We had the good fortune of connecting with Tracy Dang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tracy, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
If you would have asked me a few years ago about starting up a cookie business, I would have said, “No way!”. I am a High School Anatomy and Physiology Teacher in Watts, California and a Professional Bodybuilder in the IFBB Pro League. My cookie business came out of my love for eating cookies and sharing what I thought to be “to die for cookies” with my fellow bodybuilders.
My dedication and discipline towards fitness is the keystone habit that has impacted many facets of my life. The irony is that I did not grow up dreaming about a career in fitness nor did I ever think I would start an E-Commerce Cookie business either. It all happened by chance or what I now know was fate.
Training and dieting is my second full-time job. It is a lifestyle and not a fade. Let’s put it this way, it is a very disciplined lifestyle. My husband and I are both competitive bodybuilders so my diet is very strict and consistent. Subsequently, when we get a cheat meal every now and then, or post show treat, we go big! Cookies are our guilty pleasure!
When eating cookies, I always find myself asking, “Are these carb worthy?” They have to be extraordinary for me to intake the additional carbohydrates. I have spent many hours looking for cookie places all over the US that I deem as “carb worthy”. I have truly never found the “perfect” cookie and when I did, shipping was unavailable.
My cousin used to bake one of the best Chocolate Chips cookies! I say “ used to” because mine are better now! LOL She would bake them for me for my indulgence after every competition.
Although I begged her for the recipe, she never would share her secret ingredients. I then decided that I would try my hand at making my own cookies; through trial and error of course. It took lots of trial and error to find the perfect texture, size, gooeyness, and sweetness! All the things that I wanted out of an extraordinary cookie. One day, I finally baked the perfect cookie and there you have it! My obsessive addiction to creating the perfect OCD COOKIES!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The first thing that sets us apart is, of course, our product. We only use the finest and premium ingredients such as whole organic eggs, high quality butter, and consumer-rated best brands (i.e. Nestle, Ghirardelli, and Oreos).
We also only use real true ingredients, no artificial flavorings, and complexed carbohydrates as sweetner. For example, our Ube Halo Halo and U-Be Drooling has real purple Sweet potato (ube), and our Lemon La Madeline have real lemon zest and fresh squeezed lemons. Moreover, our Keylime Pie cookies have real limes and real carrots are in the Carrot Cake cookies.
You can taste the premium and high quality goodness in each of our cookies. They are not overly sweet or doughy in taste.
The “why” of our business is the desire to share the quality of the taste in the cookies, and make it worth the cheat! Carb worthy!
Our main challenge throughout this journey has been entering the food industry as a novice. I see this as a challenge and not a setback. I have done a tremendous amount of research, looking for successful business models within the cookie industry. I believe that I am a lifelong learner and have found this process exhilarating . The process has given me new life aspirations and determination to overcome the challenges of opening a successful business. My motto is “taking important lessons from life and growing from my experiences.”
As an educator and athlete, and now a business owner, I know that I need to lead by example. I am in the public eye and serve as a role model for my students, colleagues and peers. I have placed myself in this position and will not let anyone down, including myself. I hold all my students to the highest standard and have the same expectations of myself and OCD cookies.
What I have thus learned in life is with a little motivation, drive, dedication, consistency, commitment, and lots of heart, whatever that is desired can be achieved.
My husband, my faith in God and myself, the desire to be a great role model for my peers and students, and my fitness lifestyle are what gives me the drive and determination to succeed.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is going to be a long, and very diverse itinerary! California is a beautiful place! We have the best weather! We basically have the beach in our front yard and mountains in our backyard. Depending on the time of year. But let’s say it was in January/February.
Big Bear for Snowboarding
Warner Bros Studio Museum
Six Flags Theme Park
Griffith Observatory (day or night time is great)
The Broad Museum ( best modern art)
Hollywood Star walking/Hollywood sign
Hike at Los Liones Canyons ( short hike, 3 beautiful views)
Thousand Steps Beach (hidden cave) in Laguna Beach
Korean Friendship Bell Tower, San Pedro
Sunken City, San Pedro ( broken city, graphite)
Santa Monica Pier
Marugame Monzo (handmade udon) (japantown)
Shin Sen Gumi (handmade ramen) (Gardena or Japantown)
Eatalian or Grimaldi’s (pizza)
Handles Ice Cream
Honey Kettle Fried Chicken
The Griddle Café
I can Barbeque Santa Ana ( AYCE KBBQ)
Oh My Burger
Gracis Madre (WeHO)
Din Tai Fung
Howlin Ray’s Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to my husband, Mohamed Shaaban for being my biggest fan and #1 supporter!
Shoutout to my cousin, Trang Nguyen for always being my role model, mentor and loving cousin!
Shoutout to my mom, Tina Pham for always pushing me to be my greatest and believing in me no matter what choices I choose to make in life!
Shoutout to my sister, Liane Fisher for her unconditional love and support in everything I’ve done in my life for 28 years!
Shoutout to my best friend, Michelle Luong, Anh Tran, Kimberly Chua, Bao Su, Jessica Manzano, Amber Eutsey, and Shantal Barros for always being there for me no matter where we are in the world and always reminding of the great things I can accomplish in life and never giving up when I’m feeling lost and defeated.
Shoutout to my trainer, coach, phamily for their uncondtional love and support.
Shoutout to my cousin, Diana Pham on helping me create my online E-Commerce business! Without her help, OCD Cookies wouldnt be where its at today!
Personal Photo- Lewis Media; Marcus Lewis Cookie Photo – Motion City Films; Tim Lopez