By Sriya Reddy
Target audience, DBA and brand logo are key marketing terms any would-be entrepreneur must understand to be successful. Dallas Wise got the vision at 10 years old when his mother signed him up for a six-month online business program by Young Entrepreneur Services.
“After he took the first class he came back to me saying ‘I need a DBA, I need a logo,’ ” Shanay Wise said. “Then he came back after another class and said ‘I know my target market’ and it was so weird.”
That was two years ago, and now Dallas Sized Cookies, a South Dallas-based cookie business that sells four flavors — chocolate chip, crimson and white, ying yang and sugar — has become popular in the southern sector of the city. And its 12-year-old, sixth-grade founder will readily admit that filling a 25-dozen cookie order and knocking out schoolwork is no easy task.
“Balancing school, oh man, it is kind of hard because I have to deal with homework,” said Dallas. “I have to deal with tests, I have to study, all while I’m also making cookies, I’m baking, I’m packing and all this other stuff.”
His customers are mostly local organizations and nonprofits, and the aforementioned 25 dozen cookies from Nurture Inspire Empower Inc. was his biggest order to date.
Don Parish Jr., founder of nonprofit Be A Steady Hand, ordered 24 dozen cookies for an event when he ran for City Council. He said he loves to see the success of a young Black man from South Dallas.
“I love the young man, and I love his mother,” Parish said. “He is just an awesome little dude, and anything I can do to support him, I will do. But on top of that, his cookies are amazing. They can stack up with anybody else’s.”
That’s not hyperbole. Dallas knows his cookies have passed the hardest taste test of them all.
“My mom has the Gordon Ramsey taste buds,” Dallas said as he watched her examine the flavor of the chocolate chip cookie dough they just made together.
In preparation for the holidays — the busiest season — the two spent hours last Friday in a South Dallas commercial kitchen measuring flour, cracking eggs and spraying their chocolate chips with a secret ingredient for 12 dozen cookies.
After Shanay approved, the pair scooped the dough out of the mixing bowl and into a box to take home and bake as orders come in.
Dallas has been baking cookies since he was four years old preparing for Santa’s arrival, but began selling them at age 7. He said he was influenced by his siblings and began selling cookies at food festivals and markets alongside his mother, who is the founder of Catering Done Wisely.
“I was inspired by my sister and my brother because when they were really young, they made a lemonade stand and sold candy, cookies and lemonade,” Dallas said. “Over time, I started making cookies and now I have a business.”
Shanay always encouraged her three kids to cook, and when Dallas asked if he could sell his cookies alongside her, she felt he was ready.
“I could see he felt ownership of the cookies,” Shanay said. “It was something that he liked to do, but he really owned it. I was doing the farmers market for Paul Quinn College, and he asked me if he could sell his cookies there. We just did the chocolate chip and sold them for $1, and people bought them all.”
Dallas said he likes to bake because he enjoys creating something for other people and loves when he gets compliments. He also loves making his own cookie creations, like the crimson and white cookie — a chocolate cookie with red food coloring and white chocolate chips — his personal favorite.
“I’ve never really thought of making a chocolate cookie,” he said. “Also I like the name because crimson is another word for red. It’s really chocolatey, and it’s really soft so that’s why I like it.”
Dallas said that all the money he makes goes toward his college fund, but he isn’t yet sure what he wants to major in when he gets to college. He also says he isn’t sure if he wants to do this when he grows up, though he seems cool with living in the moment.
“It’s pretty rare for people,” Dallas said. “It’s pretty rare seeing a little boy making cookies at home for a side business.”
Shanay is proud of her son and is glad to encourage him every step of the way. She helps him out in the kitchen, making sure there’s no eggshells in his eggs and double-checking his proportions.
“He’s a good cook, but like he’s just a good son, and he’s kind and helps people and all around just a good person,” Shanay said. “I feel like I can see that in the kitchen. I’m just thankful because he’s a great cook, but also just a joy to be around.”