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DK’S DONUTS MAYLY TAO INTERVIEW W/KABOOM! MAGAZINE.COM

DK’S DONUTS MAYLY TAO INTERVIEW W/KABOOM! MAGAZINE.COM
We all strive to leave a lasting impression on the world. For some of us, it’s by joining a political office and creating new laws. For others, it’s by taking a stand and demanding change for the unfair treatment of others. But, for one Southern California native, her lasting impression on the world is just as simple as using one of our favorite all-time snacks and creating her own delicious masterpiece. Today, Kaboom! Magazine.com got the chance to sit down with DK’s Donut Princess Mayly Tao as she tells us about her early beginnings as a young entrepreneur, the success of DK’s Donuts, and how she managed to leave her mark on the world one pastry at a time. Name: Mayly Tao Age: 25 Hometown: Los Angeles, CA Occupation: Self-Employed (DK’s Donuts) image11 What was your main motivation for wanting to call the shots: Living in a see-saw world where time, technology, and trends hang in the distance, I realized that it was time to sit in the front seat and take initiative on an idea I felt passionate about. Being one of the youngest in my family, it was hard for people to take me seriously by appearance, so I had to combat through showing others what I was capable of. What people do you look up to and found inspiration from: I look up to my parents the most. They are the foundation of how I came into life, the lessons I learned, and the work ethic that I now have. They are the epitome of the American Dream. What do you think is the difference between people who talk about starting businesses and those who actually do it: Starting a business is no easy venture. Your work becomes your life. You are dedicated to this institution and many don’t understand how much time you must invest in it. Even though you may plan every single step, it never really means that you’re in control. Things can go wrong, but all you have to do is roll with it and adapt. The difference is clearly in those who choose to make that commitment and those who do not have enough drive to. What’s the best and worst part of being your own boss: The best part is calling the shots and knowing that you are in control of where your business goes. The worst part is #NeverNotWorking, whether it’s uncontrollably checking emails on the weekends, basing my life around social media posts, or putting into the ethical situations of laziness. image6 As a boss what do you usually look for when it comes to hiring an employee: When I look into hiring an employee, I look for someone who is a good representation of our company. Off the bat, you must realize that no one can do the job quite like you. You must find someone who is punctual, great with customer service, high adaptive skills, and is always willing to learn. Can you name the single most important business lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur: The single most important business lesson I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that the world is really at your fingertips. Are you willing to go out and chase the opportunities ahead of you? With today’s tools, anything is possible if you dream hard enough. Tell us about DK’s Donuts: DK’s Donuts & Bakery has been around since 1981. My parents took over a bankrupt donut shop, hoping and believing in their idea of the American Dream. It started with traditional donuts, then smoothies and sandwiches. Imagine an orange and brown retro “DK’s Donuts & Bakery sign” followed by the still-existing coffee buffet line with assorted bagels and sprinkled donuts that lined the showcase. My parents always believed that if they worked hard and provided a good product, the rest would come easily. This donut shop supported our small family and put both my brother and I through college. image3 (2) Would you consider DK’s Donuts breakfast or desserts: DK’s is a meal for all occasions, whether it be breakfast or dessert, that midnight meal or that mid-day snack. We never close (Open 24/7/365). How did you come up with such a catchy name for it: Dk’s Donuts used to be its own chain in the 70s. Because my parents were illiterate when they arrived in America, they thought DK’s was a lucky name, so they kept with it. What they didn’t know was there are other DK’s in other areas in Los Angeles, but we are not affiliated with them. What was your inspiration to continue DK’s Donuts: My inspiration to continue the family business came from witnessing how hard my own family was working and how I could help alleviate that. How long did it take you to setup DK’s Donuts: It’s been three years since I took over, rebranding and putting the business on the map. What I think people don’t get is that I do everything in the store- from management, to cooking, to media relations, to catering orders, to innovating new products, to much more… image1 (2) Where do you make your donuts: We make our donuts right in the store behind the counter, sometimes you can see the batches sizzling in the fryer or the oven if you peak your head over. How many employees do you have: About 10. What is the most popular donut at DK’s Donuts: If it’s not popular, it probably would not be on our shelves. Our most popular donut would probably be our Strawberry Creamsickle Double Decker O-Nut which is our half croissant & half donut hybrid, rolled around in cinnamon sugar, cut in half and stuffed with fresh California strawberries and DK’s Special House Cream, a homemade tri-blend secret family recipe.  The croissant + donut hybrid has the consistency of a donut that is doughy and soft, but has layers like a croissant. It is a very unique combination of flakiness and pastry. What is your personal favorite DK’s Donut: My personal favorite donut at DK’s Donuts & Bakery is one of our delicious treats where you can add ice cream to anything we have. The world’s first ube donut, which is a Filipino deep fried purple yam, contains antioxidants and B vitamins with a cake-and-moist purple interior. I like to stuff it with Taro Ice Cream and drizzle it with condensed milk and coconut flakes. But that’s just me. image7 What do customers love the most about DK’s Donuts: Customers love the variety of DK’s, and its consistency to provide the best donuts in Los Angeles. How do you show love to the “Health Nuts” in your area when comes to DKs Donuts: I wouldn’t call them “Health Nuts”, I would call the health conscious people. We offer a Vegan Donut (without eggs or dairy) and a Red Velvet Protein Donut with Quest Protein, which contains 5-9 grams of protein in each donut. I routinely ship these 4 dozen of these donuts across the country to Pennsylvania every month. How active is DK’s Donuts involved in the local community: DK’s Donuts & Bakery has been playing a large part in the community for over 34 years. We support our local schools and Special Olympics groups, as well as small business startups and city employees. What’s your secret to keeping customers coming in? What have been some of your most successful promotions, and where did they originate: My secret to keeping customers coming in is not a secret. It’s the product of a hard working family who practices perseverance in creating outstanding products for the community. My most successful promotions are the ones that are available in the store every day, in regards to the many affordable products we provide. Many donuts are still $1, a dozen is $9.50, and we offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner options every day for around $5. The icing on top of the cake is our social media presence and staying relevant to our audience. image4 How does your physical shop market itself online? You have accounts on Twitter and Instagram; how important is it to use these sites to reach your audience: I built our social media channels and website internally, but externally there are handfuls or articles from important lifestyle and food publications such as Buzzfeed, Thrillist, Refinery29, Kaboom! Magazine!, FoodBeast, as well as many LA based food blogs. It is very important to use these platforms to elevate your business because there are plenty of foodies looking to fulfill their palette; there are tourists seeking fun on their vacation; there are people searching for a cool place to visit and DK’s Donuts & Bakery is definitely on their list. How big of an influence has social media played in the success of DK’s Donuts: It definitely came at a good time because social media now promotes your business for you- your reputation online is important to how your potential audience sees you. Social media has fueled our business and put us on the map. It also gives our shop the ability to have an identity as a whole, and for others to find this identity. It has also given me a voice, as the (#donutprincess). How would you like to see DK’s expand as far as production: Who knows, maybe you’ll start to see a few more in the future… Have you started online distributions: Currently we are on delivery platforms such as Grubhub & Eat 24. We also deliver out of state. image5 Where is the furthest request for DK’s Donuts come from: The furthest request for DK’s Donuts came from Oman and Ireland. Have you thought about being sold in grocery stores like Vons or Fresh & Easy: We would only agree to such a thing if our product still tastes fresh and hot, like a home-cooked meal, from our kitchen to your mouths. Would you like to keep DK’s a local chain or can we start to consider you guys the next Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts: Nothing is certain yet, but we only want to go big or go home. What is the best advice you have ever been given: The best advice? What you put into something is what you’ll get out of it. You were literally the talk of the recent Venue Tradeshow, every big name star that was there had your donuts in their mouth. How did it make you feel after getting shown so much love at the tradeshow: I had no idea, but it makes me feel really, really humbling. How important are events like Venue to an up and coming product like DK’s: Events are important because word of mouth is the best form of advertising your business. You never know who you’ll meet- but be wary at the events you attend if it’s worth it for you as a business. image10 What advice can you give to those who would like to open a food business of their own someday? How can they get from Point A (thinking about an education) to Point B (being an owner): Opening a food business is a 24-hour babysitting job. You are held fully responsible at all times of the day.  No matter how much you think you’re prepared for something, you have little control over the roadblocks that might stand in your way. You must be readily adaptable to give it all up and give it all you got! How can the reality of being an entrepreneur as a career differ from typical expectations: Being an entrepreneur really tests your drive and willpower. Reality can always differ from the fantasies you have about how life should be, but keeping up with your own dreams can solidify that. You can never really expect or depend on anyone but yourself for that. Do you have any suggestions for coping with set-backs or negative experiences: Get up and keep going. It’s always a learning game. Being a successful entrepreneur, you’re always looking for the next successful venture. Are you currently working on any new ventures: A few new products, but you’ll have to follow our social media (@DKSDONUTS on instagram, twitter, or facebook) to find out when those will be released. How do you maintain your business focus: Always track back to who you are and why you’re doing something. And just realize that your journey is not to be like others’. image13 DK’s Donuts & Bakery World Famous Since 1981 with Over 120 Kinds of Donuts! Open 24/7 1614 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90404 (310) 829-2512 or Info@dksdonuts.com FOLLOW DK’S DONUTS ON THESE FOLLOWING SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITES: Instagram: @dksdonuts Twitter: @dksdonuts Facebook: www.facebook.com/dksdonuts Personal Website: www.dksdonuts.com image3 (3) image2 image4 (2) image1 image2 (2) image9 image12 image14 image15 *Photos courtesy of Mayly Tao #DonutPrincess @DKSDONUTS)