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Conversations with Lisa Habiger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lisa Habiger.

Hi Lisa, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
In the Fall of 2016, my oldest daughter left for college (she’s #2 of 5) and I started feeling that empty nest ache. Even though I still had three more kids at home, it would not be long before that empty nest feeling was a reality. I began wondering what my purpose would be without kids to take care of everyday.

Fast forward to Christmas 2016; a friend posted a picture of cookies she decorated with her family. Seeing those pictures awakened my creative side after years of not taking the time to have a craft of my own. Six months later, Cookie Devotion was born and has given me the creative outlet I craved, the ability to provide little bits of joy to others, and a constant learning experience.

Starting a business as a 50-something woman wasn’t always easy, but at the end of the day, it’s all mine and it’s the culmination of my life’s experiences and desires. I’ve had to learn to navigate social media as a means of advertising – my kids have been a huge help here. Figuring out marketing strategies has allowed me to lean on my husband and added a new layer to our relationship. For the fun, creative side of the business, I had plenty of taste testers while I perfected my recipe and lots of opinions as I designed new cookie sets. My husband and kids are my biggest cheerleaders and give me the courage to put myself out there.

As a lifelong avid cook and baker, feeding others has always brought me such joy. Having the opportunity to share in a small part of my customer’s celebrations through my cookies has allowed me to continue what I love most. Whether it’s cookies for a birthday, wedding, baby shower, or other event, I love seeing my customer’s faces when they pick up their order. My tagline “Baked with Love and Prayer” isn’t just a cute saying; it’s how I live my life. Every cookie is baked and decorated as I pray for the people who will receive each cookie. I may never get to meet these people or know their story, but I feel a connection to them nonetheless. I have also been blessed to have gained the majority of my customers because they had one of my cookies at a party or event, making my customers one big extended family.

Because of the support and enthusiasm, I receive from my family, friends, and customers for my creations, I’ve created a business that makes me excited for everyday I get to go to work!

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 has definitely not been a smooth road. If I could just decorate cookies all day, life would be a breeze! The reality is that business involves so much more and there was a big learning curve for me. I didn’t grow up in the social media age so creating content for my business page doesn’t come naturally. It’s also time-consuming and I constantly have to balance production time with administrative time. There’s also the struggle of having a balanced budget. A custom decorated cookie business means purchasing cookie cutters, sprinkles, and packaging and, let me tell you; there’s a lot of adorable products out there. My obsession is real!

My family would probably say that my inability to say “no” to orders is my biggest struggle. I love creating for my customers so I want to take all the orders to the point that I have experienced burnout a couple of times. I now schedule time off for myself and have a more realistic goal for the number of orders I accept.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The majority of my creations are custom-decorated cookies. I spent the better part of two years perfecting my recipe because having great-tasting cookies was even more important than my decorating skill. Once I was happy with my recipe, I honed in on decorating techniques. I’m constantly learning and improving in this area. There’s always something new to try so I don’t believe there’s a point that I can say I’ve learned everything there is to know.

Several years ago, I was dubbed the Graduation Queen by a fellow cookier because of the number of graduation sets I had done that year. I still get a lot of requests for graduation cookies and even have customers placing their orders a year in advance!

In addition to custom orders for my customers, I offer seasonal and holiday cookies in smaller gift boxed sets. Giving cookies for Father’s Day, Back to School, and other special days has become very popular. For the future, I’m developing some new products (cupcakes, cake pops, dipped pretzel rods, and specialty chocolate confections) that I will be offering starting next year. I also look forward to creating confection gift boxes that will include a variety of treats featuring some of my family recipes.

Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Taking time out for myself is crucial to the survival of my business. Being a creative requires periods of rest. It’s during those breaks that I come up with new ideas, refresh my mind, and gain motivation for upcoming orders.

I’ve also developed relationships with others in the cookie community. Having a network of people that know the joys and struggles you are experiencing is so beneficial. The cookie community in St. Louis is especially supportive and we regularly lean on each other. We even get together several times a year for a cookier night out. We don’t view each other as competition; though we all create decorated cookies, we each have our own style and there’s plenty of business to go around. I think the cookie community is truly unique with the level of support we offer each other and in a business that can be a very solitary venture, those relationships are a top priority.

Pricing:

  • Custom decorated cookies start at $40/dozen
  • Cookie cakes start at $36 each
  • Cupcakes start at $24/dozen
  • Dipped pretzel rods start at $12/dozen

Contact Info:

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