Nope, we’re not suggesting THAT, obviously. What we are saying is that you must must, must check out the most amazing, colorful, great tasting, hottest chocolate chip cookies ever at Baked In Color, bakedincolor.com. We’re obsessed, and founder Julie Waxman is a true inspiration. Check out our interview, and head on over to @bakedincolor on Instagram. Like today’s post and tag a friend and you can win some of these yummy cookies all for yourself. Don’t wait…just go (Ok, read our interview first. Then, go! Trust us. Do it!).
1. What was your inspiration for starting Baked in Color?
I have always been an entrepreneur at heart, and after years of working corporate retail, I was ready to launch my own business. Color had emerged as a hot trend across so many food and dessert categories but the only cookies offered in color were macaroons and sugar cookies. I love the look of the rainbow bagels, and thought I could translate that concept to chocolate chip cookies. I had a fabulous recipe from my days running a cookie company at college, and I knew I had something that was trend right and potentially fantastic. Thousands of test cookies later, in May 2016, Baked in Color was launched.
2. You had a cookie business in college, but you went into corporate retail. Can you explain the transition?
I was a Business and Economics major at Cornell. As a Senior at Cornell, I founded and ran a cookie delivery business, Quickie Cookie. We baked, packaged and delivered fresh cookies, with a quart of milk (think Insomnia cookies). Though we offered five types of cookies, chocolate chip cookies were far and away the top seller. I sold the company and spent the next several years working in Corporate Retail at Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s. Within these incredible companies, I had the opportunity to build and manage my own businesses. I developed my skills in business development, strategic and financial planning, merchandising, team building, negotiation and marketing; so many of the skills needed to develop and build a scaleable brand, Baked in Color.
3. You thought you had a good idea. Who else did you have to convince and how did you do it?
The only person that I had to convince was myself! Yes, I thought the idea was a home run, but I pitched my concept to countless others. Most of those I queried loved the concept, but others did not. There is a tremendous pool of consumers in the market and no product will entice everyone. I know that Baked in Color has a huge opportunity as there are a limitless number of excited cookie customers to keep us busy and baking!
4. How did you test your concept before you launched your business?
I developed the concept, then the product and the packaging. Once I felt that I had a delicious and beautiful product for the market, I sent a sample launch bag to 200 friends and neighbors. The bag included a package of cookies, a launch card and an order menu. The response was fantastic, with rave reviews, lots of excitement and a tremendous return on my initial investment, an order rate of 75%.
5. What is your favorite part of being a business founder? The hardest part of being a business founder?
I love this business, and the endless possibilities for me to build the Baked in Color brand! It’s nice not to answer to anyone but myself.
The hardest part is balancing my time. There are not enough hours in the day! There are so many opportunities and it’s critical to focus the time to get the biggest return on it.
6. What was your path to prepare for entrepreneurship?
I had a Minor in Business Management at college and my favorite class was Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a business school offering. In that class, our entire semester was spent developing a business plan: concept, financials, strategy, marketing, etc. At the end of the course, we presented our business plans to a panel of business leaders in the community. The most viable business plan was awarded $5,000 to launch their business. That was the start of Quickie Cookie, which eventually lead me to Baked in Color. After college, I worked corporate retail for several years, where I honed the skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur.
7. Do you have a favorite cookie?
That’s like asking if I have a favorite child! Each cookie is unique, truly a cookie work of art! I love each of my cookies equally. 🙂
8. When you dunk your cookies in milk, does the milk turn cool colors?
Wow, I love that question! I don’t think so but after this interview, I am going to have a try!
9. Where can we find Baked in Color? What are your future plans?
For now, my plan is to build the brand online, www.bakedincolor.com. Next year, I plan to launch a pop up shop in NYC to further build the brand. In five years, I would like to have an established Baked in Color brand. The opportunities are endless. Baked in Color for NYC. Baked in Color for LA. Baked in Color for Miami. etc. The name is a home run as is the concept. I have also thought about collaborations with organizations, think sports teams, colleges etc. “the official cookie of the NY giants” (blue and red cookie).
Also, the cookies/photography are a natural for apparel, printed pants, tee shirts, caps, etc. “Cute Cookie, Sweet Cookie, Smart Cookie”, maximizing the art/color of the cookies. My retail background is in apparel so I have the know how and connections to execute that part of the business once the brand is established. There are endless possibilities to capitalize on the delicious, colorful and fun Baked in Color brand!
10. What is your advice for the young entrepreneur?
-Take meetings with anyone who gets you excited: listen and learn.
-Be aggressive and go for it. It’s free to ask (for anything!); the worst that can happen is that you get a No.
-Don’t take anything personally. Move on from rejection, to the next potential opportunity.
-Learn from your mistakes, just try not to make the same ones twice.
-Listen to your customers and take good care of them: try not to say No.