Unique events and experiences have risen in popularity, thanks to Instagram and the excitement that comes with social sharing. From colorful popup museums to niche conferences that celebrate creative moms or wellness warriors, it seems that there’s really something for everybody. Dessert Goals is a new festival all about satisfying your sweet tooth. We caught up with Miraya Berke and Liang Shi, the dreamy duo behind the event, to get the scoop on their shared love of tasty treats, what inspired their wildly popular event, and how they managed to pull it off perfectly each time.
Brit + Co: Tell us about your festival dedicated entirely to experiencing yummy treats in New York.
Miraya Berke: Dessert Goals is about indulgence and discovery. At the festival, we feature the best dessert vendors with tons of fun photo ops. We try to make it the best day ever for groups of friends and families!
Liang Shi: It’s true, we’re shamelessly Instagrammable and all about indulgence but within reason — that’s why our tickets are only for 1.5 hours. Our largest audience by far is millennial women; we wanted to create something that appealed to us, which is probably why other millennial women love the event too!
B+C: We love it! What inspired you to start Dessert Goals? How did you spread the word about the festival once you decided to make this sweet dream happen?
MB: Liang and I were friends for about a year before we started Dessert Goals, and a big part of our friendship was centered around desserts and trying new places. Many of our first hangouts were actually dessert-inspired, including a candy sushi making class and cupcake happy hour. I noticed that there was a festival for everything — burgers, beer, vintage, etc. — and we realized there wasn’t one for desserts yet in New York. I have a background in events and Liang has one in design, so we felt like the perfect duo to launch an event like this.
LS: To pull it off, we looked at our calendars the day we came up with the idea for Dessert Goals and picked a date. We then pulled from our savings to put down a deposit on the venue, and kind of took a big chance from there. We created a Facebook event and hoped people would be interested. It ended up going viral and within 24 hours, over 10,000 people were interested in attending. Before we knew it, the number had grown to over 40,000!
B+C: We can totally understand why — we’re practically drooling just thinking about all of the different desserts to taste test! What types of treats do you typically serve up at the event? Which upcoming desserts are you most excited about?
LS: Because of the category exclusivity we give to each vendor (we host between 20-30 vendors per event), we really do have a huge and diverse range of desserts. We mix in your classic favorites with desserts you’ve never heard of before from all over the world! We’ve had Halo-Halo from the Philippines, pineapple cakes from Taiwan, and pastel de natas. Dessert Goals is a place where you can enjoy your old favorites and discover new ones.
MB: Some of the desserts I’m personally most excited for March are Bonsai Kakigori with Japanese shaved snow, Bar Pa Tea serving bubble tea soft serve, Becky’s Bites (specializing in cream cheese inspired snack packs with cute names), and Petee’s Pie Co — they’re bringing their amazing pies and some special flavors just for the festival.
B+C: Real talk: What’s been the biggest, most unexpected challenge for each of you so far?
MB: As we’ve grown our festival from one day to two days and now to four days, we’ve been trying our best to make sure vendors ration desserts, that our decor stays intact, and that we have enough supplies. This way, guests coming at the end of the day have the same experience as those who experience the festival in the morning.
LS: For me, it’s trying to find a work/life balance. There are so many details involved with the festival, such as designing the event experience and all the physical spaces, trying to create buzz through marketing and PR, taking all the photos, and a million other things. On top of this, I work full-time and am planning my wedding. It can definitely feel overwhelming at times so I try to create pretty rigid schedules I stick to, including truly taking time off when I’ve scheduled myself to.
B+C: What’s been the best or most memorable part about bringing Dessert Goals to life?
LS: Being able to work with amazing brands like Macy’s, Planoly, and Bodum have definitely been huge pinch-me moments! It’s such an honor when someone else believes in your vision and wants to support something you’re creating by being a part of it.
MB: Seeing the lines of people out the door, ticket in hand, waiting to come inside is a pinch-me moment every time. It’s surreal and so exciting. So much hard work goes into each of the events and getting to watch people come and enjoy is the best feeling.
B+C: We’re amazed by the way you’ve designed and produced such an epic experience around something you and so many others love. Which conferences, events, and festivals, if any, do you draw inspiration from?
LS: I love experiences that take you into a world of their own. Sleep No More, an interactive run-around-at-your-own pace play is such a fun escape to explore.
MB: I’ve loved going to different events since I was a kid, which has always been the inspiration for organizing my own events. One of my all-time favorites is Diner en Blanc, a flash mob all-white dinner party. I especially love being surrounded by thousands of people dressed up and going through the same experience together.
Where do you see Dessert Goals next year? In two years? In five years?
MB: We’d both love to bring the event to new cities while continuing to grow the experience in the cities we’re currently in. Beyond that, I’m not sure — but [I’m] so excited to find out!