I’m thrilled to announce a new component to the site: Boston Mamas Rock! We’ll be featuring interviews with fabulous local mamas, whether they be entrepreneurs, avid volunteers, stay at home moms who take care of a crazy number of kids, moms who have closet talents (e.g., community theatre, juggling, what have you…), authors, media professionals, politicians, professors, etc. Basically, folks with an interesting story to tell! So go ahead and nominate yourself or someone else! And I’m pleased to introduce our first featured mama: Susan Callahan, a “cookiepreneur” from Westford.
Susan Callahan – Goodies Homemade Cookies & Treats
Christine: Tell us a little bit about yourself Susan. How did you spend your days before becoming a full fledged cookiepreneur? And now that you’ve arrived, do you have time for anything else?
Susan: I was a stay-at-home mom and baking was something I always did with my daughter, some constructive one-on-one time while her baby brothers napped. When the children were all in school full time I went back to work as an administrative assistant. As the kids grew and required less of my time, I took on more job responsibilities in different positions and ended up as an executive assistant/personal assistant for a CEO.
When my daughter, Julie, went off to college in 2002, she was one of four girls sharing the dorm room. I would send her and her roommates care packages that mainly consisted of store bought stuff. One time when she called to thank me for the latest package, she asked that the next time I send her something, would I please just send her some “goodies.” So, before I knew it, I was sending her cookies, and then the requests came in that I send her friends who were attending other schools cookies for their birthdays, or if they were having a difficult time, just a little pick-me-up. Before, I knew it, I was getting orders from family and friends. Then, I thought I should have at least a business card…
My cousin, who is a graphic designer, designed my business card using Goodies as the business name. When she showed me the proof, with the Goodies logo, I knew in an instant that I could do something with this design.
So, that’s how it all began.
Christine: Your cookies look amazing. Are these long time family recipes, or recipes you have developed over the years?
Susan: I wish I could take credit for the recipes, but they are not old family recipes, just ones that I have found over the years and tweaked a bit.
Christine: Do any of the cookies have a particular history or story associated with them? I’d love to know what inspired those deadly looking Chocolate Chip Reese’s Cup cookies.
Susan: The Chocolate Chip Reese’s Cup – well, who doesn’t like more chocolate chip and Reese’s???
Christine: I see that you basically bake to order – does this mean you are constantly tied to your kitchen? Or do you have helper elves?
Susan: Occasionally I have helper elves, but as the website states, orders must be in by 10:30 a.m. to be processed the same day, which allows me some flexibility.
Christine: Are you planning on getting your cookies in local stores, or do you ever hit the open market circuit? Basically, I’m wondering if there is a way to sample your cookies, but I’m not sure I trust myself to have an entire dozen or so in the house.
Susan: I’d love for my cookies to be sold in local stores, and am working on that. Until then, our cookies can be sampled at the following farmer’s markets this summer: on Tuesday’s in Lexington and Westford, on Wednesday’s in Wayland at Russell’s Farm, and Friday’s in Groton.
Christine: I see that your cookies can make it to New England destinations in a day. Do you ship outside of New England? Where has your farthest flung starving college student been from?
Susan: Our cookies are shipped all across the country. Students at the University of Arizona and Southern CA have enjoyed our cookies.
Christine: Your business had unexpected roots in simply wanting to send your daughter cookies while she was in college. How quickly did your hobby turn to a business?
Susan: For five years it was really just a hobby, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Then, as I became more and more disenchanted with my job as an executive assistant, I realized that I had developed quite a wonderful following, most of whom were repeat customers. And, I thought, what would happen if I actually worked at this like a business…and, here we are!
Christine: Do you have any advice for aspiring mamapreneurs?
Susan: My advice to other aspiring mamapreneurs is, as a mother, you already are working very hard, but if you are lucky enough to find something that you love to do, that you can claim as your own, do it!
Christine: Is your daughter out of college? Do you still send her cookies? Does she share your love of baking?
Susan: Julie graduated two years ago, is living and working in NYC, and, yes, she still loves to receive GOODIES. She does like to bake, but has lots of other things to do instead!
Christine: And I used to teach college kids, so of course I want to know, is there any data (self report or otherwise) about whether your cookies have improved exam scores?
Susan: One of my promotional postcards to parents of boarding students reads, “Send 24 Delicious Reasons to Choose Milk During Exams.” I’d like to think that GOODIES does in fact help kids do better on their exams!
Know a fabulous local mama? Nominate yourself or someone else to be featured!