Elevator Pitch: How This 27-Year-Old Started Her Own Online Cookie Shop
by: The Beat Asia
February 01, 2024
Who can resist a soft and gooey cookie? Cookies serve as an instant treat whenever a sweet craving hits. While chocolate chips remain a crowd-favorite, oatmeal cookies are gaining a growing fanbase, appreciated for their chewy and textured goodness.
In an interview with The Beat Asia, Maan Jocson, the baker behind Mookies Oatmeal Cookies, shared that she came up with the idea of baking oatmeal cookies during the pandemic when she had extra rolled oats that were about to expire.
“I was working from home as a pharmacovigilance officer during the lockdown. Food trends on TikTok were booming and we got addicted to overnight oats. We got a bit carried away, stocking up on way more rolled oats than we could ever finish. When the trend died down, we had a bunch of rolled oats due to expire. I had the idea to bake oatmeal cookies and when my husband’s family tried it, their first reaction was, ‘ibenta mo ‘to,’” she recalled.
Maan, then 23, started Mookies MNL and sold mainly to friends and family. She reopened the business in August 2022, which she considers as the official launch of her cookie business. A few months after, she decided to quit her corporate job to run Mookies full-time.
“To be honest, when I was juggling two jobs, I did not handle it well. It became too much and I hated that I had to reject people who wanted to order,” she said.
In deciding to quit her corporate job, Maan made sure the business is earning at least 40% more than what she’s getting from her day job. Fortunately, she was able to achieve this after only a few months of operation.
Now 27, Maan is happy to be baking oatmeal cookies every day, fulfilling orders, and engaging with her customers. On Instagram, Mookies almost has 14,000 followers with customers raving about the unique flavors they offer.
Learn more about Mookies Oatmeal Cookies, why they’re skipping raisins in their cookies, and how to start a business from our interview below.
Why cookies, and specifically, oatmeal cookies?
I think cookies are the superior dessert as it’s just the right size and shape that you can eat on the go. I always loved the idea of customers bringing our cookies with them to their commute, work, and travel. As to why we chose oatmeal cookies, we wanted to carve our own niche in the cookie space. We want to be the cookie that satisfies your cravings without feeling the guilt.
You always use #NoToRaisins – why is this your unique selling proposition?
People tend to associate oatmeal cookies with oatmeal raisins, but I always thought it could be so much more. It’s a really good canvas to be creative with flavors because rolled oats offer a nice balance of texture and flavor to any ingredient you add to it. When we use #NoToRaisins, it’s our own way of saying “out with the old, in with the new.”
You have flavors such as Coffee S’mores and Caramel Turon. How did you develop the flavors?
It’s inspired by the food combinations I grew up loving enhanced by our experienced traveling. For example, my inspiration for Coffee S’mores (combination of coffee, toasted marshmallow, dark chocolate) came to me from a glamping trip having s’mores over campfire. S’mores by itself is too sweet so having a bitter component like coffee balances it out.
Meanwhile, Caramel Turon (combination of banana, toffee, peanuts, banana chips, and white chocolate) takes inspiration from a family-favorite merienda. I had the idea of torching the caramel to recreate the iconic burnt sugar bits you get from turon.
What’s the best feedback you received from your customers?
Every once in a while, we’ll get feedback that’s four to five-paragraphs long detailing how much they loved our cookies and describing their experience with each flavor. We appreciate the fact that some customers will take several minutes out of their day to write a detailed review of our cookies. We also love it when they proclaim that they are converted from “hating oatmeal cookies” to loving them.
What have you learned from starting and running your own food business?
Being in the food business means we’re in the service industry. You don’t just buy cookies from me; you pay me to bake for you. I think having this customer-centered perspective helped us a lot in how we approach recipe development, marketing, and most especially, customer service.
I think nowadays, it’s very crucial for small businesses to establish an online presence. Be active on social media, invest in content, build a community that engages with you, and consider putting up an online order taking website.
Any tips for those who want to pursue a similar path?
Learn basic accounting and costing principles. Prices of ingredients fluctuate and you need to be on top of it, without sacrificing your product. Form good relationships with suppliers, research the brands of ingredients, and strive to always improve your recipe.
Any chance of introducing new flavors?
We promised the Mookie fam that we’ll release limited-edition flavors every two to three months. The next one is coming up early February and it’s on the fruity/tangy side which is a new concept for us. [Ed’s note: Mookies just teased their new flavor, and it seems it will feature strawberries!]
Enjoyed this article? Check out our previous Elevator Pitch profiles here.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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