Founder, DohJoy - bread made for the health-conscious dough lover www.dohjoy.com
Julie Lincoln’s mission is to make great bread that people can enjoy without worrying about negative health effects. Completing that mission, however, has required a great amount of patience and perseverance.
Thanks to a little help from Main Street Ventures (MSV), her entrepreneurial aspirations – like the product she makes – continue to rise.
“I really wanted to start with bread because it's my favorite food. It's the food I grew up loving as a girl. My grandmother used to make the most wonderful breads and muffins and biscuits, so I've always associated comfort and love with the smell and flavor of baked goods,” says Lincoln about DohJoy, the “hearty and healthy” bread brand she officially founded in 2022. “We figured out how to make bread that tastes good, rises and gets that fluffy texture that you love without the sugar that’s in typical bread flour. Yeast need sugar to make bread rise, so we had to figure out how to ‘fuel’ yeast in the absence of sugar.”
Available in Reduced Calorie White, Sourdough Style and soon, Three Seed Bread, Dohjoy is the outgrowth of a passion project that has become a full-scale business. Working in consumer-packaged foods for the past decade, she specializes in packaged food development, working with food scientists, bakers and confection experts.
It was the pandemic, however, that caused Lincoln to take notice of how her favorite food was causing an unwanted side effect: weight gain. Disappointed in every low-carb and low-sugar option in the market, she saw the opportunity for something better. "I decided I was going to do something about it,” she says.
Lincoln spent more than two years working with food scientists and bakers to develop her proprietary flour blend. “It's incredibly low in net carbs and high in fiber and protein. Making this bread is very different from making one that's full of starchy carbs and sugar,” says Lincoln. “It’s very difficult.”
That’s why she is so thankful for her $30,000 MSV grant after finally finding a bakery with the expertise to produce Dohjoy at scale. Using the funds to purchase materials and ingredients as well as equipment, she says the grant “really validated” all the work she has put in over the past few years. “Main Street Ventures was there to provide me with the resources that I needed to do that test work at that bakery,” says Lincoln. “That was considerable because we’re talking about buying thousands of pounds of material.”
In a fashion akin to the triumphant moment in a biopic, Lincoln received her grant right around the same time she found what she had long been looking for: A bakery that could produce DohJoy’s proprietary recipe at scale.
Overcoming challenges like that is why MSV is so important, Lincoln said.
“There is so much involved in starting up a new business. There are so many obstacles to overcome all the time, and resources are always tight. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees when you’re constantly worried about every penny spent on the business.
“That’s why this grant was so important. I was at a crossroads, and I was struggling to get to the next level. Main Street Ventures came along at just the right time to give me the extra boost of support I needed to prove I have a viable business at scale.
There are going to be those times in every entrepreneur’s journey where they're going to come to a crossroads. My best advice is to understand what success looks like for your business, not just today but in the future, and use that to guide your next steps. Keep going. If it were easy, everybody would do it.”