a Manhattan consulting firm, Dubner realized that instead of helping others with their businesses, she’d rather run her own.
“I think I knew going into the job that it wasn’t going to be for me,” she said. “I was interested in business, but while I was there, I was thinking about what I wanted to do next.”
And the thing she kept coming back to was her love of baking. Dubner, 25, had no formal training but a flair for sussing out unusual recipes and testing them on her friends — even baking for her dorm at Harvard University.
Last September, after a year of research, she founded Baking for Good, an online bakeshop that combines good eats and good causes. Fifteen percent of sales go to nonprofit organizations of customers’ choosing.
“I really liked the bake-sale concept. Part of their purpose is to raise money for great causes, and people like the idea of giving two gifts — the brownies and the money,” she said.
Though she claimed “the word ‘entrepreneur’ is not in my vocabulary,” Dubner has joined the ranks of social entrepreneurs who see giving as a way of receiving. She funded the company with her own savings and chose an online business model for its low-risk entry.
The sweets range from $14 to $22 a dozen and include nine kinds of brownies, 13 varieties of cookies and assorted snacks. Customers can also order custom-decorated cookies (about $30 per dozen). Dubner works on recipe development in her Manhattan kitchen and chose a California bakery for the production.
Dubner has counted about 1,000 customers and has shipped to every state in the U.S. She said this year she’s on track to funnel $20,000 to about 100 organizations on her list.
Ingredients are all natural or organic, and the options include vegan and gluten-free sweets. The goods arrive within two days in eco-friendly packaging.
Dubner recently launched a “Treat of the Month” subscription program, which delivers six or 12 months of goodies to loved ones afar.
This year, she’ll concentrate on growing her presence in the corporate gift market.