People ask me if this section where I interview entrepreneurs and SMEs are solely for moms. Of course not, guys! 🙂 Today, I’m featuring a young lass who’s single and 28 years old. Last week, I featured Ava Diaz Daza, also very young and still single. So, to answer your question, I am very much open to featuring entrepreneurs of all ages, marital status and gender! And today, I am very excited because my young entrepreneur’s business is all about making cookies, and I love love love cookies!
Ivorie Acosta of Cookie Bar is a 28 year old cookie lover. She loves eating, cooking and food styling! She is single but she has been together with her supportive boyfriend for 6 years already. “He’s the one who helped me with the business and he handles the finance side of Cookie Bar,” says Ivorie. This lady is a pretty laid back person. She likes staying home on weekends and she likes trying out new restaurants. She also has this love affair with New York City. Sge goes there every other year since 2009 and she says that it’s a small cookie shop named “Levain Bakery” that inspired her to do my business here in Manila.
The Interview with Ivorie Acosta of Cookie Bar
Ginger: Good day! I’m with Ivorie Acosta, the owner of Cookie Bar. Ivorie, can you please tell me more about your business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?
Ivorie: Cookie Bar is a home based cookie shop since 2009. We specialize on making cookies in different shapes, sizes and textures. We take pride in creating a product list that is only centered on cookies. I started Cookie Bar as a sideline business while I was still a teaching preschool during the day. My main clientele were friends, family and co-teachers. As Cookie Bar gained popularity through word of mouth and social media, the business expanded and now Cookie Bar has it’s own kitchen/commissary where people can pick up cookies or choose from the variety of cookies available daily.
Ginger: Who is your market and why did you choose this market?
Ivorie: My market are young teens and young adults who love sweets! Some of our cookies are pretty rich and filled with different chocolates that’s why some older clients might not enjoy it. We try to make sure that cookie lovers of all ages get to enjoy our cookies so we make different kinds to tap that specific market. We have cookies for Vegans, for Diabetics, for people who like oatmeal, for people who like crunchy cookies or soft batch. Cookies are so simple and quick to make but each tweak in every recipe can make a huge difference is taste and texture.
Ginger: How do you market your products?
Ivorie: The internet is the best way to market your products. Everyone has smart phones and laptops so you have to be present in all the social media platforms. Constant posting of photos and reaching out to your customers is one way to get your products out there!
Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? And what made you decide to start this kind of business?
Ivorie: I went on a trip to New York City in 2009 to visit my Mom where she was based. I was really amazed with all the restaurants and bakeries in Manhattan. It’s all filled with wonderful pastries and people just come in and out of these small shops holding some sort pastry. I also noticed how cookies were such a big thing there like cupcakes. One certain bake shop caught my attention because they were known for their COOKIES! Levain Bakery is on the upper west side of Manhattan. It’s a small shop, with no dine-in area, just take out counter for cookies, breads and coffee. I really wanted to replicate their big crusty on the outside and soft on the inside cookies back home. I went back home to Manila, with so much inspiration and an idea of making cookies the next big thing.
Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?
Ivorie: One of the obstacles I faced was deciding to quit my job as a preschool teacher and do Cookie Bar full time. I knew the business won’t be able to grow as quickly as I wanted it if my mind and body wasn’t 100% in it. I had to weigh the pros and cons of staying and leaving my job and eventually I had to decide on choosing to do Cookie Bar full time. It was nerve wracking not knowing If the business will really take off but now that I look back, it made me realize that it was one of the best decisions I made in my life.
Another obstacle I encountered is not knowing how to start registering the business. It was numerous trips to the city hall, BIR and other government offices. There are forms and requirements to be submitted. I did not hire anyone to do the leg work for me. I decided that I had to do it myself to get things done quickly and at the same time, I can learn it for future business endeavors. It really was a learning experience for me.
Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
Ivorie: Passion – Without this, the business will have no heart. It will have no personality. I think customers can tell if a business is run by remote control rather than a hands on owner who has so much love to his/her products. Patience – It won’t be successful overnight. Your product won’t sell instantly. You also cannot just wait for it to sell. You have to get up and work. Drive – Ask yourself what drives you to do this every single day. Is it for your future, to help others (like your employees), is it to help your family? Every person has a different reason why he or she will start a business but if you focus on a certain goal and why you are doing this, you won’t get confused and get disappointed with problems that come your way.
Ginger: Unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur?
Ivorie: Listen to your customers. They are the ones who can tell you if a product is good or not. If something you like isn’t really selling then there must be something wrong with it. It hard to get criticized but just realize that it’s not a blow on you as a person, it’s the product. I was creating a recipe for a certain event last year, I was so excited to launch it because it took me so many test batches to get it right according to my taste preference. In the end, my clients didn’t order this type of cookie. It wasn’t too appealing to them and I had to scratch if off the menu.
Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?
Ivorie: Never stop learning. In 2011, I took a cake and bread baking class in The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City just to give myself more knowledge about the basics of baking. I never really had formal baking training so this was really important for me to learn. Always push yourself to become better and always know that there is room for improvement. If you’re not good with numbers or accounting, there’s a class for that too! That’s my next goal. 😀
Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?
Ivorie: No, not everyone is cutout to do business. It’s something you have to be mentally prepared for. Your business becomes your life. You cannot just run away from problems that come your way or even give someone a task only you can handle. If you are the type of person who can accept failure and its inevitability in life, then you can be an entrepeneur.
Ginger: Thank you so much, Ivorie for such inspiring words from such a young entrepreneur. I hope you can share this inspiring article with other aspiring, young entrepreneurs!
PS. For those who want to order cookies from Cookie Bar, here are their contact information:
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile Number: 09175551228 or 09065696019
Facebook Page: www.fb.com/CookieBarManila
Twitter account – @cookiebarmanila / @ivorie_a
Instagram acount – @cookiebarmanila / @ivorie_a
PPS. For those who want to start their own business and start early, feel free to join my Love the Leap sessions this July! Sign up here: LOVE THE LEAP ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM