Dreaming of one day owning her own bakery, Hailee Hardin has turned her passion for the culinary arts into a novel-baking hub that serves passed-down family recipes to a sweet-tooth community.
Going to school for interior design and architecture, Hardin quickly decided to change her major and enroll in baking school at Blinn College, a sister school of Texas A&M University.
“So from there on, it was a pipe dream of one day opening my own bakery,” Hardin recalled.
What began as a passion in 2011, soon turned into a full-fledged baking business in 2015 after she had moved to Midlothian two years earlier.
“When we came here I thought this would be an amazing opportunity and a great place to have a bakery, especially since all the wedding venues are opening up around us,” Hardin acknowledged Midlothian's charm.
“I wanted a wedding boutique type situation where brides could come in and have a classy wedding cake experience,” she added.
From home-style cookies to scrumptious cupcakes, and decadent wedding cakes, Doolee’s Baking Company opened a storefront that’s tucked off of East Highway 287.
“I grew up with my dad’s mom always cooking, and we always said ‘the more butter, the better,’ and you just don’t see that anymore,” Hardin recognized. “Everything is so commercialized, you don’t really see a lot of the home-style baking anymore, and that’s what I focus on.”
Though the business is young, the quality of service and goodies made would say otherwise, as Hardin explains the secret to her success.
“My chocolate chip cookies are from my great-grandmother’s recipe that my sister and I made with her and know by heart. So we don’t skimp on the butter at all, and we’re not the place to come for New Year’s resolutions,” Hardin laughed. "I use my family's recipes a lot."
Active in the community, Hardin's trustworthy reputation has been proven through her active involvement with several organizations throughout the year.
As stated in a previous Daily Light article, Hardin is a member of the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce, serving on the Wine and Arts Festival subcommittee, a supporter of Midlothian Heritage High football program, and frequently donates products for various charity auctions to firefighters and the police department.
Adding to her baking repertoire, Hardin was also recognized in Ellis County’s “40 Under 40 Business Professionals” of last year.
“My stepdad told me about it [40 Under 40], and he was like, ‘Hey, I just want to let you know you might be getting a call. I wanted this to be a complete surprise to you, but I can see you answering your phone going ‘I don’t know anything about this,' but I nominated you for the 40 under 40,’” Hardin recollected the moment.
“And I thought, ‘there are so many other people out there, and I’m fairly new.’ So I didn’t think I would get it. And then my dad told me I got it, and I was really excited,” she included. “That was a very proud moment for me.”
Despite Hardin’s commended success, her entrepreneurship is still working towards being “taken seriously” throughout day-to-day orders.
“I’ll have people come in, and they’ll talk over me or be looking at one of my employees and talk to them, but I kind of laugh it off now because when they find out I’m the owner their mouths drop,” Hardin recounted.
“Sometimes it’s a struggle to be taken seriously at such a young age because I’m 26 years old, but I take a lot of pride in my work, and it’s definitely a day-to-day thing to grab their respect and own up to it,” she expounded.
And as more young entrepreneurs are taking the business reigns in Midlothian, Hardin encourages them to find a steady support system.
“I would tell those wanting to go into business to find people who want your dream to succeed just as much as you do,” Hardin advised.
“Grab onto your dreams and do not let go of it because in today’s day and age there are so many outlets to get your dream started. It’s cool to see my generation opening up businesses around town and just seeing all of them is inspiring to me,” she heartened.
As for the future of Doolee’s Baking Company?
“A lot of people have asked me if I want to franchise or expand out, and in all honesty, I like my little business how it is,” Hardin admitted.
“I put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this bakery and my hope is to have Doolee's become a well-known bakery in Midlothian where brides can come and have a special day,” she concluded.
To connect with Doolee’s Baking Company, visit dooleesbakingco.net or call (214)-301-2114.
The store is at 4470 E. U.S. Highway 287 Suite 1000 in Midlothian. It is open 8 a.m. -3 p.m. Tuesday -Thursday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m Saturday, and closed on Sunday and Monday.