In just two years, Krofne has grown from a small market stall making hot European style donuts on-site to what will soon be eight sites around Canberra, including Fyshwick Niche Markets, Old Bus Depot Markets, South.Point and outside Woolworths Gungahlin. From custard to jam and their classic Nutella-filled flavour, there’s so much more to Krofne than just decadent rolled dough.
“My husband and I started our business because our son Anthony, who has Down syndrome, was about to finish school and we were genuinely concerned for his future. There are very limited opportunities for children with Down syndrome, so we decided we would create employment for him by making our traditional family recipe of donuts,” says Krofne founder and owner, Danijela Vrkic.
Their jam-filled journey started at the Old Bus Depot Markets every Sunday, making donuts fresh to order with Anthony working and selling at the stall.
“Selling is my favourite part of the job,” he says.
With a wide range of flavours and fillings from strawberry glaze to peanut caramel, they also offer a delicious vegan range consisting of custard, jam, cinnamon and salted caramel.
The inspiration behind the donuts came from a visit to Melbourne. “My husband and I were in Melbourne and saw the American Donut Kitchen and it inspired us to bring our traditional family recipe to life and do something similar to have Anthony involved,” she says.
Krofne currently employs six people with Down syndrome as well as Danijela, her husband and daughter Olivia. “The weekends are very busy for us so we all jump in to roll the dough!” she says.
According to Danijela, the feedback from the community has been “amazing”. “We have so much support from the local community, partly because we have really good donuts but also because of what we do as a small business. Having a child with a disability myself, you really understand the challenges that people face when it comes to job opportunities.”
Further to the employment Krofne offers, they will soon have their own training program as well.
“I really hope we can be a good example to a lot of other businesses out there that might be thinking about taking on board someone with a disability; it’s really important to get the word out there that people with Down syndrome are able to work,” says Danijela.
The offerings from Krofne continue to flow right out of the kitchen and into the community, with Danijela available to visit businesses to speak about what they do and how they can engage people in the disability sector.