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The Manhattan Doughnut Queen | Leslie Polizzotto

_Leslie Polizzotto

The Amazing Pivot to Worldwide Acclaim

Ep. 242 - Wouldn’t you love to have a doughnut shop that brought a new flavor every week which reminded you of food or a cocktail? If you’re thinking about starting a business that’s completely out of the scope of your current career path as a woman over 40, then you need to listen to Leslie Polizzotto. She started a doughnut business at age 46 with a career background in litigation law and found success.

Leslie Polizzotto is the co-founder and owner of The Doughnut Project, a hand-crafted gourmet doughnut shop in the West Village of Manhattan. She is a former litigation attorney and when the opportunity to help open a doughnut shop was presented, she took the leap, creating one of the leading doughnut brands in the United States. In this episode, Leslie shares how she has changed the course of her path unafraid and her experience starting a business later in life.

Listen in to learn about the right qualities of an entrepreneur and why you need to possess them to be successful. You will also learn how to work smart and choose the right social media platform for your business to help push your brand out there.

Dad Bod Doughnut -Whiskey cream filling with maple whiskey glaze topped with Nueske Bacon
Dad Bod Doughnut -Whiskey cream filling with maple whiskey glaze topped with Nueske Bacon
Blueberry Lavender Doughnut
Blueberry Lavender Doughnut
Doughtnut Assortmen
Doughtnut Assortmen
Strawberry Shortcake Doughnut
Strawberry Shortcake Doughnut

Key Takeaways:

  • Why you should never give up on your dream or sit on a life path that you’re not happy with
  • Manage your expectations by understanding that no one will care for your business as you do
  • Why you need to be motivated, disciplined, competitive, and determined to succeed in business
  • How to choose the right social media platform for your brand and be consistent with it
  • How to find success working smart on your business while still taking care of yourself
  • How to apply your acquired knowledge and abilities when starting a business later in life

"It’s never too late; you can always do something new, change course, this is one life and you should never sit on a path that you’re not happy with. - Leslie Polizzotto

In this episode you will learn:

Leslie on why she left her career as a litigation attorney to start a unique doughnut shop [1:22]

She explains how she has changed the course of her career over the years without fear [5:37]

How having the college experience later in life gives you a different perspective about learning [7:46]

She describes her biggest challenge as having to depend on others for the success of her business [8:51]

How being unique, creative, and good in what she does makes her business stand out [11:53]

How she’s able to bag national and international collaborations that promote her doughnuts [15:25]

The qualities Leslie looks for in her pastry chefs and overall team to keep her brand successful [18:28]

How she balances offering hospitality to her customers and managing her team [21:12]

How the pandemic allowed Leslie to scale back and become more efficient and successful [22:15]

The right qualities you need to possess to become a successful business owner [27:26]

Leslie on how her brand found success on Instagram and how she maintains it [31:57]

The challenge of expanding her business to different cities in the US while still working smart [35:29]

How she balances work and life by taking time to care for herself without feeling guilty [36:54]

She describes the freedom and control that comes with being a successful business owner [39:04]

CAREER

Leslie Polizzotto is the co-founder and owner of The Doughnut Project, a hand-crafted gourmet doughnut shop in the West Village of Manhattan.

She is a former litigation attorney who had a passion for food and fine dining. When the opportunity to help open a doughnut shop was presented, she took the leap into entrepreneurship creating one of the leading doughnut brands in the United States. The shop takes inspiration from food and cocktails for their doughnut flavors and is sought after by national and international brands to do collaborations and custom doughnuts.

Leslie oversees daily operations and handles the business side of the brand. She leads a team of 3 female pastry chefs to create the one-of-a-kind doughnuts including new Weekend Specials every week that are available Friday through Sunday only leading to customer lines around the block.

The Doughnut Project has received extensive press for its unique doughnut creations and for the many collaborations it does. The shop has been featured on many national and international television shows and has a global following on Instagram of over 155k followers.

Leslie’s motto is “It’s never too late!” She graduated from UCLA at the age of 36 and graduated from Pepperdine University School of Law at the age of 40. Leslie became a business owner at the
age of 46.

She has been featured on many podcasts and has lectured about small business startups and operations.

EDUCATION

Leslie has her Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine Law. She also attended New York University and Sotheby's Institute of Art.

RECOGNITION

Her story and accomplishments have been recognized by Know Your Value, Fast Capital 360, Ideamensch, Wired for Youth, House of Coco, Women on Topp, BossBabe, The Story Exchange, FemFounder, Meta, and The Cause Mal.

RESOURCES

The Doughnut Project Website

Know Your Value

Ladies Who Launch

Instagram

Ideamensch

Wired for Youth

Facebook

LinkedIn

FemFounder

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