Who doesn’t LOVE cookie dough? When her kids were young, Julie would let them eat some of the dough from her cookies but always worried about the raw eggs in the dough. So she and her sister decided it was a “culinary challenge” of sorts to create a cookie dough that was safe. With some time and creativity the two moms were able to develop a recipe that was safe and loved by their batch of children. “The neighborhood kids devoured the 2 layer birthday cakes we made with chocolate chip dough and milk chocolate peanut butter topping and begged us to make one of our creations for their birthdays.”
Fast forward twenty years and Julie’s daughter Corey has just graduated with a master’s in education. “Corey said to me that she wanted to try a cooking venture before she started her teaching career.” So this mother and daughter began to think about what they could do in the food realm and were thinking of catering. They reached out to the local Score chapter, an organization that helps start-ups develop a plan. Julie says, “They told us our business would have to be unique and focused in order to succeed. We decided catering wasn’t it.”
They thought about what would fit the bill and hit on their cookie dough creations that so many people loved. Corey and Julie set out to develop several flavors and worked with ways to package the dough. At a family dinner discussing their idea, they came up with the plan to package bite size discs of dough in a plastic sleeve. Each disc of dough is covered in something to separate them, like sprinkles for the sugar cookie dough or chocolate for the chocolate chip cookie dough. Now they needed a name. Julie’s youngest son came up with “Unbakeables.”
Before selling at a Farmer’s Market, the two worked to make larger batches. They tested and perfected their recipe, got a license, found a commercial kitchen, designed their own labels and self funded everything. “This is truly a family start up.” After a few months Julie and Corey were ready to approach a local grocery store. Peters Market has been in Weston for years and the owner knew the Tolkins. “The owner saw an article in the local paper on the treat. When I reached out to him with a test batch, he said, ‘I know you and I’m sure your Unbakables are great.’ He told us to bring in a few varieties to go on shelves immediately.”
That was in February of 2012. The coveted treat is now in multiple local stores and even Whole Foods. “We would just walk into specialty markets with samples and our fact sheet and ask is they would be willing to carry our product. For Whole Foods, we filled out an application and got accepted.”
Julie says, “It’s a tough road but it gets easier as you go along.” She also says working with her daughter is a treat itself, “We’ve had so much fun learning to start and run a business together. I’m so proud of my daughter, she has really kept our business moving forward.” Corey adds, “Nothing compares to the look people have on their face after they have had a bite of one of our creations.” When asked where they want to go next, the two say, “Who knows, we’re just taking one step at a time and we’ll see where we end up.”
One step at a time.