It’s time to make the pies! And what pies Russell Dilligard bakes up. Dilligard is a television/film actor, songwriter–and now, an in-demand pie maker. His coconut pie has become a dessert sensation, so much so that Dilligard has created a business around it–Russell Dilligard’s Coconut Pie.
What’s so special about his coconut pie? It’s pie that is made from coconut-rich in antioxidant properties: 100 percent from scratch, no fillers, no custard. The super moist and sweet concoction has a soft buttery crust, coconut and a hint of citrus. Priced at $35, Dilligard sells pie after pie via the Internet.
Dilligard has been a foodie all his life. “I got into pie-making and cooking in general when I was a teenager,” he says. “I didn’t want?to be a stereotypical man and not know my way around a kitchen. And my mom and dad both cooked and they taught me and my siblings.”
Cooking was a family tradition–and Sunday dinners, holiday meals and desserts were major happenings growing up in the Fort Greene Housing projects in Brooklyn, NY.
One of Dilligard’s favorite desserts was his mother’s coconut pie. “I love coconut. When I first tasted my mom’s coconut pie as a teenager I knew it was a good product. And it has always been my dream to one day market it to the public,” he recalls.
So when he was looking to make a career change, he thought about his mother’s pie recipe. “I was downsized from my job due to a corporate merger. This venture came out of my need to create. I am a creative person. And I’ve always wanted to be my own boss,” says Dilligard, who runs his baked goods company full-time now.
Dilligard gets most of his business via advertising and word of mouth. “I am selling via the Internet only because to rent retail space would send my overhead straight to the moon,” explains Dilligard.
And business has been good. Plus, Dilligard enjoys what he is doing. “Baking is fun, creative and stress free. And I never liked the 9-to-5 world. I’ve always envisioned myself doing something creative and fun for a living,” he says. “The most important business lesson I have learned is that to succeed in business, you must be dedicated and that hard work will pay off.”