Today we’d like to introduce you to Denisha BKA Dawn Hightower-Alston.
Hi Denisha, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Making desserts or selling pudding rather was never in my list of goals and dreams to accomplish, but it most definitely was in my blood. My aunt Nina was considered our Dessert Queen. She would always come up with some new dessert for us to try at every family function. However, Dirt (Oreo) pudding was always a must have. So after learning from Aunt Nina how to make Dirt and Banana pudding, when I got older, Banana pudding was the one thing I would always bring to every friend gathering or Work potluck because for some reason, “Dirt” just didn’t sit well to me at these events. Eventually, I was asked many times to start selling banana pudding so I would sell whole pans but wasn’t convinced to do much beyond that until my best friend said you should sell banana pudding but in different flavors.
So in 2013, Love, Puddin’ was born. Any and every flavor concept that popped in my mind, I made into a pudding flavor and now we have well over 30 pudding flavors and of course, Nina’s lowdown Dirt is included on that list (named after my aunt). After a couple of years went by, I was blessed by an inheritance from my younger brother who passed away in 2014 and an idea from my then-boyfriend (now husband) about mobile marketing, and so our little pudding truck, which is infectiously called Big Pink, was born. We also love to add that we are the first pudding truck on the East Coast and the second pudding truck in the US. I can say Big Pink was the best thing to ever happen to Love, Puddin’, because it allowed me to promote my brand, along with transport all the pudding goods, to Big Pink traveling up and down the East Coast from New York, to New Jersey, Philadelphia, DC and VA, so everyone could get a taste of what we had to offer. LP has taken us many different places, including media-wise, it has landed us in the Baltimore Magazine twice and on WJZ Channel 13 news twice.
After years of selling pudding from my black Camry, pushing a cooler from business to business, selling puddings to pudding lovers, turning non-believers into believers, vending tons of events, doing popups, creating for special people and special events, we wanted to expand our brand with something a little different but keep it consistent with what we were already doing. We first added different flavored bread puddings changing the norm of using old breads to using day-old glazed donuts, to fried apple egg rolls and then came cheesecakes. Most don’t know cheesecakes are a custard same as pudding, just solidified. So we joined a few cheesecake classes and the rest was history. Our cheesecakes took off like a rocket! We now offer cheesecakes on our daily menu as well as for events, baby showers, birthdays and even weddings, offering cheesecake cupcakes, cheesecake minis, whole cheesecakes and even 2 and 3 tier cheesecakes.
While we were actively in search for a storefront for some years, the pandemic has definitely taught us how to pivot and the importance of patience. We recognized the heartache many restaurants were experiencing and it made us grateful for having our small little pudding truck to continue running our delivery service throughout the pandemic shutdown. Therefore we decided to hold off on searching for a storefront and are now in search of a larger van to be able to service multiple places at one time. Eventually, we hope to own a fleet of LP trucks that travel throughout the world serving the love pudding gospel!
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
One thing I can say is the saying holds true, “nothing worth having, comes easy”. I’ve most definitely had my ups and downs working as an entrepreneur. Not one I can particularly pinpoint, but there have been many disappointments, many let downs from being ready to sign a lease to my very own storefront to having that dream snatched away in an instant, several times, money issues, exhausting my bank account to fund my dreams and so on and so forth. So many struggles to name but along the way, I’ve learned that the losses and mistakes I’ve made were simply learning lessons that pathed the way for me to grow better in business and make better choices for myself and my business.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Though Love, Puddin is and has been my full-time employment and profession since 2015. I actually have my Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in Public Health and have been working in the human services field for close to 15 years. I’ve also worked at Child Protective Services for over ten years protecting and serving children and families.
I am most proud of being a mom to my two girls, but not only that, I was a teen mom, but my oldest got to witness me take charge of my life and not allow minor setbacks to drag me down. She’s witnessed all my major accomplishments, from graduating from high school, college twice, purchasing a home, get married and become a successful entrepreneur.
How do you think about luck?
I truly don’t believe in luck, I believe in faith and hard work. I believe that as long as you have faith and the belief that you will make something happen, along with putting forth true effort and hardwork, whatever you want and manifest will come To fruition. Faith and hardwork is the only roles that played a role in my life and business.
- Currently our standard 8oz puddings are $5 however due to economic increases we will be increasing our standard 8oz puddings to $6.25
- Our cheesecake personal minis are $10
- Whole cheesecakes vary from $45-65
- Pudding mini cups $25 per dozen
- Email: Lovepuddintoo@gmail.com
- Website: Lovepuddin.bigcartel.com
- Instagram: Instagram.com/love_puddin
- Facebook: Facebook.com/lovepuddintoo
- Twitter: Love_PuddinLLC
- Other: Lovepuddin.mystrikingly.com