At And so to Shop, we are passionate about helping independent businesses grow. We want to provide creators with, not only a platform to showcase their wares but also, an online community providing them with the space, companionship, knowledge and opportunities to thrive.
Part of this, we believe, is sharing stories – stories of how these brands were created, what they stand for and what their founders have learnt along the way.
For our first Meet the Maker, we spoke to Meg, aka Mothers Love Cookies. Here is what she had to say about her wonderful business…
Tell us where the idea for Mothers Love Cookies came from
They say necessity is the mother of invention. My little business came from the need to help another mama.
My neighbor had a very difficult birth experience and was having difficulty breastfeeding because of the trauma. I wanted to help her, but didn’t know what I could do. A friend of mine mentioned making lactation cookies to help her breastfeed – I had never heard of them, so I did what everyone does and I googled it!
I made the cookies for my neighbour and she absolutely loved them. They were so effective that the staff looking after her in hospital asked what had caused such a change.
It was my neighbour who suggested I sell the cookies to help other mamas. After roping in others to test my recipes and give feedback, I had such a positive response that I felt my mission was clear.
Toasted Almond & Dark Chocolate Lactation Cookies, from £13.95
What would you say are the key values and ethos of your business?
I care. I really care about my mamas and I want to help them to breastfeed as long as they choose. Customer care is at the top of my list of values; I strive to provide personal attention from being responsive to emails and social media to writing a small note to include in each order.
Quality ingredients. Belgian chocolate, real butter and rich brown sugar are essential to my business.
Innovation. I like to develop new recipes and offer new bakes monthly if possible.
Freshness is imperative. Bakes are made fresh and posted each day. Everything is wrapped for freshness and convenience for the Mama on the go.
Integrity. I strive to provide a pleasant experience from initial questions through the order process to delivery and make sure any issues are promptly resolved to the satisfaction of the customer.
How long have you been running Mothers Love Cookies for?
I can’t believe it, but it’s been over 3 years now. Time flies when you’re having fun!
Your business is thriving and you have some amazing fans, including the gorgeous Mother Pukka, how have you managed to grow your business whilst keeping the heart of Mothers Love Cookies?
Well, I don’t feel like I have grown the business at all. It seems to have taken on a life of it’s own.
Mother Pukka has been such a wonderful advocate for this little business. I still can’t believe just how much she has done to share the love about lactation cookies and I am forever grateful.
As far as making changes as the business has grown, the only thing I could bring myself to change was our packaging. I didn’t want to change the way we made the bakes or communicated with our customers, but I could streamline the packaging. It was difficult to let go of something that I took a lot of time over, but in the end I realised that it was the least personal aspect of the business as a whole.
Double Chocolate Lactation-Boosting Brownies, from £13.95
What advice would you give to other indie business owners who perhaps are struggling to grow/develop their business?
Make sure you keep your integrity at all times. Use social media to connect with customers, but also like minded small businesses – they are an invaluable support network. Develop relationships with your customers and listen to their feedback. Take part in loop giveaways on social media to increase your exposure to your target audience. Offer tenner Tuesday or fiver Friday deals if you can – who doesn’t love a good deal?
What 3 things would you say are the most important when running an independent business?
Love what you do. When times are tough, if you love what you do, you will get through it.
Play to your strengths. Use all your strengths, interests, creativity to make your brand unique.
Make connections. Running a small business can be very isolating. Be sure to develop relationships with other small business owners either in real life or on social media.
We know you love supporting other independent businesses and helping them to thrive, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to help support indie businesses? What can we do?
It’s so important for us all to support one another. I readily admit that I cannot accommodate all the requests I get for special dietary requirements in my tiny kitchen, so I am sure to recommend another small business that can help. My customers appreciate it and so does the maker I send them to.
Just looking out for others and offering support in sharing a post, making a recommendation, collaborating, participating in a giveaway, and engaging with the posts of other indie businesses – it all helps!
Anything else you’d like to share?
I guess the only thing left to say is don’t give up. I started my business as a little side line to my job as a teaching assistant when I had 1 or 2 orders a month. Three years later, I am baking and posting 60—70 boxes per week! It takes time to build relationships and make connections that will help your business grow. But, if I can do it, you can do it!
Mothers Love Cookies are currently offering 15% off all cookies – just use discount code SMALLBIZLOVE