Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Today is the perfect day to feature our Q+A with Miss Robyn Frank of Thumbs Cookies. She has been working her tail off getting all of her V-day orders out and not only are her cookies super delish, they are made with lots of L-O-V-E!
Read on to hear about how this amazing lady took a leap of faith and started her own, uber successful business.
We really love this chic!
KSD: ok full disclosure, we go way back. heeey girrllll! thanks so much for takin the time. how busy are you with v-day coming up?
RF: It has been nutty with Valentine's Day. It's not just a holiday for love birds. Everyone wants to show their love for family, friends etc..and that means lots of cookie making!
KSD: let's start at the beginning. a girl from minnesota treks out to the big apple to pursue her acting dream, does it amazingly well for many years and now makes delicious cookies in honor of a family tradition. are we getting this right?
RF: Yeah. I am and will always be an actress. Now I just happen to be an actress who bakes and shares cookies with the world. I had just gotten tired of waiting for the "phone to ring" for movie roles and wanted to take matters into my own hands. I started baking a lot while I was thinking about my career and I realized how happiness "thumbs" brought people. I would bake them and have people try them and I realized how good it felt to do something so close to my heart and to the baking traditions of my family. Acting isn't going anywhere, so I thought...why not share this part of myself and right now. I think you can have multiple dreams and find ways to pursue them all in some fashion.
KSD: being a business woman, in NYC no less, ain't easy and it's all about the hustle. what tips can you give future female entrepreneurs for how to go out and get what they want?
RF: Start with your friends and the people who believe in you and want to see you succeed. That's you're community. Those people matter most to you on a daily basis and in the larger picture. They will have answers, connections and encouragement for you. That's the first thing. Secondly, reach out to people that know more than you and ASK FOR HELP! You'd be amazed at how people like to help other people if you just ASK. My mom always says, most people don't get where they are without help and she's right. I think sometimes we just over think this step, when it can be the shortest and easiest route to getting what you want. And then, you must pay that help forward as you gain your own momentum.
KSD: we are pretty shameless here, so indulge us by sharing a business moment that didn't work out the way you wanted it to. knowing you, it'll be a pretty funny story- no pressure ;)
RF: Well, let's just say, if you saw me and my "production" up close, you'd think I was a hot mess. There are usually pans and flour and lord knows what else flying around my work space as I try to keep it all together and organized but it usually looks like a sh-t show. But there was a time I was making Thumbs in my first professional baking space. The kitchen was in the back of a bar and I would bake late at night after the kitchen had closed but the bar was sill full of people drinking. Well, I proceeded to bake a huge batch of cookies and after about 12 minutes, it smelled of what was almost the smell of burnt hair or toast! Yes, I turned to look at the oven only to see a cloud of SMOKE which then flooded into the bar area. I opened the oven only to see about 140 black burnt cookies. Followed by the smoke alarm going off and everyone having to leave the bar for a minute. My hands are sweating as I tell this story because it was BEYOND embarrassing! Turns out that I didn't notice that the oven was at 500 degrees as opposed to 350. Oy. Now, I'm in a different kitchen. So far so good.
KSD: you're a strong, smart, beautiful, independent woman- you're basically Beyonce. how the hell did you get like this?
RF: Haha! I just laughed really hard when I saw this question. I do have a little ways to go before reaching Beyonce status but I'll take the compliment for the sake of the interview. Truly, I'm just trying to keep up with what the women in my family ARE and WERE like. My great grandmother opened her own dress shop after her husband left her unexpectedly with two kids. My grandma had her own business and taught me how to play black jack and cook. My mom is one of the most compassionate and quietly strong women that I know who taught me how to bake and build relationships and my sister runs her own business and reminds me every day of the importance of making your own mark on the world around you. These are my teachers and my inspiration. And I love that when I'm in the kitchen, I'm constantly reminded of the things they have taught me. I also know they would laugh at me in my chaotic moments which helps me to laugh at myself when things don't go completely right.
KSD: everyone always asks, what’s your 5/10/20 year plan, and it can be maddening at times, but seriously, what do you hope for yourself and Thumbs in the years to come? any short term/long term goals you have in mind?
RF: Well, sometimes I have to just take a minute and smile at the fact that Thumbs exists at all! It was just a thought in my head and it's nice to get any sort of brand recognition from strangers or people in my network. I think it's important to appreciate the little things like that along the way. Ultimately, I would LOVE to have a THUMB BUG! Yes, a little VW bug that drives around and gives Thumbs to people. It will be purple and full of love, creativity and cookies! That's definitely part of the dream. I also just hope to be in some larger stores and ultimately be a product that consumers recognize and get excited about. I have also been thinking about doing a little show sponsored by Thumbs. You'll see. More to come on that.
KSD: finally, if you had to do this journey all over again, would you change anything, or are you a believer in things happen for a reason?
RF: Haha. Oy. I just think about how obvious it was that I had no idea what I was doing when I first started! And, I still feel that way on a daily basis, but for the most part, I really don't think I would have changed much. I feel pretty lucky for having the support I have had around me so that's been a huge part of the journey. But some days, I do wish I would have invented the cronut. That guy is killing. But, I'll stick to mini cookies full of love for now. There definitely can never be too many of those in the world.
Thanks, Robyn, for taking the time to answer our questions, and Happy Valentine's Day to you and all of our loved ones!!!