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Babson Business: Dahlicious, LLC

Name of business:  Dahlicious, LLC

Mission:  “Our mission is to create honest, tasty, authentic foods that are 100% natural, convenient and full of meaningful health benefits.”

Year Began: Feb 2007

Revenues: $150-$250K (EST.)

Initial Investment: $40K

Broke Even: Not Yet

Where: Boston

Employees: 3 Full-Time

      Founder: JD Sethi;; 617-281-1311; Babson Grad Student

Founder's Past Life/Business:  “IT Consultant with specialization in internet marketing.  I worked on many consulting projects in Asia, Europe, and North America during my eight-year career. The work involved more than 10 Fortune 500 client organizations.”

How the Idea Began: “Often food that is tasty is not healthy and vice-versa.  I wanted to address this dichotomy and create “real” foods with “real” health benefits.”

Initial Preparation to Germinate Idea:  “Coming from a non-food background, I had to educate myself on food science and manufacturing.  I met with a number of experts in the field, visited a number of dairy plants, and asked numerous dumb questions.  All the hard work paid off, as I was able to develop a product that was well received in the marketplace.” 

Favorite Thing about the Business: “Meeting consumers face to face to get their feedback.  I go out weekly for product demonstrations.  It gives me an opportunity to meet people who love the product and also those who hate it.  From both groups, I learn a lot, come back and improve the product.”

Worst Thing About the Business: “Working in my kitchen surrounded by food.  I have put on five pounds since I started this businessJ” 

Biggest Challenge: “Entering the established, consolidated dairy industry was challenging.  Initially, I had difficulty finding a manufacturer for my product.  Most large dairies needed huge initial volumes to be interested.  I called all the major dairies on the east-coast, but could not interest them in the product.  My perseverance paid off, and I found a mid-size dairy processor in upstate NY who was very excited about the product and started producing it.”

Lessons Learned:

  • Don't hesitate to ask questions.
  • There are many more helpful people out there than you think.
  • Listen to your gut.  It might sound odd, but I do try to listen to my instincts when making a decision.
  • Hire slow, fire fast.
  • Be wary of consultants.