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We were delighted to host Shane for his work experience at our cookie shop last summer. Shane brought with him lots of interesting ideas, excellent coffee making skills and fantastic customer service skills. We were sorry to see him go but wish him the best of luck with the remainder of his degree and future endeavours.
Here’s what Shane had to say:
My name is Shane O’ Dea and I am in my final year of college in DIT. As part of my Food Innovation degree, I had to do 12 weeks of work experience as part of 3rd year. The position at The Dublin Cookie Company was well sought out amongst the class and I felt very lucky when I was picked for the position.
There was no waiting around, I was making and baking cookies from the get go. I even got to make my own cookie! The job was a great hands on experience with some great insight into starting up a business from the ground up. Jenny and Elaine are passionate about the company and were a constant source of help and inspiration during my time.
My time there has pushed me further to eventually set up my business. From the cookies to the customers, the company is constantly shifting and growing towards bigger and better things. I thoroughly enjoyed helping the girls out. If it wasn’t coming up with new flavour ideas it was helping with big events. There was always something going on.
I’ll miss the smell of freshly baked cookies! Thanks for everything ladies.
It feels like weeks and decades all at once, but believe it or not we are celebrating one year of business in our shop in The Liberties. After two years of traipsing around the country with our pop-up gazebo and mountains of freshly baked cookies. The relief (and anxiety) last March of opening the doors to our very own shop was immense. We’ve loved being on Thomas St and The Liberties feels like home. Yes, by the standards of this area we are still very much newcomers but we couldn’t be happier with the welcome and warmth we’ve experienced on our little corner of Dublin’s oldest neighbourhood. We’ve seen so much since we landed here. New businesses like Images & Ink and Wild Soul opening on the street, others like Fay’s Butchers and Camino Café shutting their doors for good. We’ve seen improvements on the street like new footpaths and lampposts thanks to the tireless work of Stephen Coyne and the neighbourhood advocates. We’ve seen the community come together after adversity and celebrate every small win. We’ve watched the local boys and girls shoot up over the year and met loads of new additions to the community. The best part of our year on Thomas St has been getting to know the neighbours. Those working in the Digital Hub, Digital Skills Academy, NDRC, Guinness Enterprise Centre, Diageo and all of the businesses up and down the street as well as those living in the homes around the area. Our customers have been the source of smiles and gratification every day at The Dublin Cookie Company.
We’re celebrating our one year anniversary all week at the shop and online. Stop in for special treats and check our website various social media outlets for competitions and surprises.
After a fantastic 2016 at Cookie HQ Jenny and I finally got to celebrate our October nuptials with a Christmas break. After buttoning up the shop and a quick dash to Cork to the family farm we flew to Italy for nearly three weeks of exploring, eating and relaxing. Pure bliss! We explored Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Umbria and Tuscany. Italy really is several countries in one. The scenery was breathtaking and the people are as nice there are they are here at home. One fun surprise – the whole coast was lit up with fireworks on New Year’s Eve. It was festive on a whole new level.
Italy is such a beautiful country with great traditions in food, coffee and wine. It was the perfect place for us to go. Jenny got to realise her Italian foodie fantasies while I soaked up the history and culture of the place. Of course we had to do loads of ‘research’ and ate every type of baked good we came across. Washed down with amazing Italian coffee and Tuscan wine, of course. Enjoy a few of our favourite foodie snaps here.
As 2016 draws to a close, we would like to take this time to wish you and yours the very best of the holiday season and to let you know about all of the seasonal activities, gifts, and most importantly COOKIES you can find at The Dublin Cookie Company this Christmas.
Yummy Christmas Cookies and Gifts
We have lots of seasonal cookie flavours on the counter this year including:
- Mince Pie Cookie Sandwiches
- Chewy Gingersnaps
- Classic Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Christmas Cake Cookies with Irish Whiskey
Drop in, call us on 01-4736566 or email us to order yours today for collection on December 22nd or 23rd.
Festive Fun @ Cookie HQ
This Christmas we’ve loads going on at our shop on Thomas Street. Starting with a our Cookie Christmas Cupping Thursday 8th December where we are taking 10 lucky coffee and cookie lovers on a coffee-cupping and cookie-pairing taste-trip!
Trish from our coffee partners, Coffee Culture, will talk and taste us through the five beans used in our Lamotta coffee blend and our very own Jenny will pair each with one of our tasty cookies.
Finally, Saturday December 10th and 17th are Decorate Your Own Cookie Days!
Note: We will be closed for a Dublin Cookie Company family holiday between December 23rd and January 15th. Business as usual from Monday, January 16th 2017.
We are always happy to attend events and give any insights that may help other businesses. Two events that really stuck out for me in the last year were The Dublin Food Chain: Business of Food: Turning Ideas into Invoices and Dublin City Council: How to grow your business in a digital world
This event was hosted at DIT and included topics such as:
- Latest Trends in the Food Industry
- Innovation in Agri-Food Technology
- Third Level R&D Collaboration
- New Business & Entrepreneurship
- Developing New Ideas
I was delighted to be asked to join the panel of experts which included:
- Dr. Juan Val Verde – Monaghan Mushrooms
- Peter Mooney – Dawn Meats
- Dr. Declan Troy – Teagasc
- Dr. James Curtin – School of Food Science and Environmental Health, DIT
- Dr. Frank Cullen – School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, DIT
- Lil Courtney – Centra Store Owner
- Rowan Manahan – Fortify Services
- David Carey – Innovante Foods
- Gerard Cleary – Director of Glenisk
This event was hosted by Startup Ballymun and Dublin City Council. I was thrilled to be asked to speak at the event along with some other amazing entrepreneurs including Ross Killeen of Event Junkies, Lorcan Bannon of Olytico, Salvatore Fanara of Travelling Languages, Auveen Bell of Blossom Ireland and Simon Cocking of Irish Tech News. My talk was on how our business uses technology. The event was picked up by a number of sites including: Meetup, North Dublin Chamber, Irish Tech News. See my presentation here.
It was a great evening with lots of great questions and topics for discussion. We love attending and presenting at such events as they are great for networking, sharing ideas and picking up useful nuggets. Thanks a million to Billy Linehan and his team for the invitation.
The lovely Muireann joined our team for her transition year work experience earlier this year. She joined us every Thursday for 15 weeks and was a great addition to the team getting stuck into baking, mixing and serving customers. Here’s what she had to say about her time with us. Thank you Muireann!
My name is Muireann Murphy and I’m a Transition Year student in Scoil Chaitríona in Glasnevin. I recently completed a Transition Year Placement with The Dublin Cookie Company. I went in to Jenny and Elaine every Thursday from January to May and took so much from the experience!
I’ve always had an interest in baking and also thought it would be interesting to have an insight into what it’s like running a business, which was why I chose The Dublin Cookie Company for my placement. I saw the company go through big changes as when I began my placement Jenny and Elaine were based in Spade Enterprise Centre in Smithfield but by the time my placement was over they had moved into their own shop! In Spade Enterprise Centre I was mainly involved in cookie production which I really enjoyed. I also did a few sampling sessions gathering feedback in supermarkets which was interesting as it was nice to interact with potential customers. At the end of February, we moved to 29 Thomas Street and opened up on March 5th! The whole thing was very exciting and every week I went back there was something new or different. In the shop, I was involved again with cookie production but also interacting with customers. I got to go to Alltech Craft Brews Trade Fair and the Teeling Whiskey Trade Fair which I found very enjoyable as there was such a great atmosphere!
Overall, I feel that I learned so much from my placement. I learned about not only baking and cookies, but also about marketing, customers and running a business. The placement was so beneficial for me and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with The Dublin Cookie Company!
What a Spring it was – it literally flew by! We opened the doors to our shop on March 5th and haven’t looked back since! So much has happened!:
We finally got around to finishing the front of our shop with a lovely bright orange fascia and coffee-white trim. You’ll also notice our window which has a massive ‘We sell cookies’ sign on it. Just in case you were wondering what it is we do :-).
Food and Wine Magazine:
We were given a six page spread in the summer edition of Ireland’s Food and Wine Magazine. Here they featured a number of our products including our Lemon Burst Cookie, Flourless Double Chocolate Cookie, Hazelnut and Raspberry Shortbread Cookie, Strawberry Milk and Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie and Strawberry Shortcake Cookie.
We’ve traded at a couple of the big Dublin food events including Taste of Dublin and Bloom in the Park. We created a range of summer cocktail cookies specifically for Taste of Dublin including Whiskey Sour, Pina Colada, Spiced Ginger and Rum and Strawberry Margarita Cookies.
Cookies & Nookie:
We hosted our first event in our shop in conjunction with Yelp and The Dublin Food Porn Festival for Pride week. The lucky 30 guests who were picked to attend drank cookie cocktails while decorating Pride themed cookies. Check it out here.
We’ve expanded our menu:
Our drinks menu now includes ‘Cookie Milk’. And yes, it is exactly what it sounds like – cookies blended into milk!
Cool Treats – We’ve added a range of new treats for those hot days. We’ve recently launched our iced coffee range (named in the Top Seven Iced Coffees in Dublin and our re-introduced our ice-cream cookie sandwiches (yes, that’s right – you choose two cookies, you choose the ice-cream and bam – sweet sweet joy in your tummy). Watch this space as we continue to expand this range.
We’ve also added two flour-less cookies to the counter – coconut macaroon and double chocolate. These are proving to be quite popular – not just with the gluten intolerant cookie lovers.
And finally, we’ve made a start to our savoury cookie range with an aged cheddar and thyme cookie.
We’ve worked with, and continue to work with, some great people:
Ger joined us in January for her twelve week placement from the bakery programme she was finishing at DIT. She is a talented baker with a very bright future (watch out for Ger’s Cakes) and we learned so much from each other. Muireann was with us for her transition year work experience – a very smart girl who quickly became a great asset to us. And now Shane has just joined us from his food entrepreneurship programme at DIT.
We started working with Deliveroo for delivery of cookies and milk around the city. Yes, this means cookies to your door within 30 mins daily. Pretty cool. Check out our profile page for more.
We learned all about Snap Chat when we did our first live Snap Chat Campaign with Nicola from The Daily Edge.
Cookie Wedding Programme:
We get asked so often to cater for weddings with wedding favours, cookie tables and other delights that we decided to put together a cookie wedding programme. Watch out for the new wedding page on our website coming soon.
What else is coming down the track you ask! Lots of exciting things including:
Yes, that’s right. While the Leaving Cert students are celebrating their freedom this summer we will be carefully planning and our next big step – a cookie shop pop-up. Watch this space!
New Look Cookie Dough:
We are working on a new look for our cookie dough range and planning on getting it to a shop near you as fast as we can. Fresh cookies anytime, anywhere – now that is a dream come true.
After a great 12 weeks of work experience, the very talented Ger Colgan finished up with us in April. Ger is now off to set up her own cake business and we wish her massive success. We hope there will be time for a few Dublin Cookie Company cameos along the way :).
Here’s what Ger had to say about her time here: My name is Ger Colgan and as the final phase of my three year degree course in DIT, studying Bakery and Pastry Arts Management, I was required to do a twelve week work placement. Jenny and Elaine from The Dublin Cookie Co. agreed to take me on and the twelve weeks came and went in what seems like a flash yet somehow it feels like I have been there for years. During my time there I not only learned the cookie recipes and baking techniques but came away with a better understanding of how a small food business works. Jenny and Elaine very generously shared the knowledge they have gained from their own experience in setting up. I was very lucky to have been with them as they transitioned from production unit to retail unit and it was a very exciting time.
I really enjoyed that there was always something to do. An order to fill, a festival to get ready for or even a meeting about Haccp. My favourite days were NPD or New Product Development days! We got to play around with flavours and design and came up with a few great products.
Jenny and Elaine work very hard every day and yet still found the time to be supportive mentors while I was on placement. They made sure I always had opportunities to learn new things that will help me in my career. I enjoyed every minute of my time there and am very grateful to them for the experience.
We just celebrated our 2nd birthday in the most exciting way. We opened our very first cookie shop (see our last post)! We’ve learned so much since we started this cookie adventure and we wanted to share a few nuggets with anyone out there who is thinking about starting up or is just curious about our journey so far. We’ve learned by getting out there (tastings, markets, events, supplying to shops, cafes and restaurants), talking to other food producers and entrepreneurs and from myriad food events, training and conferences. Here are a few of our main lessons:
Starting a business is hard
Trust us. Everyone tells you it’s hard and you think you’re prepared for that but you’re not. It’s harder that you imagine. You will wake up every morning and fall asleep every night thinking about your business. You will obsess over every little decision and try to find the ‘right’ answer only to realise over and over that there is no right answer. You will be that boring person in your circle of friends who talks of nothing but work. People will tell you how lucky you are to be your own boss, and you are! You are living the dream. The dream that most people are too scared to live. But it won’t always feel dream-like. When you are washing dishes at 11pm after a 15 hour day in which you haven’t had time to eat– it won’t feel so glamorous. It’s also an emotional rollercoaster. The amazing feedback that you get from your customers will give you such a high. Such satisfaction! And when someone complains or isn’t fully happy with what you’ve delivered them it will be a stake through the heart. You will cry, you will sweat, you will feel truly exhausted. But, you will also feel pride, elation and job satisfaction like never before.
There are no overnight success stories in food
Every successful brand out there in food has taken years of hard work, dedication and adaptability. And even then, success is not guaranteed. So many food businesses fail due to external factors – wrong place, wrong time, a saturated market, recessions, a drought 20 continents away, the works. When you see amazing establishments with Michelin Stars closing, you start to understand how hard it is to be successful in food. All you can do is stay as informed as you can about food trends, changing customer expectations and hope you get the mix right.
Your product will not speak for itself
It should. But it won’t. People are a lot more complicated than you think and having ‘the best tasting’ sandwich, cake, cookie, drink, coffee, sweet, chocolate, cheese …… is not enough. People are not as practical and logical as we think when it comes to purchasing. They buy with emotion. We all want to perceive value in what we are buying – and value is not about money. It’s about what we perceive as value for money. As small businesses we have an edge over large corporations in that we can meet and talk to our customers every day. We can take feedback on board immediately and make adjustments easily.
People will take advantage of you
But that’s OK as long as you have your eyes wide open. You will be asked to give free samples, you will be ‘given opportunities’ to distribute your product for free at events for the networking opportunities. Other businesses will try and sell you software, equipment, support that you ‘must have’. Just be aware. Remember that you, your time and your products are valuable. If you are sampling or giving your product out freely make sure you know why and know what you are getting in return.
Help is at hand
There are fantastic supports available to food businesses. Between the Local Enterprise Offices with their Online Trading Vouchers, Priming Grants, Feasibility Grants and Export Grants; Enterprise Ireland with their Innovation Vouchers; Bord Bia with their Marketing Assistance Programme and Step Change Fund and great programmes like FoodWorks, Food Academy and many more. There are also great organisations like The Dublin Food Chain who host events throughout the year, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and Bord Bia who host fantastic events that support businesses with information and networking opportunities. But, the best help, advice and support available out there is from other food producers. From simple things like information on markets and events, advice on insurance and other services, sharing of information on HACCP right up to sharing of equipment and helping each other out at events. This has been invaluable to us and we have been surprised at just how supportive a community food business is. We have now adopted a ‘pay it forward’ policy and try to help other small businesses out if we can. A rising tide lifts all boats as they say and the more each food producer can do to help grow the craft food industry, the more we all benefit. Our friends and family, as always, have been a steady and invaluable source of help and support, too. From pitching in at markets to listening to every madcap cookie idea to selflessly testing our new products, they are there. You know who you are and you are the best!
Starting a business is exciting
Last but not least – starting a business is exciting. People will respect you in a new way because you are now that brave person that they wish they could be. Planning your own path and seeing it happen before your eyes will make you feel more proud of yourself than you thought possible. Realising that you can make a difference in the world, that you can build something from nothing, that you can make your own path will change your life. No matter what happens, you will not regret trying and being that brave soul.