Therapy and Relaxation products
Employees: Up to 3 on a seasonal basis
The company, which started with modeling dough, has expanded its offerings to include aromatherapy doughs scented with lemon ginger for clarity and focus; rosemary mint for focus and creativity; and vanilla orange for calm and harmony.
"Most of us need to slow down and to breathe," says Lori Liepold, Ted's wife, who serves as the company's marketing manager. "Taking out the dough and just being able to pause and take a deep breath is really good for your body and your brain. If you use the dough in your left hand, it quiets that part of the brain that winds us up. It leaves the left side of the brain available for logic and thinking."
The reason it works is because the nose and the hands are two of the biggest sensors the brain recognizes. By engaging multiple senses, more of the brain becomes engaged.
The Dough Source's distinguishes itself from Play-Doh with a different texture because all ingredients are sourced through restaurant and bakery suppliers.
"It's all food," Lori says. "If eaten, there isn't a risk, and ours smells a whole lot better. It's not intended to be eaten, but if you can get past that mountain of salt, you might get a nice finish. There's also the pride of being made in the U.S.A."
In addition to selling its products to schools, The Dough Source also works with companies who are planning staff retreats for brainstorming and building consensus. The company offers custom labels for its 16-ounce and 48-ounce tubs, making its product a good way to promote business or build brands.
"It's like a 3D business card," Lori says. "It's not going to get lost. Most people will use it or share it with someone else. You can throw it in a purse, backpack or desk drawer."
Challenges: Because the dough is made from food products, it's perishable, which means the company's products are made to order. The Liepolds also struggle with educating potential customers about the value of their dough as a tool.
And since they do everything from making the dough to packaging and labeling it themselves, time management can also be a struggle. "There's always that constant dynamic of working in the business and on the business," Lori says. "It's being strategic about managing our time and where we spend our resources."
Opportunities: Liepold sees a lot of opportunity in the educational arena, both with young students and adult students. "You have to get the most out of your study time," she said. "Working the dough in your left hand while you're trying to read really helps focus you brain."
Another opportunity lies in the therapy world, where it can help patients learn stress management. "When you're dealing with emotionally charged topics or an emotionally charged state, you want to tamp that down," says Lori. "You just need to cool down and be present. It's a great tool for doing that."
Needs: The Dough Source needs help with marketing and gaining exposure to a wider audience. "Working B2B is very different than direct and retail sales," Lori explains. "The engagement is different on an individual basis than it is with groups. Our biggest need moving forward is to get out in the community more and get the dough into people's hands."