Jennifer Savino started her bakery in 2008 in Mechanicville, New York and ships her cookies nationwide.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
Park 19 Cookies specializes in unique gourmet cookies like Pretzel Chocolate Chunk, Red Velvet, and Cinnamon Bun to name a few.
How did you come up with your business idea?
One night I was baking cookies and I decided to add pretzels to them because I love salty and sweet. Once we tried it, we knew we were on to something and the birth of creating unique cookies was born.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I was a full time pharmaceutical rep.
Did you write a business plan? Was it an effective tool for you?
We did write a business plan and it was helpful in getting a loan in the business's name.
Did you have a partner when you started your business? How did you select a partner?
My boyfriend of 8 years is my business partner. We both bring very different talents to the table and that works to our advantage. I am very outgoing and do all the promotion and marketing for the business as well as the baking. He manages the finances, built the website and maintains the technical portion of the busines. I think it is helpful that we have very different personality types because we each bring different stuff to the table.
Social marketing is consistently being written about in the small business space. Has it worked generating business for you?
Yes, I think using Facebook and Twitter is invaluable. We offer special discounts and freebees to people who sign up plus it's a great way to interact with your customers on a personal level.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Yes. We started too big too fast. It is best to start on a very small scale in a small facility with very low rent. Once you establish a following, you can grow accordingly.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Make sure you have plenty of funding. We started with way too much debt and even though we are profitable, we have to make very high payments every month towards the debt. Consolidating the debt is the best thing to do to reduce the monthly payments.
Thank you Jennifer for sharing you story!