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Meet Cookie Cups: The New Dessert Trend That Delivers

People

I love cookies, I think everyone I know loves cookies - even those who dislike or intolerant to dairy, gluten, yada yada - because cookies are just fabulous, and they’re a snack with the capability to brighten up anyone's day, whether they’re chocolate chip, oatmeal, raisin, butternut.


But what about cupcakes?

I love cupcakes too - on a Sunday morning with my coffee, or on a dull morning train ride to work. A lemon zesty cupcake has the ability to make my day, and it is my honest belief that sugary treats are mandatory, especially during weeks like these when one wakes up to another executive order or White House tirade. But the real dilemma is which sugary delight to choose?

Cookies and cupcakes independently are two fine, heartwarming entities, but Nicole Bandklayder looked at both recently and said, why can’t the two be one?

Enter The Cookie Cups.

Nicole moved from New York to Minneapolis four years ago to start her own marketing firm. Making the jump from the cities and the entire entrepreneurial process made her realise that while marketing for others, her time could be better spent marketing her own brand. Thus the idea for the Cookie Cups was born.

“Doing marketing for other companies made me realize I could be branding for myself”

Having played around with the idea for a bakery for a while, Bandklayder was surprised to find that the mix of cookie and cupcake was a pioneering idea. She became fixated by the idea of the Cookie Cup - cookie dough shaped in the form of a cupcake and topped with cupcake icing - and with her marketing background, she was quick to begin the process of launching her new business venture.

"For four years I had been playing with a bakery idea but I just didn't have the concept down" - Nicole

The Cookie Cups are currently producing ten flavours for the line, some of which are gluten free, and is rotating in seasonal selections. They won’t be alone in the bakeries however - as she has also been developing a coffee line to coincide with her baked goods production, CookieCups Gourmet Coffee co.

When we originally spoke to The Cookie Cups founder she was searching for her location in Minneapolis, since then, she has not only chosen her location, but has also begun construction on the kitchen. A crowdfunding campaign proved lucrative and raised $5050 which Bandklayder says “will go toward kitchen appliances like our commercial mixer, convection oven and a few other crucial pieces.” The kitchen under construction and pictured below, will be fitted and ready for baking in the middle of February.

Bandklayder is in talks with QVC to do a segment, and grocery stores to get into the bakery section of bigger stores, and down the road she envisions one or two hundred Cookie Cups bakeries. We can't wait to see how this new cult dessert turns out!

"Down the road I see one or two hundred bakeries, kind of like a mini version of Dunkin' Donuts" - Nicole Bandklayder

3 Min Read
Business

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.