We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrea Russell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrea, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I come from an entrepreneurial family. My mother built a successful company when I was a child, and it is still operating to this day! My business however, was started by ACCIDENT! After my divorce I decided to go back to school to finish my Bachelor’s Degree. The final project for my last class was centered around creating a business. We were assigned to develop a business plan, including market research and projections and pitch our business “Shark Tank Style” to the rest of our class. I created The Cookie Jar as this final project. I always knew I made great cookies, and I thought it would be a good idea. When i pitched my project, I baked cookies for the entire class and had them packaged and labeled with my homemade logo (not the one I use today), and everyone LOVED them. After the class was over, I had all this information at my fingertips and didn’t want to just let it go to waste. I shared my finished project with my sisters, and we decided we needed to do something with it! That is how The Cookie Jar was officially born. I started developing different recipes, and came up with our signature Peach Cobbler Cookie as a tribute to my mother. It is still our best selling flavor! 7 years later, The Cookie Jar has grown from serving family and friends, to a loyal following of Cookie Lovez and 120+ cookie flavors!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The Cookie Jar is truly a labor of love for me. I still work full time as a Human Resources Analyst for a local government agency, and baking is my zen. It keeps me grounded And has always helped me decompress! I put everything I have into my business, and most importantly, I treat my customers like family. They mean so much to me! I take pride in seeing people’s positive reactions to my cookies. I welcome and appreciate all feedback, and I listen to them. Although I have help now, every batch of cookies is personally made by me. I don’t always get it right, but I try my best to produce quality products consistently! Lessons I have learned along the way are that in order to be successful, you have to be committed; you can’t take things personal; and the only competition you have is YOU!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Given the current climate, there isn’t much that we could do, but I would definitely take them to get some great seafood at 3 Stakxs Kitchen in Carson. I’d also take them on a road trip to Las Vegas to get an exclusive private dinner from my good friend Chef B! If it were still open, I would hit Spaghettinis for a little live entertainment from DW3, and hit up my favorite beaches.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have a great group of friends who have supported and mentored me along my journey. I want to shout out Kiet Truong from Chu Thong Coffee Shop, and J Posey from 3 Stakxs Kitchen for always having my back and supporting me!
Yelp: The Cookie Jar