Belmont graduate Megan Beaven is one smart cookie.
After realizing Music City’s edible cookie dough market was severely lacking, the entrepreneur took matters into her own hands and founded No Baked Cookie Dough in April of this year. Beaven had toyed with the idea of safe-to-eat raw cookie dough in her own kitchen growing up and came up with recipes that ditched the raw eggs and raw flour that can cause food-borne illnesses.
Already, the business has gained national attention through online sales, and become a well-known Nashville staple.
The entrepreneur admitted that she underestimated the challenge of opening up a food business, especially surrounding a treat most people are understandably nervous about consuming.
“It probably took me two months just to figure out how I could legally make and sell the product," Beaven said. "I had no experience in the food industry. I didn't know what regulations there were or what permits were needed.”
She started an online-only business that quickly morphed into weekend pop-up shops as her brand took off. The challenge of having to have a kitchen where she sold her product was avoided by only selling pre-packaged dough.
The raw cookie dough trend is sweeping the nation one spoonful at a time, and Beaven was extremely surprised to see her pop-ups selling out within hours. Even tourists visiting the city for short periods would hunt for her pop-ups.
“I figured I would have gradual growth like any restaurant would, but I think I underestimated how much people were interested in cookie dough and how trendy it was becoming,” she said.
Beaven didn’t anticipate opening up a storefront less than a year after launching her online business, but high demand and challenges with being a pop-up shop have made it a necessity.
Finding a place to set up became the No Baked team’s biggest hurdle. Because of permitting issues, Beaven had to approach businesses and ask their permission to sling cookie dough from their parking lots. Some places have worked out better than others, including her regular spot at 117 28th Ave. South, where her storefront is set to open Saturday, Oct. 21.
Many have expressed their disappointment at the pop-up’s short hours – a problem that will be eradicated with the storefront’s opening. No Baked fan Loren McBride echoed the fact that tracking down the pop-up shop was sometimes difficult when she just wanted a quick sugar fix.
“I’m super-excited for their storefront to open. It means I can spend a little less time tracking down the pop-up stands and a little more time eating their cookie dough,” she told Crain’s Nashville.
No Baked currently has no competitors, but even si Beaven isn’t worried about someone else pushing into the edible cookie dough space.
“We've created a well-known brand and I don't know if another company would want to come in the market right now,” she said.