Not only does DEUX’s cookie dough taste amazing, but it has a great story behind it!
You may have seen DEUX’s viral vegan cookie dough all over your social media feed, or on Whole Foods shelves. With a multi-million dollar valuation, this WOC-owned vegan dessert brand is taking over the nutrition space—one spoonful at a time!
DEUX CEO and Founder, Sabeena Ladha
DEUX CEO and founder, Sabeena Ladha, grew up in Euless, Texas. Her father, an Indian immigrant, worked odd jobs here and there until he saved enough money to buy a gas station. From then on, Ladha and her sisters spent all of their free time at the business, counting change, playing in the aisles, and gawking over the snacks. At the end of each day, Ladha and her sisters each got to choose two snacks from the gas station. This sparked her love of iconic snacks like Hot Cheeto Puffs, Cosmic Brownies, and more.
As she got older, Ladha got more into nutrition and the health benefits of food. At the same time, she started working for big food brands like PepsiCo and FritoLay, as well as consulting companies and startups, all of which gave her the perfect experience to start DEUX.
Raw Vegan, Gluten-Free Cookie Dough Enhanced with Functional Ingredients
The idea for DEUX came about from Ladha’s passion for women’s nutrition and nostalgic junk food. The result? Raw vegan, gluten-free cookie dough enhanced with functional ingredients like ashwagandha, zinc, and maca.
With cookie dough flavors like Space Brownie, Peanut Butter Cup, Brownie Batter, and Birthday Cake, DEUX quickly gained popularity. The brand’s portfolio has since grown to include Hazelnut Cocoa Spread, Cookie Butter Spread, and Enhanced Donut Holes—all catered to women, but suitable for everyone.
From Pitching on Shark Tank to Building a Multi-Million Dollar Business
DEUX first launched in October 2020, completely funded by Ladha. And just a few months later, Shark Tank reached out to have her on the show. At the time, Ladha was still making DEUX products in small commercial kitchens, as well as her own.
DEUX’s episode of Shark Tank aired in November of 2021. All of the investors commended Ladha for her pitch and DEUX’s immediate success. In fact, Robert Herjavec called it one of the best pitches he had seen on the show since its inception thirteen seasons ago. And although she didn’t leave with a deal, Ladha walked away with even more exposure, which directly increased sales.
Since Shark Tank, Ladha has raised millions of dollars through funding rounds and has grown the DEUX brand to the multi-million dollar empire it is today. In addition, DEUX products made their way to major retailers like Whole Foods, Erewhon, Sprouts, Target, Gelson’s Markets, and more.
“I often struggle with sitting in the wins and celebrating them. Sometimes I journal them out and write out where we were and how far we’ve come. When I take the time to do that, I am often in disbelief. From airing on Shark Tank to getting approved by our first retailer, Whole Foods, to building a multi-million dollar business, I am so incredibly grateful. It is really amazing that our team has been able to build this powerful brand in just two years,” said Ladha.
Women of Color Entrepreneurs
Although it seems like DEUX saw instant success, that didn’t come without hard work and obstacles. As a woman of color, Ladha faced challenges other entrepreneurs typically don’t—especially when it comes to fundraising.
Ladha told VegOut, “Less than 2% of [venture capital] funding goes to female-founded brands, even smaller to women of color-founded brands. There are inherent biases you have to overcome and more ‘no’s’ (just mathematically) you will receive. Outside of fundraising, there are some positive aspects I’ve been pleasantly surprised at. For example, when we were finally able to obtain our Women Owned Certification—it opened up a lot of doors for us. Retailers like Target and distributors like UNFI really care about this certification and want to promote women-founded brands. This aspect has felt like a really supportive community.”
To aspiring women of color entrepreneurs, Ladha advises, “Keep. Going. I once heard someone say that the difference between success and failure is often how much stress you are able to endure. That really resonated with me—you have to be able to get through the lows (and celebrate the highs).”
In honor of Women’s History Month, Ladha would like to shout out the following women-owned businesses: Arrae, Bloom, Bala, Tower28, BelliWelli, and Fly By Jing!
Learn more about DEUX at EatDEUX.com.