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Interviews with Shey: Boston Shumway

Shealynn Benner

Tell me a bit about yourself. (Married, kids, hobbies, etc.)

Hey all my name is Boston (like the city). I am 24 years old and married to a small town boy from Wyoming who eats breathes and sleeps all things big game hunting related! I am a military brat so I moved around a bit but I call Northern Montana my home. My parents still live there but my two younger brothers are now both graduated and moved on to bigger better things. I have an obsessive personality so my hobbies vary depending on my current obsession but they are always centered around creating things with my hands! Some of my recent hobbies have been water coloring, needle felting, and hand lettering, and I am currently into creating things with concrete! I have always loved to read and hang out outside So when my in-laws got my husband and I kayaks for Christmas I was in heaven. When I get out on the lake in my kayak my husband knows the only way to get me back to shore is to paddle out and pull me back himself! Anyways, I started my company Cookie Boss Co in March of 2019 because I was tired of my creations building up and I needed to sell them so I could keep creating without filling my apartment! More about that in a bit. 

What are you most passionate about?

If I have learned one thing about myself through running a business I have learned that I am obsessed with other people’s success! I will do anything and everything within my power to help someone else be successful, even though it is often to my own detriment. I thrive on supporting and teaching and lifting others in all of their endeavors. My passion specific to cookies is teaching classes! It is beyond fulfilling for me to have someone come to a class with very little hope for the end result and then seeing their confidence grow when what they create is more than they could have ever hoped for!

What sparked your interest in making cookies? Did someone specific inspire you to start?

On February 14th of 2019 my friend and I decided that we wanted to make our husbands mean cookies for Valentine’s Day... Thats right. I said MEAN! I had previously noticed some posts on Pinterest with very smooth and glossy icing on them so I told my friend we should try them! Needless to say the cookies were not only mean but ugly and 100% laughable. The obsessive perfectionist in me said I could never take credit for creating such ugly little monsters of cookies so I had to try again. The next set I made was in March for my cousin’s baby shower and I totally tricked her into having cookies there! Not only did I have a really awesome set of cookies at her baby shower but I also had already designed my logo and printed out business cards. At that baby shower Cookie Boss Co was born and I have never looked back.

As a cookie business owner, what are you most proud of? And what has been your biggest challenge?

There are so many things in my business that I am proud of and an equal number of things I would like to shove in the closet and never remember again... but I’ve learned that that is just how business rolls. I am proud of how far I have come and proud of the community I have built! My community is loving and supporting and isn’t afraid to ask the simple questions! I am also proud of what I have been able to do to expand outside of just cookies (but still keep it cookie related). I never want to be “just one of the pack” especially in a business so saturated as the cookie business so I am proud of the ways I have found to separate myself from other cookiers. For instance, I took the jump to creating scribes but not just any scribes! Many of my scribes are hand sculpted from polymer clay and fully customizable. I also created the one and only Scribe House, which is a cute and functional way to store your hoard of scribes! Learning how to adapt in business is so important that expanding my shop to include physical items has been not only essential to the success of my business, but a huge learning experience. I highly recommend it. However, expanding has been great but it also exposes one of my greatest business (and personal) challenges. I spread myself too thin. We all do this in one way or another and I hope that someone reads this and realizes that they too can survive the moments when you have spread yourself too thin and are getting burnt out. The worst part is it is almost always self inflicted! I have learned that my time is precious and by spreading myself too thin over keeping products in stock and keeping the custom cookies rolling, that I am doing no one any favors. To overcome this challenge I choose to prioritize... and if I can’t do that, I simply cut back for a bit by taking fewer orders or limiting the number of Clay Scribes and Scribe Houses I make each week. It is amazing how supportive and understanding a community can be when you Let them know that you are feeling overwhelmed!

Do you have a logo? If yes, what is the significance of it? How did you come up with the name of your cookie business and brand image?

So... my branding is near and dear to my heart, and like my business, it is always changing and evolving into something new! I do have a logo but it is not what I depend on for advertising as I focus more on the styling and color side of branding. I don’t know if that will make sense to many of you but it is what works for me! My branding is modern and simple but a tad eclectic. My brand colors are mints and turquoises of all shades and I love clean lines. I know that anything I post on my page, whether it be cookies or products, will always be identifiable through its style because my style is how I brand myself! As for my business name, it is a play on my own name! One of my main nicknames is “Boss” and I absolutely loved how simple and clean and impactful “Cookie Boss” sounded. It also has that twist of not so humble confidence of I am THE BOSS of cookies, which perfectly describes me! Kind of humble but also confident enough that sometimes humility takes the back burner because I like the attention (Now imagine me flashing you a smile with a sparkle in my eye). I love everything about my business and it is a true reflection of me whether it be the good, the bad, or the ugly.

How long have you been decorating cookies?

I have been baking and cooking and hanging out in the kitchen my entire life but only started cookies a little over a year and a half ago. Believe it or not I don’t like to bake and the reason I like doing cookies is the artistry behind the decoration! I have always had a fear that I am going to forget about something in the oven and burn my house down. I also never know when baked things are underdone so I have had my fair share of super doughy and super hard creations come out of the oven, but luckily I haven’t burned the house down yet! Now that I am thinking about it... I don’t think I have even set off the smoke alarm since I started doing cookies in March of 2019.

Do you decorate and sell cookies full time? If not, what do you do when you’re not baking? What is your favorite and least favorite part of the cookie decorating process?

I consider myself an “all-in-er”. I don’t do cookies full time but I also don’t do them part time because I do everything full time all of the time! I don’t know how to better explain it so hopefully you get my drift. I am a full-time student (I am almost graduated with my Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology), a full time cookier, a full time business owner, a full time wife, and a full time time-waster! I also have had various part time jobs on the side throughout the last couple of years. I find I do best with managing my time when I have one or two things that are structured (such as “real jobs” or classes) and one or two things that are flexible (such as cookies and what time I make dinner). My least favorite part of making cookies is the baking! I will gladly make the dough and roll it all out and happily mix all of the awesome colors and pipe painstakingly small details and package and deliver them but I really need to get someone to come and cut out my shapes and bake my dough! Oh yeah, and my husband does all of my dishes. Highly recommend that because I really dislike doing that too. Overall, I definitely say the pro’s outweigh the con’s when it comes to running a cookie business, or any business! I love all of the amazing people that I have been able to meet and associate with and I especially love my little Instagram community that is really the only reason that my business has been successful up to this point!

 Who is the biggest supporter(s) of you and your cookie business?

My mom! She is 100% my biggest supporter with my husband as a close second as long as I keep my cookies super soft (because he is picky). But the small businesses and consumers in my region are always so interested (or at least act interested) in what I am doing and their support lifts me up in ways I never knew were possible. I also want to give a shout out to all of my beloved Instagram friends because they keep me going!

How do you balance everything? (Kids, husband, activities, working out, cookies etc).

I don’t. I learned a few years ago that there is no such thing as balance and I think we should stop attempting to ‘balance’ all of the parts of our lives. I like to think of it as more of a pendulum, swinging back and forth. We can choose how quickly we want our pendulum to swing to the next part of life. For example I am full-blown cookier at the moment but when September hits I will have more things like school pulling my attention. I will need to swing my pendulum the other way to give school the attention it needs and deserves. I am a strong believer in setting aside time for specific tasks, though I am not great at enforcing that in my own tasks and priorities!

If you were stranded on a deserted island, what 3 things (not people) would you bring with you?

I hate questions like this! Remember when I was talking about how bad I am at prioritizing? Yeah... not a fan Shey.

1. My kayak - I promise I am not trying to work the system. I really would just tie myself to a tree on the shore and float in the water to my hearts content!
2. My iPad - I could doodle and draw and create on my iPad all day long every day if the world let me.
3. Could I bring a dog? I love dogs.

What is your best advice to someone wanting to start making cookies for profit?

1. DO NOT UNDERCHARGE. Find out what the ‘big dogs’ in your area are charging and charge it. I know that sounds absolutely ridiculous but when you undercharge for your cookies (whether you are a beginner or not) you are showing the public that your product is not worth the big bucks AND IT IS!!! A good way to work around this while you are learning is to say “I am offering a discount from my normal price for a limited time”. Make sure your customers know that cheap is not a something they expect from you or anyone. Then when you get better it won’t be as much of a shock when you choose to raise your prices. I want to shout this from a mountain top every day that I have a customer say no thanks because they can get their cookies cheaper from someone else. I am all about community over competition but I am NOT about undercutting prices, whether it is on purpose or not.

2. ALWAYS KEEP LEARNING. Find ways to learn and improve. That is the only way you will get anywhere in your business. If you aren’t improving you’re going backwards.

3. GO FOR IT. I was listening to a business podcast a while ago and the guy said something to the extent of “You never know if something will fail until you try it so try is ASAP, get it over with, and if it fails, move on with your life”. This struck me because I realized you can never bring a perfect product to market but you can improve your product so why drag out the stress of attempting to improve your product without making any money off of it. Jump in with both feet and see where the current takes you.

https://www.instagram.com/cookiebossco/

 



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  • Boston’s Mom on

    LOVE THIS SO MUCH! She will always and forever by my favorite girl, and not just because she makes fabulous cookies and is an incredibly savvy small business owner. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️


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