Hi, Cookie Dough Lovers! My name is Olivia, and I am the founder and owner of Unbaked, an online dessert shop specializing in customizable safe-to-eat Cookie Dough. My path to making Cookie Dough all day long wasn't a straight one. From the time I was eleven-years-old, I dreamed of becoming a sports journalist. And when I was sitting in my cubical at The NFL Network editing game highlights, my dreams had come true only seven years later.
I was eighteen-years-old working at the company of my dreams, and a company most football-loving fans would have loved to work at. But I wasn’t cutting highlights with a smile on my face. What I thought would be an exciting job turned out to be anything but.
There were many reasons why I hated the job I had wanted so badly only a few months prior, but to put it simply, I was terribly bored. As someone who has struggled with severe anxiety my entire life, being bored made me miserable, and being miserable made me anxious. It was a suffocating cycle that I knew I couldn’t take much more of.
That same day, my boss called me into his office and proceeded to scold me, claiming my work production had fallen. Even though my anxiety was at one of it’s worst points in my life, I would never allow myself to slack off. Yes, I was no longer enthusiastic about coming into work, but I would have gone to battle to prove the quality of my work had not changed. I had always been a hard worker, and if I weren’t, I wouldn’t have gotten the job I had at the age I had.
I attempted and failed to hold back tears as I tried to tell my boss I was simply dealing with life-long anxiety and depression. I apologized for keeping to myself and promised I had never allowed my work to falter. When he proceeded to tell me “everyone gets sad sometimes” so “suck it up,” I proceeded to quit. I had just quit my dream job, but I wasn’t upset about it. I felt a tremendous relief when I walked out of the cause of my anxiety for the last time. God was telling me it was time for a new dream.
Having moved from San Diego to Los Angeles for the job, I knew I needed to figure out another way to make money (I would have normally moved home, but I had met a boy. How cliché of me!). I had decided I wanted to be my own boss in hopes it would help with my anxiety.
I had always loved baking and figured that was the way I would go. I attempted for a month to sell baked goods online before I realized my product didn’t stand out in the sea of home bakers in LA, and thus wasn’t successful.
I was anxiously watching my bank account drain quicker than I needed it to when my good friend came up to visit me. We went to lunch by the beach and then wandered into an ice cream shop where they mixed in the toppings. As I ate my Cake Batter flavored ice cream with Rainbow Sprinkles mixed in, an idea popped into my head. What if instead of ice cream, there was a shop where you could customize cookie dough. Eating cookie dough while baking had always been one of my favorite things. And if I did it, there had to be other people who loved doing it, too.
For the next month, I researched how to make cookie dough safe to eat, what my competition was, and tested recipes. I created a name and logo, designed a website, and signed up for social media accounts. It was April 2015 when Unbaked: A Cookie Dough Bar launched as an online shop selling customizable edible cookie dough. For months I barely had enough money to pay rent. I only had a couple of orders a week, but I was happy, and most important, not anxious.
It took a while, but Unbaked went from 100 followers on Instagram and five orders a week to 40,000 followers and hundreds of orders a week. My one-woman run company (with the help of my parents, sister, and boyfriend) was suddenly a hot trend, being featured on Food Network’s social media pages, in the New York Times, at the Museum of Ice Cream, in LA Weekly, and more. We even have our very own cookbook now, The Edible Cookie Dough Cookbook!
Unbaked has grown so much in the few years it’s been in business that I had to hire real employees (instead of just forcing my family to help me). I now have two part-time employees helping me in the kitchen, Erin and Jonah. Erin’s specialty is working the giant 20-quart mixer (who we have named Big Bertha). Jonah, who lives life on the autism spectrum, labels the jars of dough, tapes boxes together, and writes the notes customers want included in their order. They help the ship run smoothly, and without them, the business wouldn't be possible.
I hope you enjoy our Dough, and I thank you so dearly for Shopping Small. Without amazing customers like you, I wouldn't have this awesome business that I do today!