Today we’d like to introduce you to Lindsey O’Neil.
Hi Lindsey, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
I started my first business when I was 8, it was small and didn’t ever reach an audience outside my house, but it was my first entrepreneurial venture. I have also always loved to bake. Maybe it was inevitable that those two pieces of me would come together but a couple of things happened for Send Flours Baking Co. to come into being.
Several years ago, I gave my dad a container of pre-portioned frozen cookie dough for his birthday. On Father’s Day, I got the empty container back with a request for a refill. He had gotten very used to baking a couple of cookies each night for my mom & him to enjoy. This went on for a bit with the requests for refills coming even when it was not a gift-giving holiday.
At the beginning of the Covid stay-at-home orders, I was put on a 60-day furlough. While also doing all the typical stay-at-home order activities; cleaning out the closet, binge-watching shows, and feeding a sourdough starter, I wanted to take advantage of this gift of time and set myself a challenge. Something like the book Julie & Julia but not to make every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking – so I decided to do a baking project each day for 60 days.
I started with the list of recipes that I had been wanting to try but had not had the time. I would gather up a few days of baked goods then go drop goodie bags on friends’ doorsteps. After a while I decided I wanted to make my perfect chocolate peanut butter cookie. I tried a few different ways looking for a thick chewy cookie where the chocolate did not overpower the peanut butter flavor.
In the end, I took the peanut butter out and ended up with MY perfect chocolate dough. Then I moved on to peanut butter cookie dough which I have always thought of as too dry, I wanted more of a soft baked peanut butter cookie. One other thing that saved my sanity during this time was being able to walk laps around my local park. I walked miles and miles in circles and over a few sessions of this I started to formulate a business idea that combined filling my dad’s freezer with cookie dough and the dough recipes I had been working on.
Sell frozen pre-portioned amazing cookie dough that is an “everyday” size so that any time the desire for a warm cookie strikes all you have to do is open the Send Flours Baking Co. bag, take out a dough ball and put it in the oven. When in early May I was officially laid off and I said to myself “Well, I guess I make cookies now!” I have never been so excited to start a job.
Send Flours Baking Co. was officially launched to the public just a couple of weeks later when a circle of good friends made it possible to sell baked cookies at FlyteCo Brewing here in Denver. Things were just starting to open the slightest bit. They were having a food truck in their parking lot that would have to-go dinner, FlyteCo Brewing had to-go beer, and Send Flours Baking Co. would have to-go desserts! Then it was just a matter of working to keep pushing forward.
Over the next 2.5 years I would go from cottage bakery to working from a commissary space, work on upgrading packaging, deal with shipping nationwide, learn how to take pictures of food, figure out how to market the business, keep the books, figure out taxes, start doing vendor markets, work on new recipes, network, do a happy dance every time an order came in!
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It is never a smooth road when you are starting. When you are one person trying to do everything there are things you have to stop and learn how to do or dig around to find something because it is not something you have ever had to source before. This sometimes makes progress slower than you want it to be. I typically want the big leaps so it took me a while to figure out how to be happy with taking a small step in preparation for a bigger leap down the road.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Send Flours Baking Co. is a cookie company that specializes in everyday treats. All of our flavors are available as pre-portioned frozen dough or freshly baked cookies. The size of our cookies is not the typical extra large bakery cookie. The intention is that these are not saved for special occasions but enjoyed whenever the mood strikes.
We have two lines of cookies: The Classics such as Dark Chocolate Chip with Flaky Salt and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and The Inspired By which includes Pudgy Boyfriend and Thick Mint. The number one bestseller is the classic Dark Chocolate Chip with Flaky Salt, but the Pudgy Boyfriend is coming up close behind. This cookie is inspired by my favorite ice cream flavor and is a malted vanilla cookie with pretzel crunch, peanut butter & chocolate chips.
It has a crisp edge and a gooey middle. I pride myself on the fact we do not have the same base dough for all the cookies. I think that different flavors need different textures so each new flavor that is developed is tested with different doughs to find the right one. We have just launched a cookie dough subscription box that was our most popular holiday gift this year. You can choose 3, 6, 9, or 12 months and each month you receive 6 of the Dark Chocolate with Flaky Salt pre-portioned dough and 6 Seasonal flavor dough.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting?
Network as much as you can. When starting out I felt like other small business owners wouldn’t want to talk to me, so I pretty much kept to myself. It was not until I started to participate in vendor markets that I started to make connections with other small business owners and the community is invaluable!
Put yourself out there and reach out to people. Some people may turn down the ask to sit and talk but others will say yes. Even if you are not creating the same types of items some lessons are universal.
Jordan Quinn Photography