Local ‘Cookie Momster’ expands her online business into local shops

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Timanee Olsen, left, at Mrs. Powells bakery in Ammon. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com

AMMON – It was less than two years ago when a batch of cookies changed Timanee Olsen’s life.

Back then, she and her husband had been living on food stamps and struggling to make ends meet for their family. Olsen made some “ugly Christmas sweater” cookies for a Christmas party in December 2017 and posted a picture on Facebook. Someone saw the post and wanted some for their Christmas party too.

Word continued to spread about her highly decorative cookies. When we first told you her story last June, Olsen had orders booked six weeks in advance. She didn’t have time for anything else, and those food stamps were a thing of the past.

And Olsen’s business has continued to grow.

RELATED: Local mom living off food stamps discovers hidden talent that changes her life

Olsen has become a social media influencer. Her followers came to know her as the Iona “Cookie Momster.” Though she was originally hoping to open her own storefront, Olsen says that’s no longer a priority.

“I’ve been (selling cookies at) Soda Tsunami every Tuesday and Mrs. Powells every Saturday. By the time I got done with the cookies for Soda Tsunami and took them over there, I had to come home and start on Mrs. Powells cookies,” Olsen tells EastIdahoNews.com. “It was constant. The cookie life never lets up.”

The growth hasn’t always been easy though, and it hasn’t been without help. Several months ago when Olsen’s business was still primarily online, life as an entrepreneur and a stay-at-home mom became impossible to manage on her own. So she decided to make a change.

“It just all caught up to me and I had a little bit of a nervous breakdown,” says Olsen. “I had to make a pretty hard decision and cut what I was doing in half.”

Constant pressures and demands on her time forced her to drop some accounts from her growing list of customers and cut back on cookie sales with local businesses.

But last December, Olsen was surprised to learn the owners of Mrs. Powells had been following the “Cookie Momster” on Facebook. They called to offer some assistance.

“We’re so amazed with everything that you’re doing,” Olsen recalls the manager saying. “There’s no reason you shouldn’t be (allowed to bake your cookies back here).”

Olsen now had access to the kitchen at Mrs. Powells with three huge industrial mixers and an oven with six rotating shelves, providing enough space to make 36 dozen cookies at a time.

“I bake maybe a dozen at a time (at home), depending on the size of the cookies,” says Olsen. “I couldn’t believe what I had just been offered.”

In addition to baking cookies at Mrs. Powells, Olsen is now able to purchase ingredients directly from them, and sell cookies in the store two Saturdays a month.

“The cookies sell out every time,” says Olsen.

The partnership has been mutually beneficial, says Amy Romriell, the owner of Mrs. Powells, who financially benefits from the sale of Olsen’s cookies.

While Olsen’s decision to drop some customers has meant a decrease in profits, Olsen says the larger space at Mrs. Powells has allowed her to churn out more cookies faster, and still have time devoted to being a mom.

“I would rather get a bunch of cookies in a bunch of people’s mouths than have a huge bank account. That’s just not what it’s about to me,” she says.

If you’d like to place an order, call (208) 569-5883. You can also visit her Facebook page to learn more.

WATCH MORE OF OLSEN’S STORY IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

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