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Interviews with Shey: Mary of Emma's Sweets

Shealynn Benner

I'm so excited about my next interviewee!

You may know her. ;-) She's a bit famous. She not only went on Food Network's Christmas Cookie Challenge, but she WON!

I've been following Mary of Emma's Sweets for quite some time, and I've just loved seeing her cookies and watching her cookie videos. She's incredibly kind and she's so helpful, which is so important in this industry! Please grab a drink, a snack and enjoy learning more about Mary with me!


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

My name is MARY (not Emma) – I will elaborate on this further down ��
I have been married for 11 years and have twins, a boy and a girl (Aidan and Emma) – almost 9 years old. I worked in the banking industry for almost 12 years and left 1 ½ years ago.


What are you most passionate about?


At this stage in my life, my main focus is to stay healthy and strong, so I can be here for my kids as they grow. With this being said, I am most passionate about my family and creating a happy environment for them. Making memories is also very important.


What sparked your interest in making cookies?


My interest initially was cakes! I took the Wilton Cake
Decorating courses, and learned the basics of buttercream and fondant – we touched on royal icing flowers as well. As I continued to practice, I quickly learned that fondant was not my friend. We clashed and I could not make a beautifully decorated cake AT ALL! But, I am friends with buttercream and cupcakes (insert drool emoji here) YUMMY! This leads me to answer the next question...

Did someone specific inspire you to start?


As I realized that I would not be successful at cake
decorating, and really needed to something I enjoyed (as my banking job didn’t make me happy either) I did find an interest in cookies through my daughter (who was about 4 at the time). She would sit there on her tablet and watch YouTube videos on cookie decorating. We started to sit together and watch videos. Hence the name “Emma’s Sweets” – who does have a sweet tooth!


As a cookie business owner, what are you most proud of?


At this point, I would say that I am proud of my overall success. This journey started off as a hobby to help me fulfil something that was missing. And over time, has turned into a career. It hasn’t come easy, and there have been a lot of highs and lows. But those lows made me want to step it up and be better and more creative. I have done it all on my own and I am extremely proud of that.



And what has been your biggest challenge?


My biggest challenge was “The Christmas Cookie Challenge” on Food Network. But not for the reason most people would think. Participating in the show was not
about winning money or bragging rights. It was a personal challenge. A challenge to do something so out of my comfort zone and to push through my fears and anxieties. As an anxiety sufferer, just getting on a plane alone almost made me back out. But I pushed through the fear and did the best I could! Although I won the show- and this was amazing, conquering my personal challenges was an even bigger win.


Do you have a logo?If yes, what is the significance of it?


My logo has a very vintage feel. Soft watercolors and a pretty whisk with florals. I consider myself a very simple person, so I kept the logo simple and soft. Nothing flashy or too bright.

How did you come up with the name of your cookie business and brand image?


I answered that earlier, I named the business after my daughter Emma. My son Aidan asks me often if I will ever rename the business “Aidan’s Sweets” lol.


How long have you been decorating cookies?


I have been decorating cookies for almost 6 years.


Do you decorate and sell cookies full time? If not, what do you do when you’re not baking?


This year, I am focusing more on teaching the basics of cookie decorating, and publishing more YouTube videos


What is your favorite and least favorite part of the cookie decorating process?


My favorite part of the process would be the actual decorating part – especially hand painted designs. My least favorite part is the clean up!!


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


I have support from so many people, but mainly my husband and children. I can talk cookies all day and never feel like I am annoying them (but I probably am !!)



Is there someone that has inspired you in the Cookie Industry? Why?


I cannot say there was someone specific, I follow and admire so many people. I think the whole community inspired me and continues to do so.


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


This can be difficult at times. Last year, I really over did it with orders and burnt out. Getting to that low place is not fun, so when I regained my strength, I vowed to put my health first. And that’s what I’ve done. I take on lessorders, and learned to say no and not feel guilty about it.


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


Hmmmm…. I would bring my phone (hopefully there would be WiFi!, Vanilla cupcakes and my e-reader (loaded with great reads).


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


Great question and so many answers. I guess my best advice would to be supportive of others, especially those in the same field. It is great to uplift one another and be positive. This really shows people that you are genuine and
have a good heart. Yes, you can make a beautiful cookie that tastes great, and you may have a lot of followers on social media. BUT, if you are not a genuine and kind person, people will see that. This can in turn tarnish your reputation and essentially affect your business.



Thank you so much, Mary for not only taking the time to answer my questions, but for your hard work, wise words and for being so inspiring!

Go follow Mary on Instagram: @_emmas__sweets - from there you can find all the other ways to check out Mary's amazing cookies!


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