We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Le and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I am a Professor and Doctor of Clinical Pharmacy at the University of California, San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy (https://profiles.ucsd.edu/jennifer.le) and specialize in pediatric infectious diseases and pharmacology for over 20 years. Serving in the capacity of an invited member for the Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health, I support human health by consulting on pharmacokinetics – the process by which a drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized and eliminated by the human body. I have published over 150 articles in reputable medical and pharmacy journals and books, including a national guideline that applies vancomycin pharmacokinetics (an antibiotic that treats serious infections) to ensure its safe and effective use in hospitalized children and adults.
In addition to my passion for research to improve human health through drugs, I am always exploring for delicious desserts to consume each day and extremely inquisitive in making healthier versions of my favorite desserts yet retaining their palatability, including donuts, brownies, cupcakes, and cookies! I believe the scientific pharmacokinetic or “digestion” process of drugs can be extrapolated to food since food is handled similarly to drugs by our body. To achieve this end, I took a leap of faith to initiate a bakery focused on plant-based ingredients, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan and gluten-free. This has been a dream come true for me for two reasons — (1) enjoying “healthier” sweets every day made by one of my favorite culinary vegan chef, Mr. Raynard Ledford, and (2) playing a part to offer health-conscious food to Americans, especially those with food allergies to gluten, eggs and dairy.
With this leap of faith, the success behind the brand Lêberry Bakery and Donut that my partner and I built in the past three years is taking risk and finding the best partner who is willing to take the risk and enjoy the ride with you! Our first shop was established in Pasadena, California in 2018 and now is an award-winning bakery.
What should our readers know about your business?
The plant-based-vegan and gluten-free concept embedded in Lêberry Bakery & Donut was rooted in our vision for health-conscious food among those with food allergies and everyone who wants a healthier version of sweets to enjoy daily. The case favoring plant-based food, shifting from the traditional animal-based diet, is not new; however, the expansion of 100% plant-based vegan and gluten-free food into the donut and bakery industry is novel and ultramodern, appealing to capture the increasing popularity of health-conscious living for everyone including those with food allergies like gluten, eggs and dairy.
MASSIVE MARKET DEMAND: Our focus combines two global market shares within the fast-food industry that are complementary—the market size of a bakery at $200B and donut $40B USD. In addition, the compound annual growth rate for plant-based food is escalating, a lucrative sign based on market demand that will further grow as science demonstrates the benefits of plant-based food on human health and our environment—“going green.”
STRATEGIC SHIFT WITH MARKET DISRUPTION: Lêberry is an innovative and one-of-a-kind concept that offers plant-based donuts and baked desserts in one shop. We: (1) strategically shift service of desserts by unifying donuts and baked goods; and (2) disrupt the current market to meet increasing market demand for plant-based food to emerge as a world leader within a specialized niche. Currently, there is an absence of a plant-based franchise in the USA and the world. Even among the current franchises, there is none that combines donut and bakery.
FRANCHISING NOW: Lêberry Bakery & Donut has arrived, with our first award-winning store in Pasadena, California to popularize delectable plant-based sweets. We have received multiple accolades that substantiate our concept and popularity, including Best Donut during DonutFest LA in 2020, in which we defeated Krispy Kreme and ten other gourmet donut shops, 4.5-star Yelp with Favorite Certificate among Yelpers in 2019 and 2021 (not 2020 due to the pandemic), and featured on Guy Fieri’s Restaurant Reboot for high growth potential (link to video https://youtu.be/DUtkvtjjiNE). We are excited to announce that we are now franchising and thrilled to expand to SAN DIEGO, where there is a large health-conscious community. https://leberrybakery.com/investment/.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Desserts is always my destination and would love to share with my best friend. It the desserts are plant-based, this is always a plus as we know that plant-based food has NO cholesterol! Plant-based food has been scientifically proven to improve diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to Shoutout to my favorite partner, Mr. Raynard Ledford, who has taught me so much about the food industry and, more importantly, the meaning of success and perseverance. Through Mr. Ledford, I’ve learned about different strategies to raise capital, the importance of marketing, creating a successful franchise and even how to bake! His passion for the hospitality business initiated when he was 13 years old. With this rare longevity in this industry, he is known as a leader in the hospitality business. Through his executive role as the former Vice President at Universal Studios Hollywood and founder & owner of the Prime Restaurant Groups that was responsible for 300 restaurants and their real estates, he has helped merge the vegan world with the dessert industry to give Americans “mindful sweets,” which is the basis for our brand. Now, we are moving forward with franchising our brand and it has been so exciting to learn from him.