Welcoming the Billionaire Bar, Maybe the Richest Candy Bar Ever
For most kids, their first taste of entrepreneurship is setting up a corner lemonade stand. This wasn’t the case for Genelle Drayton, founder, and owner of Sweet Dames Artisan Confections. Even at a young age, Genelle had already discovered her love of making food, and by age ten, she was gaining local recognition from very grateful family and friends. They loved her food so much they even requested she begin producing food for their events. Genelle was thrilled. She loved making delicious products and delighting her customers, especially when it was family, but what she did not realize at the time was that it was her first step into the world of entrepreneurship.
Genelle founded Sweet Dames Artisan Confections, a packaged sweets, and confections company based in Washington, D.C., in 2014. As a Native New Yorker who spent her summers in the DMV, it just made sense to scale the next phase of her company at Union Kitchen.
Named after Genelle’s grandparents Henry and Daisy Dames and focused on the sweet coconut flavors of her youth, Genelle developed a unique dessert brand that perfectly satisfies any sweet tooth. Sweet Dames Artisan Confections are available at Union Kitchen and for shipment across the country. Their most popular products include bite-size coconut macaroons and CoCoMallow Sandwiches. In the past, the treats have been available at pop-up shops throughout New York City, including Bloomingdale’s and LaGuardia airport terminals. Genelle sees her business as a way to offer elevated dessert options because not everyone wants cake! “We’re an inspired, dessert indulgence. We believe it takes keenness and creativity to elevate the simplicity of a coconut macaroon, marshmallow, and traditional baked goods.”
Already beloved in New York City and Washington, D.C., as her food business continues to grow, Genelle is gaining fame across the country for her delicious desserts. Since partnering with Union Kitchen, she has earned recognition as a top packaged food brand by HuffPost, the Today Show and BET Future 40 Entrepreneur!
While the recipes came easy to Genelle, scaling the manufacturing posed to be more challenging. “It’s great to have someone who is experienced in production to help with a new perspective, that’s one of the benefits of being in a shared space. You’ll come across someone who has already experienced what you’re tackling, their insight is always appreciated.”
Now with years of experience under her belt as a food entrepreneur and all of the buzz surrounding her brand, Genelle Drayton decided it was time to launch a brand new product, The Billionaire Bar. The dessert bar has an oatmeal shortbread cookie base layered with caramel, chocolate, and pecans and diverges from her classic coconut treats she built her business around. And we are all addicted.
In her professional life, Genelle spent a decade living in New York City, working for NASCAR in marketing and event management. While this time helped her build skills to support a future as a business owner, she couldn’t escape her passion for baking. As she rose through the ranks of her top marketing job in New York City, she struggled with the notion of a lifelong career in corporate America, feeling unfulfilled, and the thought of leaving her childhood passion of baking behind. “I knew there was more for me,” Genelle described in an interview with BET, where she was featured as a future 40 entrepreneur. That desire for building something of her own ultimately led to her decision to launch Sweet Dames Artisan Confections.
After launching Sweet Dames Artisan Confections in New York City, Genelle began to wonder what the next step for her and the business would be. She discovered our Food Business Accelerator in Washington D.C. and decided to make the move to partner with us.
Now a DC resident, Genelle spends her time running Sweet Dames Artisan Confections and working in our stores as a Manager-in-Training. By working in our stores, Genelle is able to get real-time feedback on her products directly from consumers. She gets to learn the ins and outs of merchandising, ordering, and all the technical elements that go into retail operations. She learned quickly how annoying some types of packaging can be to stock on shelves and how much this discouraged reorders.
The lessons Genelle has learned in the stores have provided her insight into her business “As an entrepreneur, there will be many hurdles, highs, and lows, but persistence is key, be diligent in the work, seek help and your work will bear fruit.”
Now a seasoned entrepreneur, Genelle is confident in her decision to take on manufacturing a packaged dessert brand. Sweet Dames Artisan Confections, classic treats, and the brand’s new Billionaire Bar are available at Union Kitchen Stores.