Know that if you really want it, you can make it happen! This was new to us, but once we developed our product and made our website, we proceeded with confidence.
As part of our series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company” I had the pleasure of interviewing Beth and Maddie Barnett, of Eat Me Cookies.
Eat Me Cookies was started in 2020 by two adult sisters with a knack for baking and a twisted sense of humor, who were temporarily living at home with their parents during the Covid-19 Crisis.
Eat Me Cookies are homemade, 12 inch cookie cakes using fresh, top quality ingredients with no added preservatives resulting in a delicious product with an even better message.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
We are sisters, who moved from New York City to Charleston, South Carolina in August 2020. Seeing as we are not only sisters but best friends, we have always dreamed of working together. Lucky for us, we were granted the opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic.. we put our brains together, and decided to start a company that incorporated our sense of humor and joy of baking.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Beth had previously thought up this idea while we were living in Manhattan, but we did not have the time to see it through! On April 20, 2020, after one month of moving back in with our parents and doing countless puzzles, we realized that we wanted to be more productive during our quarantine. We both maintained our respective jobs, but not physically going into an office granted us far more free time than we were used to, so we used that additional time to build our business. We jumped in with two feet and went live on May 1!
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Hardest part when starting our journey was getting into a rhythm of owning and operating things on our own. It is very different than the traditional 9–5, but knowing all the hard work that you put in directly reflects how well you do is motivating. We never considered giving up, but went through the natural ebbs and flows of business, at times getting frustrated with lower numbers. We have seen our success and have a 5-year goal, thus it helps us to continue to work and succeed.
So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Our business continues to grow. Whether it is recognition, sales, partnership opportunities, etc. we have seen an upward shift in all of these things. We have dealt with all the natural ups and downs of starting a business, and realize that we need to be realists and have thick skin in order to persevere and keep working. All great things take time and hard work. Business is constantly evolving, and we are putting ourself in that realm as to where we are now and where we will be.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We are a modern take on an old fashioned product. Our tagline is ‘A Crude Take on the Cookie Cake’ meaning that we can pipe curse words, and other silly things on our 12 inch cookie cakes; we give our customers the ability to fully express themselves. Of course we do have our limits, no homophobic, racist, or bullying statements.
Another thing that sets us a part is the fact that we use all natural ingredients with no binding agents. Our cookies are 100% homemade by us. We offer standard cookies, gluten-free and vegan, and our flavors range from chocolate chip, sugar, funfetti, peanut butter, ginger bread, snickerdoodle and red velvet!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
While we were packaging cookies, we placed the wrong address on two of our packages. Long in short, a 16 year old received a ‘Happy 60th Birthday’ cake and a 60 year old received a ‘Happy Sweet 16’ cake. Lucky for us, they were awesome sports, and we sent them their proper cakes the following day!
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
If you are passionate about a business idea, you can make it happen. Having never started a business in the past, we definitely doubted ourselves, but we are so lucky to have such supportive family and friends, who pushed us to try! Their faith in us propelled us forward and gave us the confidence that we needed.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Communication, with both staff and customers, is key for success.
- Patience. It is important to acknowledge issues within your business and face them head on with confidence and calmness.
- Hard work. Starting a business is not easy, but if you are willing to dedicate time and energy, you can achieve success!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Do not let your mistakes define your business, but instead, learn from them, do not be disappointed, and move forward applying the proper changes!
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
CEO’s need to be open to listening to their customers and their staff. Often times CEO’s feel that their way is the right way, but that is not always the case. Your staff see daily, behind the scenes things that you might not see.. so their input is extremely important to keep things running smoothly. And listening to customers, they can help you perfect your product! The goal should always be to improve your business and your leadership style.
In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
We have found that creating personal connections with customers is key.. interpersonal connections keep customers coming back.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- There will be bumps in the road! Being first time business owners / starters, we had no idea the difficulties we would face in the first few months of business. From issues with packaging to all of the legal ends that needed to be sorted.. it was a lot of work, and continues to be a lot of work — but is 100% worth it!
- The customer is always right! Of course not everyone will be happy at all times, but it is important to remain 100% professional and put customer service first.. always!
- Trial and error is key — from testing cake flavors, bake time, baking trays, packaging, etc. We spent money, and many days and nights, working until we got things right.
- Invest in your business. We learned quickly that investing money in quality ingredients and packaging was key.
- Know that if you really want it, you can make it happen! This was new to us, but once we developed our product and made our website, we proceeded with confidence.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
We have used our business as a way to give back! From matching weekly sales to dedicate cookie cakes to frontline, healthcare workers, to donating sales to The Ronald McDonald house.. being charitable in any capacity is extremely important to us! We want to use our business and our voices for good.
How can our readers further follow you online?
Your readers can follow us on Instagram @EatMeCookiesNYC and can visit our website at eatmecookiecakes.com
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
Thank you for speaking with us!