Women-Led Businesses We Love

You know and love their delicious scones, cookies, turmeric elixir, and vegan bites, but do you know the women behind your favorite treats in our cafes? As we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re recognizing the many female founders whose small, local businesses provide the perfect pairings to our coffee, or in the case of one of these founders, brings us your favorite coffee-alternative!

Here are their stories.


Anjali Bhargava, Resilience


Anjali Bhargava, Resilience Turmeric Elixir


Growing up surrounded by Indian culture, food, and philosophy, Anjali always trusted in the power of turmeric. It was her pursuit of wellness and her own health struggles which led her to start Resilience, in 2014. Today, you can find Anjali’s sunny, immune-boosting elixir in our hot and iced turmeric lattes, or you can buy the elixir to get creative at home!


What is your favorite part of what you do?
I love that I make products that brighten people’s days. Whether they are drinking it for their health or because they love the taste, it’s usually a moment they relish. I think about that every time I take my own first sip of my daily cup of my elixir and it never fails to make me smile.

Favorite way to drink Resilience?
During allergy season I love it in hot water with a little honey. In the summer I love it in a glass of seltzer or lemonade!

What advice do you have for women starting their own business?
You’re awesome and you have to trust your gut, but your success will be a team effort and the earlier you realize this, the more joy you will find in the journey. Find friends who are in the arena with you, they will understand you and keep you sane.


Agatha Kulaga, Ovenly


Agatha Kulaga, Founder of Ovenly


Agatha is the founder and CEO of Ovenly, an award-winning NYC bakery which happens to be one of our oldest wholesale partnerships! You may know Ovenly as the makers of the epic peanut butter cookie or the many delicious loaf cakes in our cafes. Along with her partner Erin Patinkin, Agatha has led Ovenly since 2010, seeing the brand as “an opportunity to change business for the better, while satisfying your sweet tooth.”


What is your favorite part of what you do? 
The most rewarding thing is being able to create joy for so many people on a daily basis through the work we do at Ovenly.

What’s your favorite thing to bake? 
I love to bake up cream scones because they are a blank (and delicious!) canvas for whatever sweet or savory flavor addition I’m in the mood for. A few of my favorite combinations are Cheddar Cherry Basil, Prune & Ginger, and Milk Chocolate & Salted Honey.

Favorite Ovenly item? 

That would be like choosing a favorite child! If I could choose three, they would be our Pistachio Cardamom Bread, Blackout Cake, and Peanut Butter Cookie.

What advice do you have for women who are interested in starting their own business?
The businesses we build can be our strongest voice. As woman entrepreneurs, we have the opportunity to change the world while redefining the idea of success. The key is to do things before you’re ready, otherwise someone might just beat you to it!


Danielle Sepsy, The Hungry Gnome

Danielle Sepsy of The Hungry Gnome


Danielle Sepsy is the founder and Chef behind The Hungry Gnome, makers of the scones, muffins, and nutella-stuffed banana bread we introduced to our cafes last summer. Danielle’s love of cooking began at the young age of 13 when she started a home business selling her scones to friends, neighbors, and local cafes and businesses. Today, Danielle is known as the “Scone Queen” by devoted fans, or “gnomies”. Keep an eye out for her new seasonal Lemon Poppy Muffin, arriving in April!


What is your favorite part of what you do? 
I love to create new recipes. Sometimes ideas come to me at midnight and I can’t sleep until I make it! I love to create baked goods and dishes that are new and innovative, but also really nostalgic, so when people take a bite it may bring them back to a really special moment in their life. Watching people eat and enjoy my food is the best feeling in the world, and it makes all the hard work worth it.

What’s your favorite thing to bake?
My favorite item is the Chocolate Chip Scone partly because it is how the business started! I am also a serious chocaholic and so the melty semi-sweet chips combined with the buttery, crisp, yet moist dough is something I can never get sick of.

What advice do you have for women who are interested in starting their own business?
Learn from others first. Gain experience in the field your starting the business in so you can learn the ins and outs, no matter how “small” the job may be. If it’s a restaurant for example, learn how to do the finances, but also how to use (and fix) the dish machine, trust me it’ll all come in handy. Building relationships is also a key to success whether it be with vendors, potential customers, employees or perhaps a mentor. When I started my business I knew just to who call when it came to ordering supplies and ingredients to which employees I wanted to hire.


Caitlin Makary, Dank Brooklyn


Caitlin Makary of Dank Brooklyn

Fueled by a passion for banana bread, Caitlin founded Dank Brooklyn in Bed Stuy in 2016. We love Dank not only because their mini vegan loaves are delicious, but because Caitlin has worked to build a company that truly supports its people and community.


What is your favorite part of what you do?
My favorite part of owning my business is working with other amazing owners / managers around the city and working with the groups we support. I love meeting new people, which is easy when we have clients all over the city! Being able to experience so much of NYC and combine my personal interests (bike riding, climbing, social justice) together with my job has been incredibly fulfilling.

Favorite Dank item?
The first and only item we offered when we started in 2016 was the Chocolate Chip Banana Bread; so that will always be a favorite. However the Lemon Matcha is probably my new favorite. I had no experience working in food prior to starting Dank (I used to be a clothing designer), so recipe testing still makes me a little nervous… we were supposed to launch this flavor in March 2020 and had to wait until November. I’m SO happy with how it turned out!

What advice do you have for women starting their own business?
Trust your instincts and your experience. The only way to try something new is to start from the bottom, which is hard if you are leaving an established career. Try to learn as much as you can from others, never be afraid to ask questions, and Google everything! I started this business with literally zero prior food experience; I had never even waitressed or bartended. I leaned hard on my design experience for our voice and branding, my experience working in an office to get our back systems set up and organized, and my friends/family who worked in food to give me feedback and advice, and my NYC community to show us love and support. 5 years later we’ve made it through a pandemic; and kept *all* of our staff paid their regular wages throughout. Never give up but don’t be afraid to shift directions. I’ve worked harder on this business than anything else I’ve ever done, but it is my favorite job I’ve ever had. 🙂


Karen Lauterstein, Sattva Vida


Karen Lauterstein of Sattva Vida


Ever since we began carrying Karen’s energy bites in 2017, they have become a mainstay on our counters, fueling many-a-New Yorker with their vegan, gluten-free goodness! After 20 years in corporate America, Karen channeled her passion for clean, home cooked food into Sattva Vida, which translates to “pure life” in Sanskrit. Sattva Vida’s mission is to help busy people trade their processed, sugar-filled snacking habits to simple, fresh food.


What is your favorite part of what you do?

Hearing positive feedback from our customers about our Energy Bites! Especially, when they tell us our bites helped them stop eating processed sugars, or jump start a healthier lifestyle. I came from the corporate world, so I also love waking up every day (without an alarm clock!) and building my business in a tee shirt, jeans & a smile. It’s exciting to carve a completely new path for myself and my company—learning, growing, and building every day.

Favorite Sattva Vida energy bite?

It’s a toss up! I’m really feeling Off the Walnut these days. That flavor happens to be the first one I ever made.

What advice do you have for women starting their own business?

I keep two inspirational quotes above my desk, “Be brave, not perfect” and “You have to believe in yourself—that’s the secret.”* As for tactical advice, NYC has tons of free & incredible resources for new entrepreneurs—from mentors, to workshops, to full length courses with certificates. I’ve probably taken advantage of all of them, including: SCORE, Evergreene Exchange’s SFPN (Small Food Producers Network,) Kauffman FastTrac (New Ventures Program,) the SBA etc.

Specifically, SCORE has a team of 75 experienced mentors who you can meet with for free. They have various areas of expertise such as legal, marketing, retail, distribution, finance, etc., I’ve been meeting with my mentor, Elliot, regularly for years now. His guidance, support, mentorship and friendship has been invaluable. Go to SCORE, get a mentor or two. Take classes, network, and go to events & pitchfests. Research what your business will need early and often. Last but no least, have fun and enjoy what you do!

*quotes, Reshma Saujani and Charlie Chaplin


Kate Wheatcroft, Bien Cuit


Kate Wheatcroft of Bien Cuit

In 2011, Kate and her husband, James Beard Award finalist Chef Zachary Golper, opened Bien Cuit in New York’s Boerum Hill. Since then, Bien Cuit has become a neighborhood staple and destination for some of the city’s finest breads and pastries (like the croissants you’ll find in our cafes). With her husband overseeing the culinary side of the business, Kate has helped expand the business over the last decade to encompass two bakeries, wholesale, and e-commerce.


What is your favorite part of what you do?

My favorite part is starting new projects. This year during the pandemic we really built out our e-commerce business for the first time and it has been really exciting!

What inspired you to open Bien Cuit?

My husband and business partner is a baker by trade and he had spent a decade working as a baker. I agreed to help him get started. I think I didn’t realize exactly what I was signing up for, but have had a lot of fun!

Favorite Bien Cuit item?

Chocolate croissant—it is a classic and I’m a huge sucker for both chocolate and flaky pastry.

What advice do you have for women starting their own business?

Make sure to pace yourself. It is easy to think you should take every opportunity that comes your way, but being really discerning I’ve found is the key to success.

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