Baking her own sweet success
As a third-generation hobby baker with a natural hand for creativity, Sydney Daoust’s (Photography '09 and Graphic Design '11) decision to open a bakery was long anticipated by many, except her.
“Starting Syd Delicious was a slow build,” says Sydney, the magic hands behind the vegan bakery based in Dartmouth. “I had been baking for many years for family events and everyone always raved about my sweets, especially my cinnamon buns, and told me to try selling them.”
“I think I've always wanted to have my own business but was never sure what it should be,” adds Sydney. “I've worked for many small businesses and really admired the hard work and the camaraderie that happens.”
In January 2019, she decided it would be that year she started her business. After spending six months testing and perfecting her recipes, Sydney registered her business and launched it at the Alderney Farmers’ Market in Dartmouth.
Fresh out of the oven
It was Sydney’s famous cinnamon buns that quickly caught the attention of customers and local media. In fact, Syd Delicious was nominated for three categories in The Coast’s Best of Halifax within a few months of opening.
“During the pandemic the market closed, so I started focusing on wholesale,” explains Sydney. “I found an awesome commercial kitchen and started carrying my things in a few local places. That, along with regular weekly orders and craft markets I take part in, has inspired me to keep going.”
While Syd Delicious doesn’t have a storefront, her baked goods are sold at eight businesses across Dartmouth and Halifax – shops she refers to as “The Friends” on her website. Customers can also place online orders through email, Facebook and Instagram for local pick-up or delivery.
“All my items are vegan; some are also gluten free and nut free. I make cinnamon buns, cookies, nanaimo bars, magic bars, brownies, cupcakes, birthday cakes and wedding cakes,” says Sydney.
Sydney operates her business with support from her husband – Ingram Barss, an NSCC faculty – who does all the deliveries, shopping and events. She credits NSCC for providing her with the skills to support her entrepreneurship.
“The programs I took at NSCC, Photography and Graphic Design, help me with my business quite a bit. I take all my photos for the business and designed my website, thanks to those programs.”
Start-up Accelerator Program
Sydney says she initially applied to the Start-up Accelerator program because while baking was fun, the business side was a little overwhelming. “I don't have much experience with the admin side, and I thought the program could be useful for me.”
She is among 11 NSCC graduates to participate in the program, which launched in September 2022 and is designed for alumni entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners. All participants received $1,050 of tuition funding from NSCC Alumni Relations, which covered Sydney’s full tuition as a domestic student.
“It's been incredibly helpful,” says Sydney. “The instructors each bring something to the table and have all been very encouraging and informative.”
“I’m excited to finally have a business plan and a solid idea of where I want to take the business. I’m also looking forward to having a financial forecast for my business and learning about grants and loans applications.”
As she looks forward to the future for Syd Delicious, Sydney hopes to expand her reach and improve her packaging. “My current goal is to grow my wholesale sector of my business and get my website up to speed for easy ordering. I'm also looking into upgrading my packaging to be more sustainable and custom branding.”
“I would definitely recommend this program to a grad with either a business idea, or an existing business that you're not sure which direction to take it. The program really helps focus you and gets you thinking about your business in a different way.”
-Sydney Daoust, owner of Syd Delicious and participant in NSCC's Start-up Accelerator program