For Dolly Meckler, founding father of Challah Dolly, the Jewish Excessive Vacation season that features Rosh Hashanah (which is the Jewish New Yr) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), can basically be thought-about her enterprise’ “Black Friday” by way of demand.

Meckler’s signature choice of challah loaves can be found year-round on Challah Dolly’s web site, however she created a spherical loaf of challah to be loved for the Jewish holidays, in two flavors: common and cinnamon raisin. (In accordance with Jewish custom, the spherical form symbolizes the circle of life and cinnamon raisin signifies a “candy New Yr.”).

However first, let’s gradual our scroll: what’s Challah Dolly?

Challah Dolly is a New York-based firm based by 29-year-old Dolly Meckler, which ships its loaves of the historically Jewish bread (recognized for its braided look and egg-based recipe) weekly throughout america, and is on the market at a number of bakeries in New York Metropolis.

She efficiently managed to take her bread-making enterprise from curbside to nationwide, inside a 12 months, all due to a drive for sparking pleasure, a ardour for storytelling, and a devotion to encourage individuals to “eat and revel in bread.”

Its origin story entails the pandemic, happenstance, the magic of bringing individuals collectively over bread, and Meckler’s mission “to make Jewish custom ‘cool, trendy and accessible.’” A New Yorker function this previous Might and a nationwide distribution plan have helped make Meckler’s model a bona fide meals enterprise.

For Meckler, baking bread served as a ardour challenge throughout peak quarantine, again in March 2020. One may say it was an unintended profession alternative, greater than a pivot.

Meckler had been working because the social media supervisor for HBO’s Sport of Thrones and Westworld for 4 years, adopted by a social media function at YouTube. The native New Yorker wished to take a danger — “the plan was to not have a plan,” she explains — so she moved to Los Angeles in October 2019 and got down to discover freelance social media work and concentrate on her internet collection and podcast, Hiya Dolly!.

After which, the pandemic hit and like many others, her plans took a dramatic detour.

Right here’s the place Meckler’s social media abilities got here into play and labored for her: within the midst of the doom and gloom created by COVID, Meckler took up baking.

“As a substitute of stressing out about this, I made a decision I used to be going to bake,” Meckler shares.

She didn’t cave into the sourdough phenomenon that grew to become ubiquitous on Instagram and TikTok (“Have you ever ever checked out sourdough recipes? They’re so sophisticated!”) — and as an alternative leaned into one thing easy and mawkish to her: challah bread.

Meckler’s solely prior expertise with challah-making stemmed from her days at Jewish summer season camp — it wasn’t a household custom for her — so she discovered a recipe on The New York Instances and set to work baking and braiding in her tiny West Hollywood kitchen. However since baking grew to become a well-liked pandemic pastime, Meckler needed to deal with a yeast scarcity in Los Angeles. Because of her social media savvy, she was in a position to leverage her content material creation abilities to share behind-the-scenes content material of her seek for yeast in Los Angeles, and of early-day clients coming to choose up her challah loaves, curbside.

Her challah content material gained traction and created buzz on social media, which led to Meckler’s bread changing into waitlisted — all orders had been positioned by way of Instagram direct messenger.

Within the meantime, Meckler was feeling the urge to return to New York Metropolis to be with household and buddies — she’s a proud New Yorker, by way of and thru, so she headed again to the East Coast and dedicated to rising her bread enterprise much more. There was already model consciousness, it was only a matter of sprinkling in additional technique and a plan for scaling.

When it got here time for branding, Meckler landed on Challah Dolly because the title for this enterprise, since she’s additionally the host and creator of an online collection, Hiya Dolly!, and he or she employed a good friend to create the brand.

She began baking in her Higher East Facet kitchen after which when a TimeOut New York function on Challah Dolly hit in August of 2020 — it helped her bread achieve licensed road cred within the foodie world. At this level, the challah recipe had taken some twists from the unique, and Challah Dolly now makes use of Meckler’s personal formulation for its variations.

The three signature flavors on the location embrace The Honey Cinnamon, The The whole lot Seed (“a traditional New York Metropolis all the pieces bagel staple, reimagined”), and The OG ‘Challah Dolly’. All holiday-inspired spherical loaves of bread can be found by way of the month of September.

Meckler knew it was time to level-up and use a bigger facility to take her loaves to the massive leagues, so she approached a bakery within the Decrease East Facet about baking her challah loaves briefly and having a pop-up there.

Meckler is a hustler and entrepreneur at coronary heart — and wished to make sure that everybody may take pleasure in her challah, particularly Jewish households celebrating on the Shabbat desk.

As we speak, on account of the word-of-mouth advertising created by Meckler and her FOMO-inducing Instagram content material, Challah Dolly has a direct-to-consumer web site in addition to a burgeoning wholesale enterprise, and presently outsources the challah-making to a large-scale baking facility in Queens.

Challah Dolly ships nationwide, together with Hawaii, and its loaves can be found at six completely different retailers in New York Metropolis.

“It is about making an attempt new issues with challah. It is braided and daring. That is what it is all about,” Meckler asserts.

And since a part of the boldness is constructing hype round challah, Meckler additionally partnered up with different manufacturers for some limited-edition collabs, together with MatchaBar for a matcha-flavored challah and Tony’s Chocolonely for a delicate pretzel chocolate challah. Followers of savory challah additionally loved a pesto parmesan restricted drop.

What makes Meckler’s story much more extraordinary is that she’s not a skilled chef — her major profession focus has all the time been social media content material, technique and manufacturing (she studied tv, communications and media, and in addition has a level in gender research). A storyteller and entrepreneur at coronary heart, Meckler knew she had came across one thing with promise — on a number of ranges.

“It wasn’t a profession pivot. It was extra of a profession shift and an awakening primarily based on my abilities. It’s about, how can I apply what I am good at to this factor? I’ve undoubtedly all the time valued advertising, and now I perceive the worth of storytelling and tips on how to talk with audiences.”

At its core, Challah Dolly weaves collectively Meckler’s ardour for storytelling, assembly individuals and creating content material. On this case, “content material” within the literal sense and within the sense of “sparking pleasure.”

Going again to the early days of Challah Dolly, Meckler remembers how a lot she beloved chatting with clients who reached out by way of DM and got here by for curbside pickups. (This speaks to one among her earlier profession ambitions of being a talk-show host.) As we speak, she is sparking up conversations with those that attend IRL pop-ups.

“I’ve met so many individuals and heard so many tales by way of this enterprise and being on this meals world. It has been so enjoyable and actually stunning to satisfy this complete new group of folks that I might have by no means met earlier than, and listen to why they wish to purchase my bread,” Meckler shares.

The idea of bread bringing individuals collectively — whether or not to choose up loaves in a socially-distanced method in the course of the peak days of COVID, or having fun with breaking bread collectively on the dinner desk, is what nourishes Meckler.

Her different podcast collection, known as You Have Such a Fairly Face, shines a lightweight on dwelling in a bigger physique, overcoming fats phobia, and the great thing about physique range — and encourages others to “eat the bread, guilt-free.” It focuses on physique picture and Meckler’s need to create one thing fulfilling, particularly whereas she was confronted with the looming uncertainty of the pandemic.

“Rising up in a bigger physique helped form how I see the world,” Meckler shares. “And so I began to speak about that with different ladies, together with plus-size fashions and professionals. And it was actually stunning how related all of our tales had been. And I noticed that speaking about it publicly was so therapeutic, as a result of it eliminated the disgrace. Challah Dolly’s different mission grew to become about, Do not be terrified of carbs. On the root of all of it, it’s about making individuals really feel good.”

The core ethos of Challah Dolly, Hiya Dolly! and You Have Such a Fairly Face relies on bringing individuals pleasure — that’s the by way of line of Meckler’s work. This pleasure is woven into every Challah Dolly loaf, in addition to the content material she creates with the podcast and internet collection.

“It’s all the time been about individuals,” Meckler asserts. “I’ve all the time been focused on individuals and constructing relationships with individuals utilizing completely different types of communication.”

Challah Dolly even went the accent route with a deliciously iconic second: the earring and ear-piercing model, Studs, created a challah-inspired earring formed just like the braided deal with. Meckler lovingly refers to them as “Challah Choops” — they had been designed by Rubbish NY in honor of the “Studs Loves New York” marketing campaign (as Meckler’s challah was named “the unofficial bread of NYC”).

For a model that’s thought-about “social-first,” Meckler has come a great distance because the early days of trying to find yeast in Los Angeles.

“I did not know what I used to be doing! And I actually needed to study day-by-day and take dangers and determine it out,” Meckler shares. “Nobody mentioned to me, ‘Dolly, you want to scale this factor, from the start.’ I known as a bakery in New York, who was struggling throughout COVID to see in the event that they wished to accomplice collectively. I am very scrappy, in that sense. I wished to work with one other native enterprise to assist convey it again. I really like this place and I would like Challah Dolly to be synonymous with New York — it is this New York model with this New York soul behind it, who’s a hustler, who would not take ‘no’ for a solution, and who’s going to knock on doorways to make it occur.”