Today we’d like to introduce you to Alice Chen.
Hi Alice, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
As a little girl, my dream job was always to become a veterinarian so I can save animals, but later realized I was horrible at biology so I promised myself I’d find another way to help animals. Fast forward a few years, I adopted my dog Oreo from Helen Woodward Animal Center, and like all crazy dog moms, started an Instagram for him. He started modeling for multiple dog bandana companies, but I had trouble finding dog bandanas that were sturdy enough, within my budget, and local to San Diego. At that point, I realized this was my opportunity to combine my love for animals and crafting to start my own company and also dedicate a portion of the proceeds going to local rescues. Hence Cookies & Co. was born.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It definitely had its challenges as we pride ourselves in hand-making quality pet accessories, and since I’m the one sewing all the products and the last time I touched a sewing machine was over a decade ago, it definitely took some time to ramp up.
I currently also work a full-time marketing job, so immediately after work, I switch from my laptop to my sewing machine and work on Cookies & Co. Not to mention, being a dog mom of two, my dogs are always my priority. Like any small business, it’s a lot to juggle as just one person. I’m also an extremely risk adverse person, so having to take the risk to invest in starting the company and not knowing if it’ll succeed or not was a huge struggle for me. But luckily, I had the support and encouragement from my boyfriend and friends that got me to take that leap, and I’m so glad I did!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Cookies & Co. specializes in high-quality handmade dog accessories, specifically dog bandanas and matching accessories for their humans (masks, scrunchies, dog mom apparel, etc.) We are mainly known for our dog bandanas and matching masks/scrunchies for the humans because who doesn’t want to match with their best friend?
I’m most proud of how far we’ve come and the community we’ve built on Instagram! We’ve met so many local small businesses and dogs in San Diego and can’t wait to continue building and connecting with this dog-friendly community.
I think what sets us apart from others is we really do pride ourselves in quality. A lot of bandanas in the market is a single square piece of fabric that requires you to fold into a triangle and tie on your dog. Meanwhile, all of our bandanas are double layered and shaped and sized to fit XS pups to XL dogs. Not to mention, our bandanas also come with a snap button to make it easy to put on and take off. Lastly, we really want to help support local dog treat companies, so with every one of our bandana orders, we ship out a complimentary dog treat from a locally sourced dog treat company. In turn, supporting locals and giving them exposure as well.
We also donate 10% of proceeds to local animal rescues, and we’ve dressed senior rescue dogs in our bandanas for their photoshoots as well. We love giving back to the rescues, and it’s definitely a big factor that sets us apart.
What does success mean to you?
To me success is creating a product that customers love. That being said, a product that is high quality and will bring the customer back and tell their friends about it. I’m sure in different stages of this small business that definition will change, our next step is finding a way to scale, so our next goal maybe if we achieve a certain scale, we define success that way. But as of now, my main focus is to continue to spread the word and to make high-quality products that customers will love.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://cookiesandco.shop/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the.cookiesandco/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/the.cookiesandco
Erinwiesephoto Gretchen Otero photography