nomsense

NOMsense Bakery was founded in 2014 by Wharton senior Roopa Shankar and College senior Alina Wong. The duo look to expand their operations after graduation this spring. | Courtesy of Stephanie Loo.

Penn’s sweetest startup is now selling its desserts in stores and coffeeshops near campus.

NOMsense Bakery was started in February of 2014 by Wharton senior Roopa Shankar and College senior Alina Wong and has grown drastically in the past year. Philadelphia coffee shops Hubbub, Elixir and Petrus Ky — as well as Gourmet Grocer — have all started selling their signature dessert, the NOMwich.

Over the past year the company has grown from just the duo to include a team of eight freshmen and sophomores to help with marketing, finance and event planning.

“We needed to scale really quickly to provide orders,” Wong said.

The bakery and catering company exclusively sells their signature “NOMwich” — a cookie sandwich that consists of different fillings, drizzles and toppings.

“The Classic,” their original flavor, consists of two snickerdoodle cookies with a cookie dough filling, a chocolate drizzle and a crushed toffee topping. Their other flavors change seasonally and consist of flavors like the “Cutie Pie,” a strawberry and white chocolate filling with brown sugar cookies, strawberry drizzle and graham cracker topping.

Shankar and Wong loved to bake together in Wong’s Harnwell College House kitchen and were inspired to begin selling their creations when friends told them they would buy their cookies. The baking duo started off by catering for student groups and then began to sell their sandwiches wholesale. They now do all their baking out of the Center for Culinary Enterprises on 48th and Spruce Streets.

Shankar and Wong believe their target segment, millenials, enjoy the aesthetics of their cookie sandwiches in addition to the taste.

“Our product is ... Instagram-worthy, which is high-key for millennials,” Wong said.

NOMwiches help people “satisfy their digital hunger,” Shankar added. “You want something to be able to take a picture of.”

Though Wong and Shankar admit that it can be difficult to be students, run a bakery and work to get their new employees to get as excited about the NOMsense brand as they are.

“We definitely feel like we’re doing this full time right now,” Shankar said.

Leah Sprague, a College freshman and one of their employees, agreed.

“They say they’re bakers first and students second,” Sprague, the chief of marketing events, said. “I’ve been blown away by how much work [Shankar and Wong] put in to it.”

Both consider themselves experiential learners and love applying what they learn in the classroom to outside pursuits. Shankar said several of her Wharton classes gave her business skills — specifically branding and networking — but feels she has learned the most about marketing from her hands-on experience.

Wong and Shankar hope to open a NOMsense cafe in Philadelphia that embodies their bakery’s brand. After graduation, the two plan to continue running and growing NOMsense and hope to expand outside of Philadelphia in the future, maybe to other college campuses.

Shankar and Wong admitted to eating at least twenty NOMwiches a week.

“It’s hard to eat just one,” Wong said. “I like to think it’s negative calories.”

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