Bay Area-founded 'Doughp' owner goes from sobriety to 'Shark Tank,' sees sales boom amid pandemic

"2020 was big pivot for everybody, but I feel like I did a bunch of cartwheels during the whole year and kept jumping into what was working."
LAS VEGAS (KGO) -- "Doughp," a Bay Area-founded cookie dough company with a conscience is experiencing a pandemic sales boom despite not getting a deal on ABC's "Shark Tank."

ABC7 last visited with Kelsey Moreira, owner of Doughp, at her Fisherman's Wharf store right before her episode of Shark Tank was set to air in Spring 2019.

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To say things have changed for the business since is definitely an understatement.

"It's like a big whirlwind," Moreira says. "2020 was big pivot for everybody, but I feel like I did a bunch of cartwheels during the whole year and kept jumping into what was working."

Moreira's journey to becoming a business owner happened in 2015 when she decided to get sober.

The entrepreneur's love of cookie dough helped her in her battle with alcoholism, and she encourages others to have a conversation surrounding this taboo issue.

"I launched Doughp For Hope with the company to raise more awareness about mental health and addiction," Moreira told ABC7 in 2019. "We also have mental health certification for all of our staff."

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Since then, the dessert company has donated more than $20,000 to organizations that promote the cause of mental health. 1% of profits currently go toward the non-profit She Recovers, which serves more than 325,000 women in need of help with recovery and substance abuse.

Moreira has pressed on, despite not getting a deal in The Tank?

"I just started hyperventilating, full panic attack, I lost it. It was an emotional cliff dive," says Moreira, who is grateful that portion didn't make the final cut of her episode.

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Several months after her television appearance, an investor reached out and helped her open a new store in Las Vegas.

But just as DOUGHP was beginning to really take off, the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Moreira and her new husband made the tough decision to shutter all of Doughp's brick-and-mortar stores.

"It's kind of like sobriety," the business owner says. "Every day I choose to stay on this path in recovery every day I try to make the best choices I can for me and the company."

With encouragement from her new husband, Moreira and Doughp started shifting to more e-commerce at the end of 2019.

Moving to Las Vegas also cut the business's operating costs.

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"They say it's an automatic raise when you move to Las Vegas because there's no income tax," Moreira explains.

And since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, DOUGHP has been reaching more customers than ever.

"At the time we were shipping around 30 boxes a month in November," Moreira says. "By April, we were shipping 3,000 boxes a week! The growth was incredible we did 50K online in 2019 and we did 2.5 million online in 2020!"

When asked if more people are seeking that comfort food during the pandemic, the businesswoman replied in absolute agreement.

"Cookie dough is a bite of nostalgia you take a bite and you're taken back to a world of kinder softer memories, nostalgia and happier times," Moreira says.

Moreira still jokes, as she did in 2019, that she's on her way to "World Cookie Dough Domination."

With her projected $5,000,000 in sales for 2021, she seems to be well on her way.

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