In Good Taste: Annika D'Souza, Founder, Crumb & Co.
Founded by long-term Dubai resident Annika D'Souza, Crumb & Co. has managed to gain a cult following of sorts since it launched amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, with its delectable creations finding favor with anyone who has even the hint of a sweet tooth.
This article is a part of In Good Taste, a special feature built for the August 2021 issue of Entrepreneur Middle East showcasing 10 of the UAE's most promising homegrown food brands.
There are donuts-and then there are Crumb & Co. donuts.
Now, I am fully aware that this may sound like an exaggeration, but given that there are multitudes of people in Dubai who are repeating this particular sentence at any given point in time, I hope that you’ll give this statement the benefit of the doubt, and try out the pillowy donuts produced by this small-batch artisanal bakery, and judge them for yourself.
Source: Crumb & Co.
Founded by long-term Dubai resident Annika D’Souza, Crumb & Co. has managed to gain a cult following of sorts since it launched amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, with its delectable creations finding favor with anyone who has even the hint of a sweet tooth. “What started out as a hobby during the COVID-19 lockdowns eventually turned into a business,” D’ Souza says. “We started out in May 2020 at the peak of lockdown, and we officially launched as a business in August 2020. Our intention at the time was not to start a business, but we were able to do so with the feedback we received and the popularity our products garnered. We will soon have new product launches, and we are excited to see what’s in store for us.”
And if the response to whatever Crumb & Co. has released so far is any indication, then it seems fair to say anything it announces in the future will be gleefully and gladly received by the clientele it enjoys today. Just consider the case of the brand’s light, airy donuts, filled with everything from raspberry jam to passion fruit curd- I can personally attest that trying to restrict yourself to eat only one of them is often an extremely difficult endeavor. And yes, there’s a reason for why Crumb & Co are so droolworthy.
“We make sure to use the best ingredients without any preservatives or any artificial flavorings in our products,” D’Souza explains. “That coupled with coming up with creative offerings sets us apart. I also believe that being an owner-operated F&B business really helps us stand out in a sea of F&B concepts in Dubai. We’ve been lucky to be able to build up a following through word of mouth and social media. People in the UAE are looking to support local talent, and we are so thankful for that.”
The Crumb & Co. Team. Source: Crumb & Co.
Support for Crumb & Co. has come from far and wide in the UAE- D’Souza reveals that one of the highlights of her entrepreneurial journey so far has been to be able to cater to the country’s royal family. And given what D’Souza has been able to achieve with her business in a relatively short period of time, she can well be seen as a role model for other budding F&B entrepreneurs in Dubai and the UAE. When asked about any tips she’d give them, D’Souza replies by telling them to not be disheartened by the technicalities that may be involved in terms of them following their business dreams. “It can be intimidating at first, when it comes to figuring out licensing and operating requirements for a newcomer in the F&B industry in the UAE. However, I recommend speaking to industry professionals and business consultants to figure out that aspect. Where there is a will, there is always a way,” she concludes.
BET YOUR DOLLARS TO DONUTS: Crumb & Co. founder Annika D’Souza shares her tips for wannabe entrepreneurs aiming to follow her lead.
Don’t follow the herd “Stay true to yourself. That will be your competitive edge.”
Collaborate and cooperate “Network with others in the industry- there is a lot of support within the F&B community.”
Always be true to what you have built “Stay away from trends when it comes to the product.”
Consistency is key “Try to remain consistent. It may seem like nothing is working out at times; however, I believe timing is key, and consistency will get you there.”
Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.
Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.