Todd Jones: The Donutologist
SKII: Tell me something about yourself?
TODD: I started working as a donut maker at the age of fifteen. I worked in a store called, A Cup and Two. That was over forty-five years ago. The owner taught me how to make donuts. I have been making donuts ever since. At Dunkin Donuts, I was the highest paid baker in history! I was driving a BMW, at that time.
SKII: Where did you go to school?
TODD: I graduated from Martin Van Buren High school. I did six months in York college. I only went for six months, because college was not for me. I can run circles around a person who has a MBA. I have nothing against structured education, but it wasn’t for me during that time of my life. I’ve read that most millionaires and billionaires, don’t have a college education.
SKII: How did you come up with the name “Donutologist”?
TODD: Well, sometimes you just have to stay quiet and listen to what GOD has for you. Listen for GOD and let him guide you to where you’re supposed to be. Donutologist was a name given to me, by being quiet. I let the Spirit tell me what she wanted me to do. It was effortless.
SKII: Where were you born and raised?
TODD: I was born in Harlem Hospital and raised in Harlem NY. I’ve also resided in the Bronx, Queens, and then Brooklyn. They are all in NY. I’ve recently moved to Georgia to grow my business. I love it!
SKII: What motivated you to go to Atlanta, Georgia?
TODD: Well, I’ve studied and read a lot about billion dollar businesses. In general, none of them started in New York. Why? Because, everything in New York is expensive. The rent is high and pertaining to businesses, there’s a lot of competition out there. When my eyes finally opened realizing these circumstances, I immediately moved south. So, I said to myself, I’d make my money and become a billionaire here in Georgia, and then I’ll return to New York. That’s something I’m going to put into my book. You must start where the rent is cheap, and then work your way back to New York.
SKII: Did you make any money while you were in New York?
TODD: I actually started in Queens, NY. I started working in the Coliseum, in Jamaica, Queens. That was my very first start. I went from the Coliseum to Albee Square Mall in Brooklyn, for twelve years. I’ve worked there until they tore the mall down for renovations. After the mall was brought back to life, they brought me back to work, at the store. I worked there for approximately a year and a half before they closed it again.
SKII: You made a statement, “Mini Is The New Skinny” for women.” What do you mean by that?
TODD: Yes. It’s true. There’s only thirty-one calories per donut. No Trans Fats. It’s all portion control. That’s all it is. (Todd laughs.) But, I must say, my donuts are nutritionally improved. No one can eat just one. That’s a violation of the donut world. You have to eat at least a dozen. (We burst into laughter.)
SKII: Do you have employees?
Todd: Absolutely. I have a nephew working with me. His name is C-Dough. My marketing person, is Donut-Angel. And, Easy-Glazed runs the New York office. There’s also other people working with me who are called; Donut Diva, Donut prince and Donut princes.
SKII: Are you the only one working the machine and does your staff travel with you, to your gigs?
Todd: No. Actually everyone is capable of working the machine. We call them DC-Donut Chefs. But there’s only one Donutologist. We do a lot of corporate parties, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs parties. We’re branding it so where if they wanted the Donutologist, that’s a whole different price range. Wherever they have to go, the donut machine travels with them. Whether it’s in Atlanta, GA or New York. I normally travel with them anyway. The way you look at our company is to picture a triangle. On one side of that triangle is Sweet Dreams Mini Donuts, where we bring the donuts experience to you. On another side, we have Cuzin’s Duzin, which we are going to franchise. And, at the bottom of that triangle is The Donutologist.
SKII: Does each of your employees have a machine?
Todd: We have five machines, right now. We might have two to three jobs for that day so they are able to take the machine out to work at different parties and events. That’s what they do. Now, if someone wants me to be at an event specifically, then I would go along. I do consultations, too. I can make a donut just for you or you can let me know what types of flavors you would want in a donut. I would make a special recipe of a donut just for you. And it’s so tailored for you that, at the end of the party, I would have that recipe on a silver platter and we’d burn it. That recipe will never be done again. That’s specifically for the high end clients who don’t want anyone else to have their recipe of that donut. I would name the donut after them.
SKII: Who inspired you to do this?
Todd: My very first boss actually gave me the job of making the donuts. Then, I decided to make a business out of it. I always wanted to be a business person. I wanted to be in charge of my destiny. I was working for one of the biggest Dunkin Donuts franchises in Long Island, driving a BMW with the license plate that said; Buy Donuts. Well, when they sold their business, I was helping them with making the transitions with the new owners. So, one week after the new owners took over, they decided to fire me, because I was getting paid too much. They gave me one week severance pay. I said to myself, this will never happen to me again.
Because I’m a reader, I went to Barnes & Nobles, something told me to look at the magazine rack. I looked up and I saw an entrepreneur magazine. This is a true story. The first page I opened to was a picture of a donut machine. I said, “GOD, say no more”. I took a trip to where the donut machine was and I brought it back to New York, and the rest is history. At first, like most businesses, it wasn’t a success. It was a process. People weren’t used to seeing a Black man making donuts. It took some getting used to. You have to be passionate about your passion. I love this so much, that if you cut me, glaze will run out of my skin. Once I get a house, I am going to get a donut shape pool, and donut shaped bed (we burst into laughter). I’m the Donutologist!
SKII: What are your aspirations in life? What’s next for you Todd?
Todd: Creating a billion dollar global brand by the year 2020. That’s something we perceive to be able to accomplish. I want to start an organization called DREAM. It’s the acronym for, Donuts Rule Everything Around Me! It will be an organization where I will teach young African American boys, from the ages of twelve to twenty-one how to start a business. I’m trying to grab them at that age because that’s usually the age where they try to venture off into selling drugs. I can stop them from doing something illegal, to doing something legal and positive. That’s what this organization is going to be about. I will have business men come in to teach them how to dress, speak, talk, and behave. They don’t have to do what I’m doing. I’m basically teaching them how to own their own businesses. Don’t work for someone else. Own your own business. Any type of business.
SKII: Tell me about OPRAH.
Todd: There was an event that utilized us. We donated our services to an organization that was giving away prom dresses to girls that couldn’t afford it. So, Oprah magazine covered that event and, because of Oprah magazine covering that event, we were written up in her magazine! We were at that event at the right time. I feel you’re always someplace, at the right time. We were there because we wanted to give something. Life is for giving. Sometimes we forget. Life is about GIVING, and not GETTING.
SKII: What would you say to a younger Todd Jones?
Todd: I wouldn’t do anything differently. The mistakes that I have made, made me who I am today. I would tell my younger Todd to trust in the process of success. Success is like failure. There is a lot of failure. Get all of the failures out of the way. Put your failures behind you. Your failures are successes. Don’t give up. Don’t get married. (We both laughed). Something my mother had told me; and it was the truth. My mom told me to get married to your business. Because, it’s like a relationship. I don’t have a plan “B”. This is it. Plan “A” That’s it.
I remembered my wife saying to me, “I think you need to get a job.”
I said, “Why? You have one. Why do I have to get one?” If I sounded harsh, that’s just how I was thinking at that time. “You got me, because you got a job with security. So let me rock with what I’m rocking with, right now. You rode with me when I was in a hooptie. And, then you ride with me when I’m in a Bentley.”
Women like that, are far and few. “Don’t just tell me you believe in my dream; put your money where my dream is at.” There’s a motto, “Go hard, or go home”.
I truly believe that we are chosen for this. Bosses create jobs for other people. That’s what they do. If you’re doing it right, then the reward comes. Everyone eats before me. My employees. The bill man. The tax man. Everybody! Whatever is left after that, is what I keep.
SKII: How would someone get in contact with you to do their event?
Todd: They can go to my Instagram; @ The Donutologist. My FaceBook; Sweet Dreams Mini Donuts. Cuzin’s Duzin