Your shopping cart is empty!
We're constantly amazed by our customers who start their business soon after having a baby! The change in priorities and need to create flexible work hours around family is a clear driver for so many. It certainly was the case for Jo Cummins from Hello & Cookie, New Zealand based custom cookie maker. Jo has created a great business in a short period of time that allows her to enjoy both business and home life.
1. How did your sweets business or journey begin?
Hello & Cookie started as a middle of the night idea with a 3-week old baby. This idea led me to the kitchen where I started making dough, rolling, shaping and hand-stamping messages into the fondant to see how they’d turn out. Three years later and we now make big and small message and photo cookies for everything from baby showers to businesses promoting themselves nationwide.
2. What has starting your own business meant for you?
Starting my own business has meant freedom - freedom to spend time with my boys, to be flexible with school sports and making the most of our days spent together. It’s also made every day feel more meaningful because I’m seeing the joy and smiles that surprise cookie gifts bring people and knowing I got to play a part in that.
3. What have been/are the biggest challenges you face(d) in regard to starting/building/maintaining your business?
The biggest challenge so far has been people underestimating Hello & Cookie, for example, occasionally I’ve had suppliers and contractors not taking me seriously to begin with. From this challenge, I’ve learnt the need to set expectations from the start and be clear in your comms.
Aside from that the main challenge has been scaling - knowing when to take steps to grow and shake off the fear. For example knowing when to move into bigger premises as H&C grew, or even stepping out of my comfort zone (way back at the start) by buying multiple industrial racks and wondering if I’d fill them.
4. What do you feel are the benefits of using edible images?
Being able to add edible images to our cookie options has opened us up to more opportunities - what’s more fun than a picture on a cookie!
5. What is your favourite type of treat/design to create?
Baking anything other than cookies on days off! Especially cheesecake using any broken cookies as the base - yum. Now I want cheesecake…
6. What is the current trend you’re seeing in edible images?
The biggest trend we’re seeing in our edible images lately are people using them to sweetly surprise their partners. We even had an ultrasound picture printed on a cookie for a pregnancy announcement, so cute.
7. What is the funniest/most unusual sweet creation you’ve been asked to make?
Recently we had an order which included an engagement ring printed on a cookie along with a hand-stamped cookie with ‘Will you marry me?’ in the fondant. Spoiler alert: She said yes! And luckily for the girlfriend, he remembered to give her a real ring too, not just the cookie one.
8. Do you have any tips you can share when either printing or applying edible images?
Not really but would love to hear any of yours to speed up our printing and applying process :)
9. What is your “can’t live without” sweet making tool?
My “can’t live without” sweet making tool is actually my cookie crew. The daily laughs in the kitchen and extra hands make even our busiest days fly by. They make looking at thousands upon thousands of cookies much more fun.
10. What do you do for yourself within your life and business to help avoid or alleviate burnout?
One of the biggest things about making owning a business work for me - rather than the other way around - is prioritising life balance. This means whenever I can I make the most of life, like watching my son’s football games, getting out with friends, and enjoying everything I can so that when those super busy periods come I am in the perfect headspace for it. Even in the busiest times, I’m sure to have a break and enjoy life with my family. That’s the whole reason for having a business in the first place, so it has to stay that way otherwise it defeats the purpose.
11. What is your career highlight to date?
It’s hard to pick one! The biggest career highlights (so far!) have been the ability to go and watch my son play in a week-long football tournament recently. It feels awesome knowing I’ve created a business, team and processes that allow me to do that. Cookie-wise it always makes my day when another big brand pops into our inbox, plus our biggest order yet of 10,000 cookies was definitely a highlight. I can’t wait to see what comes next.