Woah Nelly was a small but popular doughnut making business that seemed to suddenly vanish into thin air.
The most recent piece of information I can find about them is a mention in an online news article about doughnut shops from June 2018 – although I get the feeling they had vanished well before that and the person who wrote the article didn’t bother doing any research.
Checking their social media, their Instagram site has been inactive since December 2016 and their Facebook page since March 2015. The website, woahnellybakes.com/ takes you, most peculiarly, to a Thai website about betting. I’m not sure what to read into that.
I found a message from a follower on the Instagram page posted sometime after November 28, 2016 that says the website seems to be down. Another message sometime after December 7, 2016 says, “Where did you guys disappear to?” to which someone, not Janell, replied “They’ve actually decided to not continue with this business.” There is no explanation as to why or how they knew.
The owner of Woah Nelly, Janell Smith, wanted to make doughnuts after taking a trip back home to the USA in 2013. She ran her business from Dural in Sydney’s north-west after perfecting her doughnut recipe.
You could order online, or get Woah Nelly doughnuts at cafes in Surry Hills and the north-west of Sydney. One article I found said they were ‘delivered weekly to cafes from Castle Hill to Wollongong’.
I also thought they were available at a weekend market somewhere in Sydney, but I can’t confirm that.
Their social media is packed with lovely photos which I am guessing were taken specifically for them.
I first came across Woah Nelly doughnuts at the Day Of The Donut event in July 2016. That was a poorly-run event and sure enough hasn’t been staged again – I should add that the doughnut makers, such as Woah Nelly, were not the organisers, but purely stall-holders.
Woah Nelly seems to have vanished later that year.
One of the remaining pieces of proof of their existence is the article syndicated to dozens of Herald publications which starts with the preposterously dreadful line: When did doughnuts become A Thing? It was this horrible, naive and ignorant line that was one of the inspirations for me to start the DomNuts blog and set the record straight on Sydney doughnuts. I could go on about that dreadful article, which often sits at the top of Google ‘doughnut’ searches, but this post is about Woah Nelly.
Despite quite a bit of searching, I haven’t found much else about either Woah Nelly or Janell Smith. There were no ‘Farewell, we’re closing’ messages or any signs of shutting the business down, apart from the message mentioned above by someone who knew, but doesn’t explain how. It’s a shame because it is obvious that Janell put her heart and soul into the business, and by all reports, made good doughnuts. I probably got one at the 2016 Day Of The Donut debacle, but I can’t remember.
If you know something, or if you tried her doughnuts and would like to comment, please let me know.
Note: All images in this post are from Woah Nelly’s social media pages.
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