WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A local entrepreneur is cooking up a campaign to build the baking business of her dreams.
D'Lolly Lopez, 29, graduated from culinary school in 2007, and has baked for such city eateries as Magnolia Bakery and Darling Coffee in Inwood. She will also soon be joining the ranks of Buunni Coffee in Washington Heights as its provider of baked goods.
She recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to start her own wholesale business, which will operate out of the kitchen of her apartment on Broadway and Thayer Street, where she currently bakes everything from scones and cookies to cakes and pies.
"I've been baking for a long time," she said, "and when Buunni came I thought, 'This is the first step.'"
The online campaign was actually a surprise "gift" from her husband, Gio Lopez, who launched it without her knowing. He surprised her a few days after it went live. It had already received nearly $500 in donations.
"He emailed me the link and said, 'Look, people want to help,'" D'Lolly said, adding that she immediately started crying — not only because of her husband's gesture, but because friends and family had already begun contributing.
Since launching the campaign on Wednesday, March 2, it had raised $1,550 of its $7,500 goal as of Thursday afternoon.
"A lot of people have been supporting us," D'Lolly said. "Families that I babysat for, friends and family. [I've] developed a bit of a following here."
With the money, she plans to buy a new oven, a second mixer, a mini-refrigerator, a blender or food processor, a knife set, scales, baking pans and a few other kitchen tools.
"The other day I was doing some samples and the processor broke," she said.
The campaign offers several perks for contributors, including a batch of cookies, mugs and even a music lesson from Gio, who is a musician and music teacher in Washington Heights.
D'Lolly hopes to reach her goal not only because it will help get the business off the ground, but because she wants to further spread her love of the craft.
"I know it sounds corny and cliché, but I really just want to bake," she said with a laugh. "It’s the passion I’ve had for a long time. I love doing it. I love seeing people’s face and the joy that comes with that."