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Struggle or Success?

I read a quote by former NBA player Chris Herren recently. He said that more people were impressed with his sobriety following addiction than his amazing career as a Denver Nugget and Boston Celtic.

Herren said people identify more closely with struggle than with success.

It got me thinking…I’ve always tried to put Cookie Text’s best foot forward. In Facebook posts and in blog posts. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative. This creates a positive aura around the company and keeps the customer worry-free.

Struggle or Success?

But do you need to know our struggles in order to really get behind us? And what kinds of struggles does a cookie cake company have? It’s cookie cakes, not rocket science (spoken by someone who lives in a NASA hotbed!).

I’ve had all-nighters, and customers who want the sun, moon, and stars–and they want it yesterday, for free. I’ve done bad math regarding flour after purchasing a new mixer and sent out a big batch of CookieText® that may have helped soak up flood waters. DRY as the Sahara. I’ve had equipment break downs. Most notably the mixer break down during Teacher Appreciation week…I was moments away from a stroke. Thank God for my husband.
And I’ve mentioned in the past the time the gal on the west coast copied my website to sell her own style of cookies.

So struggles, Cookie Text has had them. Quite a few. But we keep on keeping on, keep on moving forward.

And Triumphs…

We’ve also experienced some triumphs. You already know about those. Those are the kinds of things I usually post and share.

I can attest that people have enjoyed the successes. When I post or blog about something cool that has happened with the company, people ‘like’ it like crazy. There have been many moments I feel like the whole world is pulling for my little company that could. It truly makes me feel like a rock star.

There are times I truly need this assurance. Those times at 2 am when I’m cranking out cookies all by myself and I think of that support and realize that I’m not in it alone. There are hundreds of people who want the best for Cookie Text. It doesn’t matter if I’m sometimes the only one manning the ovens through the night. The knowledge people are pulling for CookieText gives me the ‘umph’ to keep going.

Perhaps it’s the old ‘root for the underdog’ mentality when it comes to Cookie Text.

I think people know we’re the underdog:

  • Most companies don’t happen upon someone who creates the perfect logo to launch their brand.
  • Most companies don’t start without a large investment of borrowed funds.
  • Most companies fail the first few years.

And there is something about that that makes people pull for us.

Let’s face it. I’m not the gal that got an MBA and knows the ins and outs of business.

I’m the girl from Phoebus, Virginia who is still paying off her college loans. Who started a little cookie cake company that people like and does a good job.

Maybe it’s both struggle and success that people identify with. Maybe people simply appreciate hard work that pans out.

So what do you more easily identify with, struggle or success? Perhaps too much of either can lead us astray.

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It’s a Small World

Late Friday Night

It’s Friday evening and my business line rings with a call from Texas.

“Good evening, this is Jeanne,” see, since it’s my cell and my business phone, I answer any unknown calls like that.

“Hi,” says a slightly strained voice, “is this the bakery?”

“Yes, this is Cookie Text,” I reply.

“First of all, do you deliver?”

“Yes, everything is hand delivered.”

“Okay, good, now are you open tomorrow?”

I explain that I take Saturday orders when I can, and have several for the next day, so I’d love to help her out. But since the number is from Texas, I clarify my delivery areas.

The Situation

“Yorktown. Good, my sister lives in Yorktown and she broke her wrist today. I wanted to do something nice for her,” the caller said.

I talk with her a bit about our product options and what would be best for the household she’s sending to. She decides on an item and explains that she’s 6 months pregnant, walking through the airport to her gate, doesn’t know yet how her sister even broke her wrist, but would try to place the order via her phone if she doesn’t have to board immediately. She mentioned she found Cookie Text by searching the yellow pages online for Yorktown bakeries.

Order Online

I explain that I’d love to help her out and take her order over the phone, but I was driving at the time (doing carpool for the Friday night trip to the ice skating rink–the latest place to be seen for middle schoolers). I told her if she had any trouble at all ordering online just call me or text me before the night ends and I promise her sister will get her item the next day.

It was a pleasant conversation. I was happy for the order, thrilled that she found Cookie Text online, and also delighted at the prospect of brightening her sister’s day.

Order Received

When orders are placed, I get an email with all the details. It’s quite convenient and helpful. So as I sat at the ice skating rink where the cool kids were spending their Friday night, I peeked at my email on my phone and there was the order from the woman in the airport.

It’s a Small World

See, the woman in Texas…that found us online…well, she was ordering a cookie for her little sister…
who broke her wrist in PE, and who just happens to be my eleven year old son’s sweetheart.

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Can you make a $5 cookie cake?

Prologue:  

Since this blog was originally published we’ve gained some fans and some readers…we thought it was worth re-visiting, especially since the Juggle for Hunger event is tomorrow at CNU. Read through to the epilogue for what’s changed since this post…;) 

 

I lost both of my parents at a fairly young age, so I find myself very adhered to men and women I respect who are older than I. I’m not quite sure if I’m looking more for guidance or approval, but that’s okay, it might not matter.

One of the people that I have grown to respect as wiser and more worldly is my middle son’s soccer coach, Steve Shaw. He’s a soccer Guru. He can spot a player with potential and coach them into a true asset to any team.

There’s more than that to Coach Shaw, though. Steve Shaw is a believer. Not just in our youth. He’s a believer in God and His goodness. Coach Shaw believes that if we all give a bit more of ourselves than we are now, then the world as a whole will improve.

See, Coach Shaw is well-traveled. Me, not so much. I work to make a little impact nearby, but Coach Shaw has his sights set on China and places I’ll likely never see. I guess that’s where trust comes in. When someone you respect asks you for something, you have to trust them.

I know nothing about China. I have many abilities, but the dynamics of world politics, poverty issues, and how I could possibly have a role in them is not one of them.

The Challenge

It was March 15th. We were at a soccer tournament in Prince William County. Hanging out in the lobby at the Hampton Inn, and Coach Shaw asked, “Can you make a $5 cookie?”

As part of his initiative called Juggle for Hunger, Coach Shaw was hosting a Collegiate exhibition soccer game between Christopher Newport University and William & Mary. All the funds from the event were going to benefit his mission work in China. We could sell the cookies at the game.

Well, a CookieText® cookie cake retails for $25, and even a bag of CookieBites™ is $12. So a $5 cookie cake was a challenge.

To make a long story short, we came up with a $5 cookie. We call them our Emoti-Cookie®, because they are the perfect size for an emoticon. We made 250 of them for Coach Shaw and sold them at the CNU vs. William & Mary soccer game.

We gave them to Coach at cost (true cost, not labor). So every bit of  money made went to his mission work. When the exhibition game ended and we had leftovers we brought them to his church the next morning so that his peers could offer donations to his cause in exchange for an Emoti-Cookie®.

When all was said and done, we almost tripled Coach’s investment. Which is great. But that is not the point.

The Result

“Can you make a $5 cookie?” That question completely altered our business.

Our desire to help someone we respected resulted in a major payoff.

We expanded our product line. We now offer the cutest little homemade, hand-delivered $5 cookie cake you will ever find. We sell them by the 6-pack to make them deliverable. They are a huge hit.  They are adorable and irresistible. They are just right.

Our signature item, the CookieText® cookie cake, is the backbone of our brand. It is the foundation of the company.

But the question, “Can you make a $5 cookie cake?” resulted in the development of a product that, in keeping with the brand, offers a bang for the consumer’s buck while increasing the number of potential customers who receive our product. More people get one, more people like one, more people learn about Cookie Text, visit our website, and hopefully purchase our CookieText® cookie cake products.

So, yes. We can make a $5 cookie cake. For all the right reasons. Great product. Fair price. Thanks, Coach Shaw, for the challenge.

Epilogue:

Coach Shaw has moved on to become my youngest son’s coach and we just learned that he coach my middle son’s team again beginning in the fall.

April 14th marks CookieText’s 5th year sponsoring Juggle for Hunger. Our business has grown such we no longer ask Shaw to cover our costs. Last year we switched over to bags of CookieBites and they were a hit, so that’s what we’ve done again this year. 

Come see CNU face W&M on April 14th at CNU…and have some CookieText while you’re there…this year’s proceeds benefit the purchase of water purification systems in China.

Learn more about tomorrow’s event here.

Learn more about my boys’ soccer club at www.valegacysoccer.com .

Learn more about CookieText at www.cookietext.com .

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