Hell Yeah Gluten Free bakery opened on the Dickey on Dekalb Avenue earlier this month following greater than a 12 months of pop-ups all through Atlanta.
After elevating funds by means of a Kickstarter marketing campaign, proprietor Alejandra Luaces spent months attempting to find the precise area for her gluten-free bakery. She lastly landed on a location at 900 Dekalb Avenue, additionally residence to LLoyd’s Lounge and its espresso store, Dekalb Athletic Membership.
Hell Yeah could be described in a single phrase: iridescent. The cement flooring adjustments shade as one walks over it, because of glitter paint. Lovely pendant lights appear to shift relying on the angle. The area is vivid and cheerful, with excessive ceilings and white partitions and a yellow accent wall by the lavatory.
The bakery — whereas beautiful to have a look at — works as a takeout-only place. There are some seats inside, however no outside seating.
Hell Yeah Gluten Free’s menu adjustments usually, because the bakery will depend on seasonal substances, native farm partnerships, and farm supply companies just like the Turnip Truck. Anticipate finding in a single day oats, dessert cups, and cake bombs in addition to bread merchandise, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, and new creations, together with the favored vegan sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit. The fragile truffles Luaces creates with edible flowers are additionally accessible to order.
For now, Hell Yeah affords a number of premixed drinks on its menu, like horchata and pumpkin-flavored golden milk. Luaces plans to ultimately supply espresso and different specialty drinks, too.
Luaces put collectively a multidisciplinary crew of people that may method the challenges of bakery administration in new methods. “We wish individuals open to data,” she says. “We’ve a radiologist, and a few individuals didn’t get it. We employed her as a result of the medical discipline is so excessive stress and so intense — much like a kitchen.”
As soon as all the pieces settles down, Luaces envisions increasing right into a warehouse to begin delivery nationally. She’s trying into grocery partnerships, saying there’s a demand for gluten-free baked items.
“That is largely a workspace … we invite individuals into our world,” Luaces says. “They will see the method and see the place their meals comes from. My imaginative and prescient for this location is for it to be our flagship.”
However the funding wanted and the method concerned in opening her personal bakery proved more difficult than she anticipated.
As a self-described analytical individual, Luaces thrives on learning recipes, experimenting with uncommon ingredient combos, and preserving monitor of what works and what doesn’t — like a scientist.
It’s how she taught herself to bake. Earlier than that, it’s how she discovered to code, whereas working as a intercourse employee in Florida. Later, she moved to Chicago after which Atlanta to pursue a software program engineering profession.
By means of trial and error, and impressed by her personal gluten allergy, Luaces began baking items for her co-workers at Mailchimp, the place she was a software program engineer for almost three years. She quickly discovered herself getting orders and catering requests, and he or she had a short-lived supper membership, inviting associates into her residence for a restricted seasonal menu. It served as a lab of types for the cooking and baking strategies she was studying.
As orders poured in and the fledgling baked-goods enterprise grew to become extra profitable, final summer season, Luaces lastly made the choice to give up her job at Mailchimp to deal with rising Hell Yeah Gluten Free.
Figuring out of her Cabbagetown loft, Luaces arrange a makeshift pictures studio in her lounge to seize her gluten-free doughnuts, made with edible foil; flaky turnovers; and gluten-free biscuit experiments. Followers of her baked items adopted her on Instagram to order from the weekly menu.
As her on-line following expanded, Luaces outgrew her residence kitchen and went on the lookout for a everlasting area for the bakery. The search proved harder than she hoped, as a result of rising rents across the metropolis and the lack to discover a location with the sq. footage required for her baking operation.
Earlier this 12 months, Luaces partnered with Queen of Cream to serve her baked items out of the Previous Fourth Ward ice cream store on Fridays and Saturdays. Strains usually snaked out the door and across the block.
Within the meantime, she continued looking for the precise area.
Luaces admits that even with profitable pop-ups and a thriving on-line enterprise, the prices of working Hell Yeah Gluten Free and making ready to open a bakery had been mounting. Whereas her Kickstarter marketing campaign surpassed its $20,000 aim, Luaces says she solely obtained a small share of the cash after taxes and charges. She did obtain a $5,000 grant from the Dream Warriors Basis, but it surely was cut up over quarterly funds. Luaces funneled her financial savings and 401(ok) into the enterprise — and now onto her bank cards, as her financial institution loans have taken some time to be accepted.
Regardless of studying small-business literature on funding, Luaces felt underprepared for the precise price of opening a meals enterprise in Atlanta. She moved ahead with an expediter for metropolis permits so she may deal with the bakery. The expediter set her again $5,500.
“I’m in enormous quantities of debt, so it’s not prefer it [the bakery] magically occurred, however that is what it takes [to open a business],” says Luaces. “I feel that folks aren’t actually as clear as they need to be about how laborious this course of is. It’s very completely different if you happen to don’t have quite a lot of collateral or usually are not a part of a restaurant group.”
Including to her frustrations, Luaces says she felt like her year-old enterprise wasn’t taken critically by banks and buyers, which think about it a startup and a threat.
Luaces linked with native enterprise homeowners and entrepreneurs from throughout the nation, connecting on Instagram and exchanging recommendation on getting by means of the challenges of opening a enterprise.
She cast forward.
In March, Luaces kicked off a closing spherical of crowdfunding through GoFundMe to offset the prices within the final stretch of the bakery’s build-out. As of publication, she has raised over $9,600 of the $25,000 aim.
Now, with the bakery lastly open and he or she and her crew discovering their day-to-day groove, Luaces merely hopes clients really feel welcome at Hell Yeah Gluten Free, no matter whether or not they have a meals allergy or not. She guarantees to not ask questions, since “everybody makes non-public selections on daily basis.”
“I simply need individuals to really feel like they are often themselves on this area,” Luaces says. “We wish to be surprising and bizarre, and technically it shouldn’t work, but it surely does.”
900 DeKalb Avenue NE, Suite 500, Atlanta. hellyeahglutenfree.com.