In 1986, I sold my first package of hand rolled cookie dough “balls” to friends and co-workers, never fully realizing the impact that first sale would have on the rest of my life.
As a recently divorced single mom living in Huntington Beach CA, I was struggling to pay my bills and feed my son. Like many other women in my situation I needed to work 2 and sometimes 3 jobs to support us. I was fortunate. I landed a full time receptionist job at a steamship company in Long Beach CA, and did data entry at night for a marketing company. On weekends I worked as a server for my friend’s catering company.
With encouragement from others I also began to work between jobs tinkering with a chocolate chip cookie recipe I liked. I brought the cookies to work and sampled them to my co-workers. They seemed to love them, so I began to wonder if anyone would actually “buy” them. I mentioned the idea to a trusted friend and she encouraged me to give it a try; right then and there! I hesitated, and felt shy about soliciting orders for my cookies. Before I knew it, my trusted friend was walking through our offices taking orders from co-workers. I was shocked and amazed when she came back 20 minutes later with orders totaling over $100!
Word spread quickly and soon other co-workers and friends rallied behind me. From that day forward, I could count on my wonderful co-workers to order enough cookie dough from me to allowi me to pay my bills. I would deliver the dough once a month out of coolers from the trunk of my 1978 Monte Carlo sedan. Some of my customers from then are still my customers some 27 years later!
As popularity of my cookie dough grew, I was encouraged to sell baked cookies along with the frozen dough. Orders continued to come in, and my obligation to my “cookie business” grew and grew! Sales suddenly got to the point where I realized that my little kitchen could no longer accommodate the volume. It was then that I realized I needed to find a commercial bakery. After checking around, I located a space in Newport Beach, and worked in their kitchen after regular hours and between shifts.
Through perseverance, dedication, and the help of others, in 1993 I opened Donna B’s Bakery. Located in the beautiful town of Laguna Niguel, a suburb of Orange County California, our customer base has grown and grown. Our line of products now includes over 18 varieties of cookies, cookie dough, and brownies. Cookie gifts, and many different styles and varieties of custom decorated cakes and cupcakes. I have been nick-named "the Cookie Lady", and am proud to be very involved in helping others raise money for her favorite charities. I donate hundreds of cookies, cakes, cookie baskets and cupcakes every year, and I am proud to be a part of so many worthy causes. Because of my circumstances as a single mother, I have devoted a lot of my attention to helping disadvantaged women and children, but I often attend other events helping others while promoting my business.
I am now celebrating 21 years as a bakery and I hope for many more to come!
Owner, Donna B’s Bakery
Our store is located in an area of Laguna Niguel, CA known locally as the "Gateway" area. It is just west of the 5 freeway at the Crown Valley Parkway exit. The area was the the first commercial development in Laguna Niguel, a community founded in 1969 and incorporated into Orange County in 1989. Our building was built in 1972 and is within a shopping plaza known as Crown Cape Center. We have been at this location since 1993. We love the community and hope to meet you soon.
Please click here to see a short YouTube video of me explaining what we bake and create at Donna B's Bakery. (note: we have remodeled the interior since this video was made late last year)