My DECA Story: Jordan’s Cookies
Jordan Johnson | Founder, CEO and Chief Cookie Creator | Jordan's Cookies
Jordan Johnson took home DECA Glass at ICDC 2018 in Atlanta. The story of her award-winning brand, Jordan’s Cookies, began long before she put on a DECA blazer. Jordan shared her DECA Story with DECA Direct Magazine. Read on to find out how she went from neighborhood yard sales to Chief Cookie Creator.
My name is Jordan Johnson and I am the Founder, CEO, and Chief Cookie Creator of Jordan’s Cookies, an online business that freshly bakes and ships cookies across the country to individuals as well as corporate customers. The Jordan’s Cookies story first began when I was 8 years old.
I come from an entrepreneurial family as my parents are both independent business owners. From a young age, they taught me the value of creating a business out of something you love. As many 8-year-olds do, I had a deep love for sweets, specifically cookies! Inspired by both my parents (and some other incredible mentors), I was always looking for ways to get involved and create something original and unique. Within the confines of my innovative mindset, I was certainly a young entrepreneur in the making.
So, when my parents mentioned they were participating in a neighborhood garage sale, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share my love of cookies with the rest of our community. With the help of my mom, I baked 200 cookies the night before the yard sale. My dad helped me build a stand in front of our driveway. The next morning, I was up bright and early, ready for the excitement of the day to begin. So many people came by my stand and absolutely loved that such a young girl was being such a go-getter. I was overjoyed with the amount of love and support I received from our community. From that day on, I knew I wanted to bake my own cookies every single day and share them with our neighborhood, city, state, country, even the world. All I wanted was to put a smile on someone’s face, to make someone’s day a little brighter.
Now – I was only 8 at the time, so I couldn’t quite go global yet. I did have to go to school the following Monday. I knew my goals, though. I sat down with my parents and we created a plan to grow the idea of Jordan’s Cookies and expand it into a concept, and eventually, a fully-functioning business.
In 2008, when I was 8 years old, Jordan’s Cookies was born. I partnered with a family friend who had experience in catering to help us get the business off the ground. We worked on flavors, packaging, and delivery with her original recipe. Our partner retired from the food industry soon after, so we needed re-establish the brand independently. With the help of my mom and countless days of trial-and-error, we established what is now known as our Original and Signature Jordan’s Cookies Cookie Dough.
Over the next few years, we had marginal success by selling small orders of cookies in my neighborhood and to family friends, while still managing school and extracurricular activities. Around this time, my grandmother – who has since past away – was battling various forms of cancer. As a family, we have always been tied to service, giving back, and helping others. We donated 10% of the proceeds of every Jordan’s Cookies order to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Cancer Research, further cultivating our slogan, “Where Sweetness Makes a Difference”.
I also created a nonprofit organization called “Change for Cures” where students in local schools would compete between classrooms to see who could raise the most money [for Susan G. Komen] in a given period of time. The classroom that raised the most money received a Cookies and Milk Party sponsored by Jordan’s Cookies.
In 2013, we established our first fully functioning e-commerce website that drastically improved and expanded our brand to a national level. As we continued to grow and expand, we moved out of the driveway and into a rental commercial kitchen facility—a great blessing from a friend and fellow baking mentor. We now have a team of volunteers who help us bake and package every order.
As business grew exponentially, there were many nights of baking until 3 am and waking up for school at 5 am, but I managed to make it work. We’ve served thousands of people, won several local and international awards, have spoken to a variety of audiences, and have been able to work with countless companies, including Williams-Sonoma, FedEx and ReMax. I currently serve as the Teen Entrepreneur of the Year for the Gwinnett County Public School System in Georgia, the most diverse county in the Southeast with over 900,000 residents. I was named Teen Entrepreneur of the Year by Partnership Gwinnett.
MY DECA JOURNEY
I graduated from North Gwinnett High School this past May and was a DECA member and marketing student all four years. As President of my DECA Chapter, I was able to grow into the business leader I am today by combining business knowledge with DECA core values. DECA allowed me to learn both in the classroom and beyond, putting my entrepreneurial plans into practice. In my final days as a High School DECA Member this May, I competed in both CDC as well as ICDC. I won First Place in DECA’s Business Growth Plan Category at both state and international levels.
There are a few key elements that lead to a specifically targeted brand. First, you want to figure out your one single concept. For me, that was clearly cookies. Next, it is important to figure out your angle. What is unique about your company that is different from all other similar companies out there? This takes a little bit of critical thinking, however, you want to always keep it simple and easy for the everyday consumer. Finally, you want to think about how you can get your brand in the market and create a positive reaction. Once you have these three key components, you are ready to begin your introductory and growth phase.
Our ambition has always been to use the highest quality, organic, natural and top-shelf ingredients to transform the basic idea of a cookie into a delicacy that delivers an authentic homemade taste, all while appealing to the mainstream social savvy cookie consumer. Jordan’s Cookies offers consumers an experience through our products and branding.
Our commitment to quality is firm and distinguishes us in the marketplace helping us to win several awards, honorable press and establish great corporate relationships. Jordan’s Cookies’ Philosophy is simple: With special consideration to the customer experience, we want to be known for creating the “Best Cookies on the Planet”. We believe that the quality of our products and the deep loyalty of our customers is the result of thoughtful planning, innovation, skillful execution and the creation of heavenly, mouth-watering freshly baked cookies.
Our company has four product lines and sells over 20 standard flavors of cookies—along with limited-time, seasonal flavors—to individuals and corporate clients from coast to coast. Each category is unique to the flavors it is comprised of: The Classics, The Colossals, The Millennials, and The Guilt-Free Delights.
THE NEXT STEPS
We are very thankful for the opportunity to share the commercial kitchen facility in which we currently operate. However, as we continue to grow and expand, we know that for maximum efficiency, it is necessary for us to ultimately have our own facility. Currently, Jordan’s Cookies is solely an online business. In order to fulfill orders, we are only able to bake, package and ship once a week in the shared space. This requires us to bulk all orders, regardless of when they are placed online, into one mass ship day.
As a brand, it is our main priority to care for our customers as we would want to be cared for by the brands we love and support. With our own warehouse facility, we would have the freedom to process orders every day of the week, providing an overall better experience for our customers.
WANT TO HELP?
We are currently in the process of a Capital Raise for our first Cookie Studio and Facility, which will serve as a retail storefront as well as a commercial kitchen to fulfill our online orders. In addition to the Cookie Studio, I have created The Jordan Johnson Foundation, which aims to uplift and provide support for the youth in their beginning entrepreneurial journeys.
We have a very lofty goal in mind, but we believe it can be achievable with the support of others. Financial support is greatly needed, however, if you are not in the position to make a contribution at this time, there are other ways you can help! We want to spread the word to as many people as we can.
Our Indiegogo Campaign page tells our story as well as our plans for future growth. I would love for you to take a look and I would be even more grateful if you shared the page with other people in your school, your community and beyond! I know the DECA community is so strong and I am so grateful for the support of this amazing organization. Without DECA, I know that Jordan’s Cookies would not be where it is today. At Jordan’s Cookies, we have one vision, one dream: To be the Best Cookies on the Planet!
Indiegogo Campaign Link: http://bit.ly/teenjordanscookies