Dancing Deer Baking's Karter has a recipe for creating a brand with values
Patricia Karter, CEO of Dancing Deer Baking, is used to hearing people rave about her company's all-natural sweets, such as its Cherry Almond Ginger Chew cookies. She also often hears praise for the $8 million company's philanthropy, green packaging, and commitment to its 65 employees and inner-city Boston. All of which makes Karter a bit chagrined. Great-tasting baked goods aside, she thinks every company could be doing what she's doing.
'We've created a brand with important values,' says the 49-year-old Karter. 'But Dancing Deer is not big enough to make an impact, to be a social or economic force. If I hit $50 million in sales, it can be.'Karter is determined to expand the company she co-founded in 1994 and to hang on to her principles while doing so. She's already turned Dancing Deer from a startup selling homemade scones into a profitable wholesale, mail-order, and online business. Its cookies, brownies, cakes, and mixes, all packaged in recycled fiber and whimsically illustrated with stick-figure bakers and dancing deer, are found in Whole Foods Market (WFMI ), Williams-Sonoma (WSM ), and Wild Oats Markets (OATS ).