A Jarring Success
Alum Builds Business on Layered Desserts
Dani Beckerman ’12 was planning to become a doctor. Instead, she found a clear path to a booming business in a mini Mason jar.
While juggling a medical internship with pastry classes, the lifelong hobby baker saw a display of glass containers at a crafts store and instantly knew that layering her desserts in them would make for a killer visual. Brownie chunks, mousse and whipped cream went in, Beckerman snapped a photo, and her Instagram crowd went wild. Soon, her followers wanted their own adorable desserts.
Social media savvy has been a main ingredient in the success of what became Jars by Dani, which six years later has 16 employees, a new manufacturing facility in Queens and a partnership with national gelato and sorbet brand Talenti.
“I always loved baking,” says Beckerman, who studied psychology and pre-med at Maryland. “I never really thought I’d do it as a career, but there was something pulling me toward it. … I just said, ‘I’ll see what comes of this’—Jars by Dani came of it.”
At first, Jars by Dani comprised Beckerman in the kitchen of her fifth-floor Upper West Side walkup, frantically baking and assembling jars all night. She’d trek through New York City on the subway, hand-delivering her products to customers and asking them to help spread the word by posting their own Instagram photos of the jars.
“You can’t be shy about it—you have to promote your business,” Beckerman says.
Her confections became staples on the New York party scene, making appearances at soirees for Diane von Furstenberg, Coach, Ralph Lauren and other brands. Soon, Beckerman was taking in culinary school students for externships to meet the demand for her picture-perfect creations.
Flavors like strawberry shortcake, cake batter and peanut butter ensure that the jars are more than just bait for Instagram “likes,” says Beckerman. “You buy them first for the aesthetics, and then the taste keeps you coming back,” she says. “People are always surprised by how good they taste.”
The Talenti-partnered jars take another tasty turn, with concoctions like Brownie Mint Madness and Choco-Cookie Craze. People magazine described them as “the ultimate sundae in a jar.”
Available for order nationwide at $10 for a large and $6.25 for a small, the sweet jars do pose one problem for Beckerman: picking a favorite. “It’s like choosing between children,” she’s said.