We had the good fortune of connecting with Betsy Cohen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Betsy, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Nine years ago, had someone asked me if I would start a business, my answer would have been a resounding, NO. I had just started a dessert blog that I loved but did not think of it as a business, rather a hobby. Then life pivoted. I got divorced and started working outside the house for the first time in 21 years. I worked part time in the office of a very talented pastry chef and ate a frozen chocolate chip cookie dough ball for lunch every day for the three years I was there. When I took the job, which I was most thankful to have, I did not know what my longterm looked like. I just knew that it would not be there. When my nieces introduced me to edible cookie dough, something clicked. Through the years, I had started a couple of cottage baking businesses but did not like being beholden to the oven even though I loved the end results. Edible cookie dough required kitchen time (which I loved) without the oven time (which I did not). I got to work fine tuning my edible chocolate chip cookie dough and, utilizing my large blogging community/family, took batches of it with me to a food and wine conference where I gave forkfuls to the attendees as they passed by. What drove me flying forward was leaving the conference with 150 food bloggers telling me how amazing my dough tasted. That was the final nudge I needed to know what my business was going to be.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Happylicious produces edible cookie dough. All of our products use only natural, non-gmo ingredients. We sell in 4 bite containers at Whole Foods Market (Palm Beach County), Milam’s Markets (Miami-Dade County) and other local shops. We ship nationally, as well. We are super excited with our latest launch of Bucket of Bites that includes 75 bites of happyness of our chocolate chip or party cookie dough. As our products last 4 months refrigerated/1 year frozen, this option is a terrific way to save while still getting the happyness we all need. Best of all, our Bucket of Bites offers the lowest shipping cost choices and customers may add up to four additional 4-piece packages to the order at no additional shipping cost. Something that was very important to us when we started was to be able to offer our customers a treat that was not loaded with calories. If you intend to eat just one bite but end up eating all four (we understand completely!) the highest calorie count for any of our flavors for the entire package is only 260. Woohoo! Being willing to pivot is a huge part of overcoming challenges. COVID-19 hit us hard. A huge part of our traffic in grocery stores was through demos, something we do not see coming back very quickly. We are working with our grocery stores to offer in-store promotions which is a concept to us. We also did a quick pivot of focusing on our online presence and teaming up with other companies that are able to utilize Happylicious in what they do. The biggest takeaway that I have is to remind myself that when I slam headfirst into a wall, it isn’t the end. It means I have to go around, go over or go back and see what fork in the road I missed. Then charge forward once more delivering happyness in just one bite….at a time!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Such an easy request! When I had my blog, I did Dessert Quests, exploring the desserts of different cities. Therefore, when my friend comes to town, we will spend a lot of time going dessert spot to dessert spot tasting the incredible flavors that South Florida offers. My criteria for each restaurant chosen will be based on whether or not the desserts are made in-house, with the latter option deciding where we go. Days will also be spent walking the cities. After all, we have to work off all of those desserts! Museums, streets, the ins-and-outs that make each city unique will be our focus. Some stroll examples; Palm Beach – Worth Avenue Delray Beach – Swinton and Atlantic Avenue Ft. Lauderdale – by the river South Beach Lincoln Road – Peter Lik is a must Brickell City Center – it’s shaded! Wynwood – Wynwood Walls Design District Frost Museum Norton Art Museum To name a few food stops – Coolinary Cafe (Palm Beach Gardens), Batch Cookies (Ft. Lauderdale), Cindy Lou’s Cookies (Miami), FriceCream (Miami), Versaille (Miami), Pubbelly (Miami), Michael’s Genuine (Miami), Zak the Baker (Miami), Lazy Loggerhead (Jupiter), Palm Beach Grill (Palm Beach), HMF (Palm Beach) Who’s in?
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Huge shoutout of gratitude and appreciation to my Queen, Dr. Anna Etienne, who is the Director of StartUP FIU Food. I first heard about this program at a couple of network meetings in Miami. When I looked into it, I realized it was exactly what Happylicious needed and am beyond thankful to Anna for accepting me into this incredible program that includes opportunities, classes and mentors. There is no question that Happylicious would not be where it is today without her support and the rest of my FIU ‘family’.