STIRLING, NJ -- The Dessert Ladies first began sweetening the area in 2010. For the first 2 years and before buying an initial commercial kitchen, Geraldine Keogh, CEO, and her partners Lindsey Smith and Nina Byron were baking out of their own homes. In 2012, they opened the doors to their headquarters in Stirling, NJ. The new space was a catalyst to the growth of their business, menu, and creativity.
From handheld individual desserts and cakes, they became extremely interested in dessert bars. Major clients in New York City now place orders for 90-foot long dessert bars. Large scale corporate events are The Dessert Ladies' bread and butter. However, they love their day-to-day customers, as well. The talented staff of nine are able to create unique products that include pictures, logos or any other customizations the client desires for any and all events and occasions.
“We get to be a part of celebrations, the happy stuff in people’s lives,” says Keogh, a native of Ireland who lives in Scotch Plains. “We see that has a tremendous honor so we always try to go above and beyond to do something different with a non-traditional wow factor."
Keogh and Byron fondly recount an experience from a baking fair several years ago. After others tasted their treats, they asked them whose buttercream they used. The Ladies were met with laughter and jokes when they informed them that they used their own. They had no idea that it was abnormal practice. This caused them to have renewed pride in the fact that fresh eggs, milk, butter, and cream are used throughout menu.
“We really believe that, if you’re going to have dessert, make it enjoyable. Make it count,” Keogh says.
In 2013, the NFL first contacted The Dessert Ladies for Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. After a 7-month interview process, they received the contract and delivered on thousands of cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and treats for the massive event. Being a young company, the whole undertaking was an enormous and somewhat scary endeavor, but, with the help of a couple other local businesses, including Bovella's Pastry Shoppe in Westfield, they delivered in full.
Due to the NFL exposure, they became aware of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program. In 2017 and once the business was large enough to meet the program's requirements, they applied and were accepted with a January 2018 start date. Geraldine says that one of the focal points of the program is to emphasize ways in which businesses and employers grow in order to employ more people. The program delivered the guidance necessary to realize the businesses’ path forward: focus on one product that can be scaled exponentially. They found that product in their signature Bein; a Dessert Ladies exclusive and, as they describe it, “a better looking and more delicious cousin to the classic bon bon.”
Each Bein is made fresh and filled with rich chocolate cake filling and covered in a thin chocolate shell. In recent years, The Dessert Ladies have been selling Beins in the shape of a turkey and, it is with this design, that they have created the infrastructure to expand its shipment nationwide next year. There are 48 upcoming characters and designs, many of which will be holiday-based, to further scale up the Bein line. Keogh, Smith, and Byron share a 10-year plan to roll out all of these new designs and take them to the international market.
A mobile app is on the horizon and it will feature stories that interconnect each of the characters, illuminate the benefits of cooperatively working together to overcome obstacles, and emphasize respect for one another and each character’s holiday; respectively. Smith, Keogh's partner and daughter, is the creative mastermind behind all of these characters and much more.
2019 will be a landmark year for The Dessert Ladies, as their agenda calls for the impending acquisition of a 20,000 square foot factory space, a Manhattan-based location, and their first nationally sold product. These new locations will create at least 25-40 new jobs. A carefully selected female marketing team will play an integral role in the initiative to take this company to the next level. The Dessert Ladies take immense pride in creating and maintaining a successful women-owned and operated small business.
When asked what one thing people should know about The Dessert Ladies, Keogh smiled and said, "Everything tastes as good as it looks.”
The Dessert Ladies can be found at their headquarters located at 266 Main Street in Stirling, NJ and online at https://dessertladies.com/.